Internet search giant Google hit a hitch with its plans for a new campus in Germany. After a negative response from residents, Google has been denied initial planning permission for a Berlin “start-up campus” that would act as a pivot for local entrepreneurs. The intention was to build the seventh Google Campus in the world in the Kreuzberg district but a local district assembly council member Julian Schwarze confirmed the proposal had been turned down after concerns from local residents about changes to the character of the area and the transformation of the historical building that Google wants to use and build another floor on its top.
Google’s planning permission was rejected despite support from City Mayor Michael Müller. The objections from local residents did not purely relate to the historic building though, as other concerns expressed were about noise issues, rent hikes, and pressures on local businesses. For example, one Coni Pfeiffer is concerned about rent increases that occur whenever large tech companies move into a district. Others pointed to the venture capital money that is available to Internet companies, something that local businesses lack. There has been a growing trend of Berlin district councils supporting anti-redevelopment initiatives. For instance, Gewobag is a property company owned by the city and is able to raise objections in major property transactions or purchase buildings that it believes should be protected from redevelopment.
Following the initial planning permission being denied, Google announced its intention to continue pursuing the project. In a statement on the matter provided to local media, the Mountain View-based tech giant said it’s eager to solve all differences it currently has with authorities. Google already has campuses in cities across the world including London, Madrid, Seoul, and Tel Aviv, and back in 2015, the firm made an initial proposal for a brand new Mountain View campus in California, close to the company’s current Googleplex. In February, the company outlined revised plans for the new US campus development and was given the green light to go ahead with the project shortly after. An update on Google’s expansion efforts is expected to follow shortly.