Ferris wheel fight leaves Berlin spinning
(Fortune Magazine) -- Berlin is divided again - this time by a wheel, not a wall.
On one side (in the former East Berlin), American billionaire Philip Anschutz wants to build a 185-meter Ferris wheel, bigger than London's iconic Eye. On the other side (at the site of the old Bahnhof Zoo railway station on the western side of the city), developers have proposed building a 175-meter wheel.
Anschutz's wheel would be the centerpiece of a $193 million entertainment complex he is building in the eastern part of the city that will host the Polar Bears, the former East Berlin hockey team he now owns. But some in the former West Berlin, resentful of all the development money that has flowed into the eastern part of the city since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, are fighting back. "We have to do what's good for City West, and the giant wheel is good for City West," says Jürgen Lange, head of the Berlin Zoo, which owns the site.
The dueling wheels have Berliners spinning. The city government says there can be only one wheel, but officials are divided. Finance director Thilo Sarrazin backs the Zoo plan, but development director Ingeborg Junge-Reyer insists there is no favorite. Anschutz seems to have a head start, but his point man in Germany, Kevin Murphy, is clearly exasperated. "When are we going to have one Berlin?" he asks.