War of Words Over French Baker in XBerg

The owner of a French bakery in Kreuzberg and his landlord have launched a war of words in the latest battleground against gentrification in the once-alternative Kreuzberg.

Filou, the bakery, is to close in July after the landlord refused to renew the 20-year-old lease for the cafe at the corner of Golgauer Straße and Reichenberger Straße.

About 300 people protested against the planned closing Sunday, Feb. 12, amid fears the landlords hoped to lure a higher-paying tenant.

But the landlord told Tagesspiegel money isn’t the issue — he wants a better baker and tenant.

“I don’t want to force anyone out, I just want a decent baker in the neighborhood,” building owner Chris Skinner told the paper. “I’m just ending a bad business relationship that was no longer tenable.”

Skinner reportedly lives in London and invested in the building 11 years ago with a partner. The duo also picked up buildings in Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg.

The investor expanded Filou’s building last year and hopes to add vacation rentals on the top floor — Skinner opened a new restaurant in the updated ensemble, according to Tagesspiegel. The restaurant has already been vandalized and he said his wife has been contacted via Facebook by protestors.

“I don’t want to add a Starbucks or some posh store — just a real Bäckermeister,” Skinner told the paper.

Filou owner Daniel Spülbeck told Tagesspiegel it’s the first time he’s heard anything about the landlord’s opinion of his baking abilities or even a bad relationship.

“I think it’s a strategy to push back against the protests here in the neighborhood,” Spülbeck said. He hopes to be able to renegotiate his bakery’s eviction.

 

Photo thanks Filou Bleibt Facebook page.

 

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