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Businessweek Archives

You Could Call It `Checkpoint Mickey'

Up Front: SHOW BIZ


A BERLIN WALL THEME PARK in Florida? Some German entrepreneurs want to recreate a part of the cold war in the Sunshine State. They're even planning to use sections of the real Wall on 20 acres near Fort Lauderdale. For $20 a head, visitors would see armed guards, watchtowers, a Russian T-34 tank, and reenacted escapes. Or they could attempt their own escapes via hot-air balloon. Virtually everything is being shipped from Germany, except for Russian-made guns, more easily bought in the U.S. The target opening date for the $30 million park is Nov. 9, 1996, the seventh anniversary of the Wall's collapse.

The Berlin-based investor group, Berlin Wall Enterprises, is raising the money with $50,000 partnerships. They won't disclose how much they have collected, other than $3 million that already has been spent. They still are shopping for property to build on.

Why not rebuild the Wall in Germany? Florida's year-round climate and hordes of tourists make it a better location, says Hans Michael Pelzl, one of the 15 original investors. Besides, he admits, some Germans aren't glad to see an agonizing period of their recent history recreated at home, especially for commercial gain.Gail DeGeorge and Karen Lowry Miller

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