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Berlin's KaDeWe Department Store Said to Be Put on Market

KaDeWe, continental Europe’s largest department store, was put up for sale by a group of owners that includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The Berlin building, which opened in 1907, is valued at about 500 million euros ($638 million), one of the people said. They both asked not to be named because the information is private.

KaDeWe, or Kaufhaus des Westens, is owned by the Highstreet partnership made up of Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, Deutsche Bank’s RREEF Real Estate, Prelios SpA and Generali Real Estate Fund SA. Richard Speich, a spokesman for Highstreet, declined to comment.

The building is likely to attract investors seeking to profit from Berlin’s retail property boom. Rents for Berlin’s prime retail space was 270 euros a square meter in October, 13 percent higher than a year earlier, according to data compiled by broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. That’s the strongest gain of any German city.

Only the KaDeWe building is for sale, one of the people said. The retail business inside belongs to the Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH chain and is owned by Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH.

Jones Lang and BNP Paribas Real Estate have been hired to manage the sale, the people said.

The KaDeWe building, a West Berlin landmark close to the Kurfuerstendamm shopping boulevard, was designed by Johann Emil Schaudt. The store was destroyed during World War II when a U.S. bomber plane flew into it, sparking a fire that almost burned the building to the ground, according to its website. KaDeWe reopened in 1950 and had its biggest gains after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the website says. It now has more than 60,000 square meters (646,000 square feet) of retail space.

Immobilien Zeitung reported the news yesterday.

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