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HafenCity Hamburg wins prestigious 2013 “ULI Global Award for Excellence” in Chicago

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH received what is probably one of the world’s most important urban development and real estate Awards, the “ULI Global Award for Excellence”, at the 2013 Fall Meeting of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Chicago.

"We are very honored to receive this important international award", said Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive Officer of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, after accepting the award during the major ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago. (© HafenCity Hamburg GmbH/Nathan Weber)

Washington-based ULI, the biggest nonprofit organization in the real-estate and land use sector, has honored outstanding international public and private real-estate and urban development projects annually since 1979. The ULI Global Awards for Excellence are unusual in that there is no specific competition category for urban development projects; instead real estate and urban development projects are considered, irrespective of their size. Their financial success and the social contribution they make to urban society are taken into account as important criteria.

Fundamental requirements for receiving the prize are that the development must serve as a model and that the factors in its success must be transferable. Winners in the urban development field in recent years were for example Darling Quarter and Commonwealth Bank Place, Sydney, Australia (2012), Inner Harbor, Baltimore, USA (2009), Beijing Finance Street, Beijing, China (2008) and Diagonal Mar, Barcelona, Spain (2004). While individual German projects have received awards in the past, for example the Sony-Center in Berlin in 2000, HafenCity is the first urban development project in Germany to have received this prestigious prize.

The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit organization supported by its members, has devoted itself to the sustainable development of urban spaces since 1936. It is widely acclaimed for its farsighted analysis of regional planning, urban development and the real estate industry. It has more than 30,000 members worldwide representing all fields of the public and private real estate sector – from urban planning to the capital markets. Thus ULI is the leading multidisciplinary forum for the international real estate business in major cities of the world.

Pushing ingenuity and exemplifying best practices in land use

According to jury chair M. Leanne Lachman, president of Lachman Associates, New York, N.Y., this year’s winning projects showcase efforts that have both succeeded in pushing ingenuity and exemplifying best practices in land use. “The 2013 ULI Global Award winners offer twelve remarkable projects that cover a broad geographic range, very diverse project typologies, and several models of development. And yet they all highlight a common thread: a committed contribution to a healthy living environment through responsible real estate development, and a dedication to building enduring communities,” said Lachman.

“We are very honored to receive this important international award", said Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive Officer of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, commenting after accepting the award during the major ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago. “HafenCity’s quality becomes truly evident when measured on the international stage. Winning the ULI Global Award shows that the HafenCity project and the high standards we have set ourselves with our urbanity and sustainability strategies are already winning high recognition worldwide, even though the project is not yet complete.”

New international standards

Hamburg is setting new international standards in developing a new city area along the Elbe. On an area of 157 hectares, a lively city with a maritime air is taking shape, bringing together workplace and residential uses, culture and leisure, tourism and retail facilities – quite unlike downtowns dominated by nothing but offices and shops. HafenCity expands the downtown area by 40 percent, creates 45.000 jobs and 6.000 residences and major cultural, university, retail and leisure buildings. More than 14 billion of US dollars private and public money will be invested. What sets it apart from most other major urban international development projects on the water is the area’s very central location and the high expectations of quality reflected, for instance, in its fine-grained mix of uses, standards of urbanity and ecological sustainability, and innovative development process. After 12 years of construction, HafenCity is on track when it comes to completion in 2025, but particularly when it comes to quality.

HafenCity Hamburg has also been on show in Chicago with the joint exhibition “Building the City Anew: Imagining Tomorrow’s Metropolis” – together with the International Building Exhibition (IBA). After the exhibition was under way in March 2012 at the European Parliament in Brussels, it first visited the European cities of Zurich, Vienna and Marseilles. Since fall 2013 it has been touring the American Cities of Baltimore, Boston and Chicago, with Washington to come. It reached a specialist audience of around 6,000 real estate experts during the major ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, November 5 – 8. The HafenCity and IBA projects are excellent ambassadors for Hamburg, demonstrating good governance and the city’s dynamic approach to all facets of future urban development challenges.

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