The HafenCity area from the air


A metropolitan business and residential neighborhood with a view

Spectacular high-rises and first-class connections for new worlds of work with high innovative strength

On its eastern edge HafenCity will be an attractive place for business and living. Three towers up to 150 m high will be built by the Elbe bridges (© fotofrizz) Start slideshow

Elbbrücken neighborhood, named for Hamburg’s main River Elbe bridging point, will be HafenCity’s second urban center after Überseequartier. Spectacular high-rises, water surfaces on three sides and a large central plaza will characterize this very densely built business and residential location. It will be underpinned by excellent public transport connections with new interlinked subway and rapid transit stations. Around 60 percent of the area is planned for office use and some 10 percent for restaurants, bars and special uses – a potential 13,000 jobs. Thus 30 percent of the designated land still remains for residential – depending on size, there will be around 1,100 apartments. First prize in the urban planning competition went in September 2016 to Hosoya Schaefer Architects of Zurich whose design gives the eastern entry to HafenCity clear definition and provides a robust foundation for its onward development. The open space competition was decided in November 2016. As in the next-door neighborhood Am Baakenhafen, Atelier Loidl (Berlin) was successful. The jury was convinced by the design, which is visibly similar to Baakenhafen’s red-brick esthetic, enhancing Amerigo Vespucci square, the new focus of the quarter. The design also makes the square a central, flexible meeting place also suitable for events – and the largest square in HafenCity.

Subway and rapid transit station

Since June 2013 work has been going at full tilt on extending the U4 subway line toward Elbbrücken and on construction of the Elbbrücken subway station to plans by the Hamburg office of Gerkan, Marg und Partner (gmp). It is expected to go into service at the end of 2018. At the same time, Deutsche Bahn AG is building a new rapid transit (S-Bahn) station at Elbbrücken. The station is intended to open up eastern Hafen-City as well as parts of Rothenburgsort, a suburb to the northwest, offering improved connections with the Hamburg public transport network. As well as access buildings, the S-Bahn/rapid transit construction project also takes in a glazed pedestrian bridge 70 m long and 5 m wide leading to Elbbrücken subway station. 

Construction of connecting roads, quay areas and site preparation started long ago and in some cases is already completed. Thus the Zweibrückenstrasse bridge was rebuilt and widened by summer 2016 and the sharp northern bend on Zweibrückenstrasse modified and joined directly to Baakenwerderstrasse. In its upgraded form, Zweibrückenstrasse not only provides a much broader passage along its whole length, with improved cycle paths and sidewalks, it is much better protected against flooding. 

Sustainable mobility

In common with its neighbor Am Baakenhafen, Elbbrücken quarter is one of Europe’s largest locally oriented innovation projects in car-sharing and electric mobility. The objective is not only to reduce the number of private cars on the road; each building, as well as the entire quarters are to be socially and ecologically designed to be attractive to users. 

Against this background, only 40 car parking spaces are to be provided in the area per 100 homes. One third of these will be dedicated to a car-sharing system that should consist exclusively of electric vehicles by 2025. For many residents and people working locally this will make private car ownership superfluous. At the same time, without the need for so much car parking, public space will be enhanced. CO2 emissions should be reduced although driven mileage is the same because of continual modernization of cars and the rising proportion of electric vehicles. Invitations to tender and announcement of the operator will take place in 2017.

Prominent corporate base

Close to the city and excellently integrated into the public transport system, from 2018 Elbbrücken neighborhood will be a densely built business location, an address for major companies as well as smaller, growing businesses. With its proximity to the Elbe embankment, to Baakenhafen and to Billhafen, as well as to verdant Entenwerder island, Elbbrücken neighborhood also has great potential as a residential area – provided solutions are found to reduce noise emissions. 

Living and working by the water

In order to position residential buildings with an acceptable level of noise, the eastern end of Baakenhafen was partially filled in in spring 2016. This means that new buildings can now be built in a double row, with higher buildings to the outside protecting inner residential buildings on the water side. A densely built residential quarter will therefore be built around the head of Baakenhafen, where Amerigo Vespucci square opens in 2019, featuring a variety of upmarket public amenities such as bars, eateries and retailing on ground floors along the promenade and on the square.

On Versmannstrasse most of the buildings will be six or seven-story block structures for offices plus high-rises. The architectural framework fronting the easterly Freihafen-Elbe bridge and the rail tracks, on the other hand, will be even taller buildings with high points and a 110–115 m tower. The wide choice of available offers and excellent accessibility create ideal conditions for dynamic growth of businesses and the city. Moving east in the neighborhood, office and hotel uses dominate. Despite the traffic crossing the rail bridge and using Versmannstrasse, this intelligent structuring will ensure that there are zones shielded from noise, making for very good residential conditions.

At the eastern point of the quarter, between the rail tracks and the main road, a tall high-rise directly by the Elbe bridges is a possibility – depending on market opportunities for its realization. Uses that would come into consideration include offices, hotel and possibly residential. Bids for this internationally outstanding project are being invited at the moment and could still be awarded by the end of 2017. 

First construction project

Options to plan have already been granted on three projects in Elbbrücken quarter. An architectural competition for the first building construction project in the neighborhood, a pivotal plot (121) centrally sited between the promenade, the subway stop, rapid transit station and Amerigo Vespucci square, was decided in spring 2017. From 2018 an around 28,500 sqm gross floor area (GFA) building for two employers’ liability insurance associations, BGW and VBG, will be a prevention center to accommodate 30,000 to 35,000 seminar participants and event visitors per year. Two further plots offer space for progressive new worlds of work with high innovative strength. Adjoining to the east (118) the internationally active photovoltaic enterprise Enerparc is to build its corporate headquarters. The innovative building concept embraces not only employee start-ups, but also high sustainability, with all-round integration of solar technology. And also in mobility, for instance, it will feature an unusually large cut in car-parking spaces to 25 percent; the remaining 75 percent slots will be equipped with charging facilities for electric vehicles. 

To the north of this, OVG Real Estate GmbH, builder of The Edge in Amsterdam, which according to real estate trade journal Immobilien Zeitung is probably the most progressive office building in the world, is realizing an even more innovative high-tech smart building (110). As the employment generator for a variety of companies, it should provide an outstanding environment for growth. It is being built to the highest digitization and sustainability standards to provide a large proportion of short rental leases as well as a significant number of co-working spaces.

The next invitations to bid

In spring 2017 bids will be invited for three further plots (112, 114 and 116) with attractive southern aspects and views over the waters of the River Elbe. Plans foresee around 220 apartments, living and working concepts, as well as public uses on ground floors. In addition, planning options could be issued in 2017/18 for plots 101, 102, 103, 106, 109 and 119 – with more exciting mixed-use office, residential and a congress hotel project going forward to realization.

Neighborhood profile

  • Area
    21.4 hectares
    Total GFA: 560,000 sqm
  • Jobs
    c. 13,000
  • Commercial uses
    Office, services, hotel, retail, catering
  • Homes
    c. 1,000
  • Development timeframe
    2016 till 2025