First construction phase of Wandsbek Market development project in Hamburg begins

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-02-07   08:41
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Union Investment has launched the Wandsbek Market development, currently one of the largest privately financed transformation projects in Hamburg. A mixed-use quarter with a total area of over 45,000 sq m is being developed in the centre of Wandsbek. The core structure of the former Galeria Karstadt building from 1967 is being retained, while the historic Karstadt building dating from 1922 will be sensitively refurbished. The site was originally used solely for retail but the new neighbourhood development is being expanded to include eateries, cultural venues, a private university and more than 100 apartments. It is set to become an attractive and vibrant focal point in Hamburg’s most densely populated district. Completion of the new urban quarter is scheduled for the end of 2027. All political groups in the district unanimously approved the start of the required development planning procedure in September 2022. Hamburg-based real estate company Union Investment – owner of the complex and of the neighbouring QUARREE shopping centre – is investing an amount in the triple-digit euro millions in the regeneration project.

While other major projects have ground to a halt elsewhere in Hamburg, the transformation of the area along Wandsbek’s main thoroughfare is well under way. Demolition of the Karstadt car park is a highly visible sign that work is now in progress. “The creation of housing, including subsidised housing, is a top priority in the district. Our plans address this need,” said Ronald Behrendt, project manager at Union Investment. “Our own high sustainability standards have also been taken into consideration in this project,” said Bent Mühlena, head of Real Estate Project Management at Union Investment. “That includes sensitive refurbishment and reconfiguration of the space behind the historic façade and preservation of the building shell. The old multi-storey car park, constructed in 1967, is the only part of the building that cannot be reused within the new development, for structural reasons.”

Union Investment started demolition work and clearance of the interior immediately after Galeria Karstadt moved out in summer 2023 due to insolvency. Many furnishings left behind by the previous occupant were donated to charities, clubs and second-hand shops.

The development planning procedure is currently expected to be completed in March 2025. Union Investment anticipates that planning permission will be granted in summer 2025. The second construction phase and structural works for the new building sections will commence immediately afterwards. All demolition works and refurbishment being undertaken on the existing building are due to be completed by then.

“We are looking forward to transforming the area over the next few years with the support of all local political parties,” said Ronald Behrendt. “Closure of the Galeria store will not leave a gap in Wandsbek. Quite the opposite, in fact. The project is the right addition in this location and, as such, will help to restore the urban environment. Integration into the urban context and the opening up of the structure will enhance the area. We are confident that the new usage mix and high-quality user experience in the new quarter will have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.”

A complementary and positive mix is part of Union Investment’s concept. The new apartments and the 1,200 students of NBS university will make the area more vibrant and bring additional purchasing power to Wandsbek, thus benefiting local eating establishments and shops. Union Investment aims to create a landmark feature in the shape of a new two-storey hall comprising over 1,500 sq m of space, which will accommodate a range of restaurants and small kiosks. The hall will feature spacious arcades opening onto Wandsbek’s Königsstraße and is designed to widen the choice of eateries in the centre of Wandsbek, particularly for evening dining. Additionally, Union Investment intends the hall to serve as a meeting place for Wandsbek residents in which cultural and musical events can be held.

Wandsbek Market is very centrally located. The area benefits from efficient, high-quality public transport, and two designated cycle routes connect the district to Hamburg city centre. “We’re working on a mobility strategy that focuses on public transport, cycling and e-mobility,” said Bent Mühlena.