Jewish-American billionaire Ronald Lauder has offered to buy a Nazi-built airport in Berlin and turn it into an exclusive spa.
The Templehof Airport was built in the 1930s by the Nazis as part of Hitler's architect Albert Speer’s plan for the reconstruction of Berlin. Just minutes from central Berlin, the site had been previously used as a parade field and landing pad for Zeppelins.
The massive limestone-facaded terminal, which was designed to resemble an eagle in flight, is still known as one of the largest constructed entities worldwide.
Templehof airport (Photo: Reuters)
In the 1960s the airport was crucial to West Berlin, as air flight was sometimes the only way to bypass communist East German police patrols of the Soviet Zone autobahns.
The airport has lately become unprofitable, however, and is slated to shut down in 2008.
The British newspaper The Independent reported Thursday that Lauder was heading a group of American investors in attempt to save the historical building from destruction – and estimated 350 million euro investment.
Lauder has recently posted a number of letters in the German press criticizing local politicians for the short-sightedness of their decision to close down the airport.
As befits the heir of the Estee Lauder cosmetics empire, the billionaire has offered to turn the site into a magnificent spa, offering cosmetic and spa treatments and plastic surgery.