ExRotaprint is a model for ownership without private ownership. Rental income provides the financial basis of the project and covers the costs of the renovation, the building modifications, the annual ground rent, and the operational expenses. Work is remunerated. The purchase price we negotiated might have lead to future expectations of financial profit and ultimately greediness. The heritable building right formed with the trias and Edith Maryon foundations, allowed us to avoid the standard logic of the marketplace and its associated dependencies and risks. The ground rent that ExRotaprint pays annually to the foundations refinances the purchase of the site and enables the foundations to take on new projects of a similar nature. This creates a long-term cash flow extending beyond ExRotaprint and our own interests.

To finance the renovation ExRotaprint took out a building loan with a Swiss pension fund, CoOpera Sammelstiftung PUK, for 2.25 million euros. The pension fund has committed itself vis-à-vis its investors to invest their pension contributions not in the stock market but in sustainable, social-oriented, ecological, or cultural projects. The investors prefer a steady increase in interest rates and are protected from the rollercoaster ride of the stock market. Here the interest paid by ExRotaprint also flows into another “self-aware” money cycle. Money is tied to goals.

ExRotaprint, Miete als solidarisches System, Zeichnung: Daniela Brahm

* Rent as a system of solidarity


Base rents at the ExRotaprint complex range from three to five euros net per square meter exclusive of heating and additional costs depending on use and building condition. Currently annual rental income totals 420,000 euros. In accordance with the heritable building right contract, ExRotaprint pays the foundations an annual ground rent of 10% of net rental income (currently 42,000 euros per year), or at least 35,200 euros per year, equivalent to 5.5% of the land value. The building loan from CoOpera Sammelstiftung PUK bears an interest rate of 4% and is paid off with a 2% rate; commitment fees are not levied, which makes a gradual and incremental renovation possible.

Surplusses from rental income are applied to the renovation of the buildings. Thus far we have invested 4.2 million euros toward the preservation of the architectural monument; we estimate the total costs of the renovation to be 5.0 million euros. In addition to the 2.25 million euro construction loan from CoOpera Sammelstiftung PUK, at least 2.0 million euros of rental income will be directly applied toward the renovation over a number of years. And, beginning in 2017, an additional 685,000 euros will come from the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.

ExRotaprint gGmbH fulfills its objectives as a nonprofit through financing the renovation of the listed architectural monument and by providing long-term reduced rents on studio space throughout the complex. The combination of nonprofit status and heritable building right creates a legal structure that prevents an outflow of capital. This allows ExRotaprint to preserve and maintain the architectural monument with relatively low rental prices and to operate the commercial complex in an economically viable fashion.