1+1 make more than 2 for Tomislav Karajica
The Hamburger Ding, Gaming House, Elbdome and the Mundsburg Tower are just some of many projects that Tomislav Karajica is currently pursuing along the lines of superadditivity under which 1+1 is more than 2. However, the investor and entrepreneuer is taking this approach much further and adding a whole range of elements to the mix.
EUR 90 million invested in Mundsburg Tower
Take Mundsburg Tower, for instance. When Hamburg's third-highest skyscraper is completed in 2023 at a cost of EUR 90 million, it will house both residential and commercial spaces, leisure facilities, medical practices and restaurants. A single building will combine work, living, sports, health and entertainment facilities. Basically, the residents will never have to leave the building again. "In any case, they don't have to go far," said Karajica. "The Hamburger Meile offers shopping and the Lake Alster, theatres and cinemas as well as recreation are within walking distance."
Added value is a top priority for Karajica, who looks at the core of a project, i.e. a high-rise residential building - and enhances it with suitable offers. This creates communities and networks, which in turn morph into something new. "The right mix should make for great user interaction." To add value, Karajica also uses future technologies such as smart home solutions. "Smart solutions that make everyday life easier, more comfortable by boosting sustainability and saving energy and are thus a big issue."
Hamburger Ding: mix of co-working, fitness, eSports and studio
Opened in 2019 at Nobistor, the Hamburger Ding uses and actively advances forward-looking technologies. The Cross Community Space, a combination of co-working, event space, fitness studio, eSports area and podcast studio became the new location of the Square Innovation Hub last August. Together with Microsoft Germany, innovative ideas are developed there - from artificial intelligence, drones and robotics to virtual and augmented reality applications and 3D printing.
United Cyber Space
While the pandemic is slowing activity at the Hamburger Ding, the coronavirus has not wrought any real havoc. "We have not had a significant number of cancellations so far, but we have had brisk demand for new leases." However, the opening of the United Cyber Space has been disappointing, said Karajica. "This is our training centre where amateur e-athletes take lessons from our coaches, meet like-minded people and just try out a bit. The soft opening was in October, but the second lockdown hit when we officially opened in November 2020."
Concept drawing attention all over Germany
Karajica is now transferring the successful concept of the Hamburger Ding to other cities. To this end, he has secured a 5,000-square metre area in downtown Kiel and 20,000 square metres in Osnabrück and is now putting out feelers in Bremen, Lübeck and Berlin, which is meeting with interest. The multifunctional approach has piqued the interest of urban planners. "We are getting enquiries from all over Germany as to whether we would like to develop one or the other area. That's a great confirmation of our work."
Future of inner cities
Karajica declined to confirm plans to develop an open space in central Hamburg, but noted: "Inner cities have an identity-forming effect and thus serve a primal human instinct." However, the city centre needs to reinvent itself. "Silo thinking must end. Instead, we need to think in a more interdisciplinary manner and to offer new magnets."
The example of Hamburg Towers show how this can be done. Karajica played a key role in their development into a professional basketball team. In the 2018/19 season, the Hamburg Towers joined the Basketball Bundesliga and became a magnet for Wilhelmsburg. The long-awaited leap across the Elbe was completed in sporting terms. "The Towers are convincing more and more people that the jump was worth it." Spectators at the games are often surprised and delighted by a district that was previously shunned as a social hotspot. "We are continuing what the International Building Exhibition (IBA) and IGS started. So when urban planners ask how the two sides of the Elbe can be connected, just look at projects like this!"
Karajica wants to bring the two sides of the Elbe together with the Elbdome. The Hamburg Towers' current venue, the edel-optics.de arena, holds 3,400 spectators and sold out 22 times in a row over the last two years. The new arena is expected to seat at least 7,000 spectators. "The Towers are heading for success and they have set themselves the goal of playing in a European competition in three to four years. By 2025, at the latest, we will definitely need this infrastructure," Karajica believes. The Elbdome could seal the gap between the small edel-optics.de arena and the big Barclaycard Arena with 15,000 seats.
Growing eSports market
Although Karajica is passionate about sports, he declines to pursue any project without viable financing. His estimate for the Elbdome comes to EUR 150 million so far. Sports is a lucrative field and the same applies to eSports, he noted. "In Germany, gaming generates EUR 3.8 billion in turnover and experts expect a growth rate of over 30 per cent in eSports." That is also due to the growing community, he noted. "Around 75 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds are gamers. Interested companies are seeking to tap into these new target groups through the right sponsorship," Karajica remarked.
Parts of Gaming House to open this year
The entrepreneur now wants to create Europe's largest eSports centre in Nettelnburg (Hamburg-Bergedorf) and is expecting an investment of about EUR 50 million. A former Telekom conference hotel is being turned into a gaming house with accommodation and will combine sports and technology, events and business under one roof. "We will open piece by piece, starting as early as this year." The house is currently being refurbished and is due for completion in two to three years. "But we don't want to wait that long. The ideas are too good for that."