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Expo Real 2015: HafenCity Hamburg opens new areas for first-class investment

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH was again represented at the Expo Real real estate trade fair in Munich, October 5–7 2015. Europe’s biggest inner-city urban development project was one the main partners on the City of Hamburg pavilion. While land holding aspects pure and simple have been of diminishing importance at Expo Real recently, interest is increasingly shifting to the urban development angle – not least due to the topic of the Olympics

This year’s presentation focused on general strategic urban development themes as well as individual projects offering concrete opportunities for participation by developers, building owners, financiers and investors (© Stefan Groenveld)

With the results of the urban planning competition for Elbbrücken neighborhood announced in September 2015, the primary focus on the HafenCity Hamburg stand was on the new southern inner-city gateway to Hamburg – offering potential investment of approx. €1.8 billion for the real estate sector across an anticipated 20 projects. Plans by Hosoya Schaefer Architects of Zurich foresee the construction from 2018/2019 not only of larger-scale contiguous office accommodation at Elbbrücken – with potential for up to 13,000 jobs close to the city center and with excellent transport links; in the mix of uses characteristic of HafenCity, uniting living, working and high-quality public areas, around 1,000 homes are also planned. Altogether the area (not including the three towers on the easternmost tip) comprises more than 411,000 m² gross floor area. The competition result now serves builders and investors as a matrix for development ideas; the next step is to prepare a detailed functional plan that will form the basis of the development plan.

Focus has shifted to Elbbrücken neighborhood not least because of the progressive development of neighboring Baakenhafen. Around HafenCity’s biggest harbor basin, a dense mix of intensive residential and leisure uses, green spaces, jobs and also an educational and leisure center will be taking shape in the coming year. Architectural competitions for more than 1,000 homes have been completed and commercial developments such as hotels, offices and a “sportsdome” initiated. The green leisure island emerging in the middle of the harbor basin is making rapid progress, as is the extension of the subway and the main traffic routes. A bid process for further attractive plots for around 600 residential units, offices and public amenities runs until mid-December (application deadline: 14.12.2015).

Another important topic at Expo Real was the development of southern Überseequartier. Draft plans are currently being revised and refined for one of the world’s most ambitious, high-quality retail developments, which is also the commercial heart of HafenCity and includes the new cruise ship terminal and hotel. With the architectural concept due to be presented by the end of 2015, construction is set to begin in 2017; completion of the central 220,000 m² gross floor area, comprising retail, catering, entertainment, the cruise ship terminal, hotel and the majority of the office space, can be expected within four to five years.

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH’s new spheres of activity, the Billebogen urban development area and Hamburg’s Masterplan for its bid to stage the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, also played major thematic roles. Billebogen covers around 72 ha northeast of HafenCity and comprises built and unbuilt areas. In the next 20 years, the creation of a high-quality urban development area adjoining HafenCity will be promoted – primarily geared to employment, commercial in character and (because of the location’s generally high noise exposure) with a dense urban structure – that will provide important impulses for the whole of the east of Hamburg and the central city area. In an innovative step, vertically oriented production areas will be strongly integrated here.

Moreover, in recent months, Hamburg’s Ministry for Urban Development and Housing and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH have together been running the bidding procedure for the Masterplan and directing the Masterplan process for the OlympiaCity at Kleiner Grasbrook opposite HafenCity, which covers an area of about 95 ha. The goal is the creation of the central Olympic area, with the Stadium, Aquatics Center, Olympic Hall, and Olympic Village for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the planning of an ambitious, lasting city district with about 7,000 workplaces and more than 8,000 homes for around 18,000 residents – areas for first-class investment in a new city district that, like HafenCity, will set the standards for urbanity and sustainability far beyond Hamburg.

Among other events, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH and HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation jointly staged a public panel discussion on the Tuesday of the fair at 4:00 p.m. in the Discussion & Networking Forum (A1.440). In addition to Hamburg’s new Minister for Urban Development, Dr Dorothee Stapelfeldt, and Prof. Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive of HafenCity Hamburg, participants in the forum, entitled “2024 Olympics in Hamburg: challenges and opportunities for the Masterplan”, included Thorsten Brune, Senior Construction Director for Munich, and Christoph Reschke, Managing Director of Hines Immobilien GmbH.

“In HafenCity, Hamburg now has at its heart an attractive real estate market that continues to strengthen Hamburg’s hand in metropolitan competition for international capital and exciting users with the power to innovate –thus lastingly guaranteeing the city’s resilience and prosperity,” says Prof. Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH. “For this reason, too, Hamburg and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH some time ago shifted their urban planning focus beyond the boundaries of HafenCity to the east and south.”