Nightclub owner Dimitri Hegemann is up way too early for a Wednesday morning. He has a meeting with some politicians in Room 311 of the parliamentary house in Berlin’s Mitte district, and sits in front of his MacBook, going over ideas for an unlikely project: How Berlin can help Detroit, the broken and bankrupt U.S. auto capital, get its groove back.
A quarter century ago, Mr. Hegemann started a techno music revolution in some abandoned buildings of formerly divided Berlin. Now he wants to do the same in America’s crumbling “Motor City” – where techno music was born – and where block after block of deserted businesses, warehouses and factories blight the cityscape today.
Mr. Hegemann is convinced the rundown industrial metropolis can learn and profit from Berlin’s creative class, and is seeking support of political leaders, both in the German capital and in Detroit.