. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Snag Delays Imperial Ballroom's Trip

BERLIN -- Berlin's ornate Imperial ballroom, once host to Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler's inner circle, ground to a halt Friday as a bid to roll the 1,300-ton hall 75 meters to a new site hit a snag after a few meters.


Japanese entertainment giant Sony is trying to save the Kaisersaal, or Imperial Chamber, by moving it across Potsdamer Platz square to make it part of its new European headquarters.


But after travelling just seven meters along a special railway track with the help of huge cushions and hydraulic pumps, engineers found the neobaroque structure, completed in 1908, had shifted a few centimeters off line, and suspended the delicate operation.


Technicians said the pumps had proved too weak, and the braces supporting the gilded and mirrored interior walls for the trip appeared too shaky for a safe transport.


Sony has undertaken to spend 50 million Deutsche marks ($35 million) on the restoration project as part of a deal struck with Berlin for the right to build its glass-and-steel headquarters in the heart of the city.


Sony plans to complete its ultramodern complex of apartments, shops and offices on the site by the end of the century. The Kaisersaal will be fitted in as a restaurant and banquet center.