Budget supermarket Aldi is planning to build more than 2,000 rental apartments above its stores in Berlin.
The mixed-use real estate will be rolled out in at least 30 locations in the German capital, following the city’s rapid population growth and increasing demand for affordable housing.
The scheme will be launched with 200 apartments in two east Berlin locations: the working class-turned-hipster district of Neukölln; and Lichtenberg, home to the former headquarters of the Stasi.
Aldi is not the first supermarket to invest in on-site housing.
In the UK, Tesco has built homes in Woolwich and Streatham and is building another development in Hackney, where a small store will replace a bigger one to free up land for more than 300 “own-brand” homes.
Sainsbury has new supermarkets with rooftop gardens next to new-build homes in Fulham and Nine Elms and is working on plans next to New Cross Gate station.
Meanwhile, Morrisons is set to build 700 homes at its Chalk Farm site.
Jörg Michalek, managing director of Aldi, said the combination of Aldi markets and connected living space was a “future-oriented solution”.
The Berlin homes are due to be ready to move into by mid-2019 and will be rented for between €6.5 and €10 per square metre, according to an article in Berliner Morgenpost.
Rental laws introduced in Berlin in 2015 forbid landlords from charging more than 10% more than the average rent per square metre in a neighbourhood. Despite this, rents in Berlin have risen as much as 10% each year because of high immigration and a lack of new house building.
It comes after a report by global property consultant Knight Frank suggested London’s housing crisis could be alleviated by the development of tens of thousands of new homes on its rooftops.
It said 41,000 new dwellings could be built in central London using rooftop development space, without altering the capital’s iconic skyline.
WSP and UCL have previously estimated that 630,000 residential homes could be created above London by building six storeys above existing municipal buildings.
Planning consultants hta considered a series of building typologies across Camden that could accommodate one, two or in some cases three additional floors, irrespective of the heights of neighbouring buildings. hta then extrapolated its study area of Camden across the wider London area to conclude 179,126 new homes might be possible on this basis.
Knight Frank said while this may be possible, it would “unquestionably have an impact on the street scene and would need to be judged on a case-by case basis by planners”.
DealMakerz thinks several cities in Europe could see an increase so-called “airspace development” in an attempt to provide more homes for their expanding populations.