Landlords reportedly want to sell the space to make room for luxury housing, while club managers lament the city's gentrification. The Berlin Senate has already taken steps to intervene and save the capital's landmark.
Berlin's renowned KitKatClub may have to shut is doors soon, club management said on Thursday. Landlords want to use the space being used by KitKat and the Sage Club to put up new luxury living spaces, German media has reported.
Sage Club's Sascha Disselkamp told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that they had reached out to the landlord to no avail.
"We would like to buy the premises," he said, "we have solid investors," but the owners were not interested. The clubs had hoped to use the investment money for a hospice art studio, a small theater, and a concert hall.
Disselkamp then lamented the decline of Berlin's once highly individual neighborhoods as gentrification moves in on one of the last capital cities in the West to avoid it. "Now you can eat Indian food, but there isn't much else."
Support for the KitKatClub and Sage came unexpectedly from the Berlin branch of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), a testament to how dearly the capital holds on to the club scene as part of its image — even in light of mounting drug deaths and a meningitis scare last year.
Christian Goiny of the Berlin CDU said that "unfortunately, we are experiencing a gradual extinction of the Berlin club scene.We propose that the Senate offer club operators alternative accommodation and ... long-term, favorable rental conditions."
The Berlin Senate issued a statement saying "KitKatClub and SageClub are icons of Berlin club culture we are very interested in preserving," and said it was intervening with the landlord on the clubs' behalf.
KitKatClub was founded in 1994 by Austrian pornographic film maker Simon Thaur and his life partner Kirsten Krüger. Taking its name from the famous nightclub in the film Cabaret, KitKat became famous for its sex parties and anything-goes mentality.
Berlin's world-famous clubs are a major driver of tourism to the German capital. There are more than 700 clubs that host more than 58,000 events every year, including 71,000 artistic performances, which hit sales of about €168 million in 2017.