The Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft fuer Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY) proposes a 2<i><sup>nd</sup></i> generation FEL Soft X-ray user facility (BESSY FEL) in addition to the currently operating 3<i><sup>rd</sup></i> generation light source BESSY II. The BESSY FEL will deliver photon pulses in the wavelength range of 51nm ≤ λ ≤ 1.2nm with pulse durations of a few tens of femtoseconds. To produce these short pulses and to ensure a high shot-to-shot stability a cascaded HGHG FEL scheme is proposed, where the wavelength and pulse duration is determined by an external seeding laser. It is expected to achieve a peak-brilliance of 10<sup>31</sup> photons/(s mm<sup>2</sup> mrad<sup>2</sup> 0.1%BW), with GW peak power over the full spectral range. The main components of the BESSY FEL are a photo-cathode injector, a superconducting 2.3 GeV CW-Linac and three independently operating HGHG FEL sections, serving a total of 9 beamlines. A status report is given, including a detailed description of the layout and of the numerical simulations, performed to optimize the machine.