Through a series of debt purchases and security offerings, it turns out that one of the most iconic sites in Cold War relations is actually controlled by County Mayo developers Michael and Cathal Cannon, though not for much longer.
Checkpoint Charlie, on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin’s city center, was once the gateway between the American and Soviet sectors in the walled city and saw its share of standoffs. Since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, much of central Berlin has been rebuilt. But despite plans by the Cannon brothers to develop the area around the former checkpoint, much of the 9,000-acre site has remained vacant with the exception of a few cocktail and fast-food kiosks catering to tourists. Calling the use of the space disrespectful to the city’s history, many local politicians in Berlin wanted Berlin’s state government to seize the site, a standoff that almost led to foreclosure. But the brothers paid their back property taxes and opened a temporary exhibit on the Cold War in 2012, though now they’re ready to move on for good.
“We feel the time is right to move it as Berlin is going very strong,” Michael told The Irish Times. “When we moved to Germany things were quiet, and we take a view that Germany is now going where we hoped it would.”