Change is coming to Waitzstrasse, the main artery of Othmarschen and Gross Flottbek districts. Ann-Katrin Martiensen
, sales manager at the Grossmann & Berger shop in Othmarschen, says, “We really welcome this. Since our shop opened in 2012 we have noticed a steady stream of alterations, not always for the better.” The appearance of the street had shown little improvement over the years and was poorly suited to the variety of uses people wanted. Therefore, local property owners and entrepreneurs teamed up to create a Business Improvement District, or BID.Martiensen
is very familiar with the local scene: she is a member of Flottbek-Othmarschen citizens’ association and has strong family ties in the Gross Flottbek area. This leads her to play an active part in local affairs. “We business people need parking spaces for our customers. If we want them to come here to shop, and to keep coming, they must feel safe and happy here.” Martiensen
is referring here to the fact that there have been several accidents in the past.
“The concept presented by the BID steering committee is a step in the right direction. The use of benches and street lamps to enhance safety on the pavement (sidewalk) is a clever idea. Overall, however, the concept must ensure that development does not compromise the road’s core function - it is a shopping street.”
She also thinks it is important for the street to preserve its original mix of sole-trader shops and cafés. “It is what makes this street so charming,” she says. “Obviously the area does benefit from the occasional chain store. But the street will remain special only if the sole-traders predominate,”
As a member of the local business community, she will continue to track the work of the BID, the Borough of Altona and other advocacy groups and play an active role in the process of change.