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HafenCity at Expo Real 2016: Future-oriented development of a highly attractive real estate market

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH will be exhibiting again at the Expo Real real estate trade fair in Munich, October 4–6 2016. Europe’s biggest inner-city urban development project will be one the main partners on the City of Hamburg pavilion. The focus of this year’s HafenCity presentation is on the major comprehensive neighborhood developments in HafenCity’s central and eastern districts especially

Major decisions on urban planning which and gracefully built neighborhood developments are the determinants that are driving the progress of HafenCity Hamburg at Expo Real 2016. (© Stefan Groenveld)

While in Baakenhafen quarter the last currently available plots will be offered soon, the way is being paved for early development of Elbbrücken neighborhood in the east. At the same time HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is concerned with the environmental and social issues concerning successful strategic urban development as well as the ongoing development of the Billebogen urban development zone including the new intermodal rail station.

Major decisions on architecture and urban planning which define the cityscape; sophisticated, gracefully built neighborhood developments featuring a diversity of uses: these are the determinants that are driving the progress of HafenCity Hamburg, Europe's biggest inner-city urban development project, exhibiting on Stand 430 in Hall B2 at Expo Real 2016. The focus is on large-scale projects by international developers, such as southern Überseequartier to be built by the French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco: around 270,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) – for retail, eating and drinking, living, entertainment – and also integrating a vertically organized cruise ship terminal, hotels and office space. With its mix of uses and focus on retailing, this is probably the most ambitious privately financed real estate undertaking anywhere in Europe. Given just 23 percent of Überseequartier as a whole earmarked for retailing and 13 buildings in the southern part of the neighborhood alone, the development is far removed from being a typical monofunctional, closed-in shopping center. Building work is expected to get under way early 2017.

At the same time, districts geared to the future and with primarily residential neighborhoods are growing in Am Lohsepark and Baakenhafen quarters. Here on HafenCity’s largest harbor basin, Baakenhafen, a dense mix of close-knit residential and recreational uses, green open spaces, workplaces, and an education center is taking shape right now. Construction has already been under way here for more than a year, and tenders will be invited at the beginning of 2017 for the remaining three Baakenhafen sites, with their emphasis on residential, office and ground-floor commercial uses and covering about 40,000 sqm GFA, thus paving the way for early development in Elbbrücken quarter to the east.

Working and living with a perspective

Also from spring 2017, three sites with a total of about 32,000 sqm GFA, chiefly for residential and ground-floor retail uses, will be offered in Elbbrücken quarter, HafenCity’s easternmost district and, with a total 560,000 GFA, its largest. A successful start in Elbbrücken quarter has already been made with a first major development right by the River Elbe. On a pivotal plot centrally sited between the promenade, the subway stop, rapid transit station and Amerigo Vespucci Square, two employers’ liability insurance associations, BGW and VBG, will be building a 28,500 sqm GFA shared prevention center from mid-2018. The architectural competition is already under way. Early development of this integrative site sees HafenCity evolving in its final construction phase from east to west for once and not just in an easterly direction.

Elbbrücken neighborhood – HafenCity’s second urban center after Überseequartier – will become a densely built business and residential location by the waterside. Construction of the first buildings begins 2018, and HafenCity will be largely complete when Elbbrücken quarter is finished 2025.  Close to the city center and excellently integrated into the public transport system with subway and rapid transit stops, an attractive business location will grow up here, an address for major companies as well as smaller, growing businesses. With its close proximity to the River Elbe, to Baakenhafen and Billhafen harbor basins, as well as to verdant Entenwerder island, Elbbrücken neighborhood also has great potential as a residential area with plans for about 1,100 homes, given intelligent solutions to reduce noise emissions. As is usual throughout HafenCity, ground floors will accommodate public amenities – shops, restaurants and cafés, social services and cultural institutions.

At the eastern point of the quarter, right next to the Elbbrücken bridges and forming a new entrance to the inner city, tower blocks rising to as much as 200 m are even possible. Uses under consideration are offices, hotels, retail and possibly residential, provided suitable noise control solutions can be found. Tenders for the location will be invited soon.

Future-oriented urban development

“The further HafenCity develops in the east, the broader its conceptual spectrum becomes. The local, national and international players working with HafenCity Hamburg GmbH to meet the challenges of social change at manifold levels – economic, social and ecological – could not be more varied,” says Professor Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, describing the current state of HafenCity’s development.

It is evident that the more complex the building projects are, the more the developers seize the opportunity to work together with new partners to implement novel ideas. Models are already being worked out with developers to guarantee users options for reliable and needs-based car-sharing and e-mobility provision, but also to plan individual buildings and whole neighborhoods more sustainably. That means that in future residents will increasingly find a car of their own superfluous, thus cutting household personal mobility costs considerably.

Billebogen urban development zone

A further focus of HafenCity’s trade fair participation is the ongoing development of the Billebogen urban development zone incorporating the new intermodal rail station. Through its subsidiary BBEG (Billebogen Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG) HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is responsible for managing the development of a 72 ha area known as Billebogen, adjoining HafenCity to the northeast. This site comprises both built and undeveloped areas and includes the new intermodal rail station. During the coming 20 years or so a quality development zone will be promoted, characterized primarily by workplaces and industry with densely built urban structures and generating important impulses for the whole of eastern Hamburg and the inner city. As well as reinforcing the urban qualities of an inner city entryway crisscrossed by transport routes, it will also generate new jobs, including in new buildings with vertically aligned spaces.

The new intermodal rail station symbolizes a sustainable and innovative use perspective for trade and manufacturing in Hamburg. Depending on its concrete use concept, between 150,000 and 180,000 sqm floor area could be created, making 2,500–3,000 jobs in the area possible – a huge source of impetus for the neighborhood but also with regard to economic strength, jobs, training opportunities and both retaining existing business and attracting new ones. This is a center of urban manufacturing and a beacon for new users with innovative potential in the technological and scientific sector. The opera workshops and props department (with around 70 jobs) are already lined up as anchor users. With its new building type and infrastructure, the new intermodal rail station is a small “innovation district” in itself.