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HafenCity Hamburg at MIPIM: Sophisticated neighborhood developments lay foundations for forward looking investment

HafenCity Hamburg will be exhibiting in 2015 at MIPIM in Cannes, one of the world’s most important real estate and urban development fairs. From March 11-13 HafenCity will be the main representative of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on the Hamburg Metropolitan Region pavilion, further strengthening Hamburg’s international credentials.

From March 11-13 HafenCity Hamburg will be exhibiting in 2015 at MIPIM in Cannes, one of the world’s most important real estate and urban development fairs. (© Stefan Groenveld)

Central to the presentation at the fair, in addition to the latest cityscape-shaping architectural and urban development decisions at Strandkai, Überseequartier and Baakenhafen, will be sophisticated developments in HafenCity’s quarters. Forming the basis for further forward-looking investments, they ensure that the breadth and diversity of concepts in Europe’s biggest inner-city urban development project also continue to grow.

Überseequartier, Strandkai, Baakenhafen – in HafenCity architectural and investment decisions are now being made that shape the cityscape and will have a far-reaching impact on the future quality of the whole city of Hamburg. HafenCity is not only getting new architectonic facets; towards the Elbe Hamburg is gaining a major new inner-city urban skyline which will run from the Elbphilharmonie, to be opened in 2017, past the residential towers at Strandkai and the new Überseequartier waterfront, to the Water Houses in Baakenhafen, designed by Pritzker prizewinner Shigeru Ban, and ultimately all the way to the river crossing at Elbbrücken.

At the same time interest in acquiring property in HafenCity continues to grow rapidly. HafenCity plays a large part in the continued very positive development of the whole commercial property market in Hamburg, which in 2014 achieved a 26 percent increase in turnover year on year to €3.6 billion. One of the biggest deals in recent years was the transfer at the beginning of 2015 of northern Überseequartier, with five mixed-use buildings, from several long-term invested pension funds to a special fund managed by the US real estate company Hines for more than €200 million. Financially strong international investors are not the only ones interested in HafenCity; there is a big demand from regional developers and users, too.

In 2015 HafenCity will be characterized by sophisticated development in several quarters which will pave the way for further forward-looking investment. A green residential and recreation quarter is developing around Baakenhafen harbor basin – a sustainable “urban village” in the middle of the city, with varied living concepts, some of them subsidized, for families students and seniors, but also with many jobs; and the number of families with children is growing. The complex task of developing the neighborhood is now getting under way, with architectural competitions involving more than 60 architects. At the same time the form of eastern HafenCity will be defined through the last urban planning competition, whose result will be announced in fall 2015.

Following the breakthrough for southern Überseequartier, in central HafenCity, with contracts signed in December 2014 and approval from the Hamburg Parliament in January 2015, work can get under way here in 2017 – the French real-estate firm Unibail-Rodamco will be investing around €860 million here in the next few years. The central areas are expected to be completed in 2021.

The recently announced outcome of the architecture competition for western Strandkai will add to this developing cityscape. Four buildings with almost 500 residential units, including two residential towers about 60 meters high, will be built on one of the most attractive inner-city waterside plots in Europe to plans by Christoph Ingenhoven and Hadi Teherani. Thus Hamburg’s new Elbe waterfront is evolving on two levels from Baakenhafen to the Elbphilharmonie, with two more impressive high-rise projects forming a further part of this new aspect: ECE’s Intelligent Quarters in the immediate neighborhood of HafenCity University and the new Engel & Völkers company headquarters at Strandkai, with additional apartments, built to plans by another Pritzker prizewinner, Richard Meier.

Meanwhile HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is beginning work on the inner-city Billebogen area, whose developments include the “Neue Huckepackbahnhof” with a “Speicherstadt” warehouse quarter for the 21st century and production areas on multiple levels – a future-oriented project integrating the diversity of production forms more closely into the urban context.

Commenting on the development, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH CEO, Prof Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, said: “The HafenCity project is a major international model of urban transformation and exhibits an increasing spectrum and variety of concepts, ranging from major projects by international builders to more modest neighborhood developments. HafenCity, with its qualities of urbanity and sustainability, is already an outstanding initiative of intelligent new city building, going beyond pure urban construction – one that is setting standards internationally.”