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HafenCity Hamburg in 2014: still growing fast and getting younger, more diverse and more creative

In 2014, HafenCity Hamburg will be the scene of a lot of new building sites, as construction gets under way on some 180,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) accounting for an investment volume of around EUR 650 million. Plus HafenCity’s character as a young and creative district will develop further as HafenCity University (HCU) opens, new creative users move into Oberhafen quarter and more and more families arrive.

"In 2014 HafenCity will continue to make a substantial contribution to the future development of Hamburg,” says Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, chief executive officer of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH. summarizing his preview of 2014. (© ELBE&FLUT)

The big picture is making progress, too: western Strandkai will get an architectonic face, Überseequartier a new partner, and Baakenhafen neighborhood a host of new developers. And when the new urban planning concept for Elbbrücken quarter is in place, HafenCity’s development will have been thought through to the end.

HafenCity will continue to grow visibly southwards and eastwards in 2014. Construction will get under way on nine projects in central and eastern HafenCity, which alone provide for some 180,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) – as long as building permits are obtained in time. Accommodation provided includes a high proportion of rental and privately owned homes, as well as subsidized housing (incl. plots 33 and 71). Mixed-use projects comprising a hotel, entertainment and a cinema (plot 34) are represented along with major corporate headquarters for Marquard & Bahls (plot 65), Engel & Völkers (plot 60), and the expansion of Gebrüder Heinemann’s head office (plot 42). In addition, work will start directly adjacent to HafenCity University on the “Intelligent Quarters”, including a 70m office tower and residential accommodation. “New dynamism is emerging this year in HafenCity with the start of construction projects stretching from central Strandkai to Baakenhafen which account for about EUR 650 million in investment. So HafenCity is on track for sustainable growth,” explains Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH.

HafenCity’s urban image will become even more vibrant, gaining in social and cultural variety. A clear trend can be seen in the way the population is composed: The proportion of households with children continues to increase and now stands at 14.5 percent (compared with 12.8 percent the year before), which means that HafenCity has already overtaken other central Hamburg districts such as Eimsbüttel (12.2 percent), Winterhude (11.7 percent) or Neustadt (10.8 percent). In coming years HafenCity’s family-orientation will also continue to outstrip more established residential districts of the inner city thanks to its subsidized home-building segment.

The new urban district will also be literally “rejuvenated” when HafenCity University opens its doors in spring 2014 and its 2,000 students begin to color public life in HafenCity. With the addition of HCU to KLU Kühne Logistics University, which is already operating, MSH Medical School and other private higher education institutions, HafenCity is increasingly becoming a place of learning and knowledge.

The cultural character of HafenCity is growing strongly. Cultural and creative users will be decided on for 6,000 sqm of former warehouse space in Oberhafen quarter in the next few months. Also bids will be invited in 2014 by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH to run Baakenhöft, on the western tip of Baakenhafen basin, as a cultural and event location. The existing warehouse and surrounding open spaces are to be used as a public cultural and leisure location for the next ten years until a final use for the site is decided.

Other wide-ranging decisions are also on the agenda for 2014. Western Strandkai, the last large unbuilt site in western HafenCity, will be given an architectonic face when the winning design in the architectural competition for around 500 residences, the children’s arts center, KinderKulturHaus, and other exciting cultural uses for ground floors is decided in summer 2014. And including the Engel & Völkers tower, HafenCity’s waterfront will be getting three 55m-high towers.

The development of southern Überseequartier, too, will also make big strides in 2014. In the third quarter of 2014, the Überseequartier consortium is likely to gain a strong new financial and innovative joint venture partner. At the same time both the conceptual and urban development aspects of the neighborhood will be revised. The retail, entertainment and living elements will be increased, integrating an improved concept for weather protection but without creating a shopping center.

HafenCity is also developing fast in the east. New developers are moving into Baakenhafen neighborhood. Exclusive options for more than 720 apartments – including four of the six spectacular WaterHouses – are in preparation. This year bids will also be invited for further residential sites and a children’s daycare center. And further to the east, Elbbrücken quarter is already shifting into development focus. A decision on the urban planning competition is expected here by the end of 2014, which means that HafenCity’s development has been thought through to the end, at least at the urban planning design level.

“In 2014 HafenCity will continue to make a substantial contribution to the future development of Hamburg,” says Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, summarizing his preview of 2014. “You have agree with the assessment in ‘Emerging trends in real estate, Europe 2014’, the latest report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC): ‘HafenCity, Hamburg’s gigantic redevelopment of its former port is midway through creating an entirely new quarter that will double the population of the city centre. Due to be finished in 2025, it will also make Hamburg one of the most sustainable cities in Europe.’”