"Free space" scheme to continue in New Year
The Hamburg Parliament has agreed to prolong the "Free Space: Space for Creative Interim Use" scheme until December 31, 2023 and is making EUR 4.3 million available for this purpose. Creatives will then be able to use free space in e.g., the former Karstadt building for co-working, exhibitions and pop-up stores. This comes after the City of Hamburg drew a positive interim balance of the scheme, which was due to expire in December 2022, and saw more than 50 vacant properties including buildings on Neuer Wall, Ballindamm and in shopping centres gain a new lease of life and housing pop-up stores, studios, art and design galleries.
Creative ideas for sustainable city
"The (Frei_Flächen) scheme benefits the city in many ways. It prevents vacancies, gives creative people the space for their ideas and promotes the change towards a diverse and lively city," said Dr Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media. Egbert Rühl, Managing Director of Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, stressed: "Creatives use convincing concepts and seize opportunities to present their services and products in otherwise inaccessible places." Owners of the buildings are reimbursed for the operating and ancillary costs as well as insurance. Creative people can rent the available space for EUR 1.50 per square metre.
Work on over 60 projects
The funding scheme was developed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Culture and Media with the Landesbetrieb Immobilienmanagement und Grundvermögen (LIG) while Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft became the agent for the unused retail space. Creatives now have the space to work on 61 projects in fashion and product design, art, music and performance. Germany's largest creative, co-working space emerged in the so-called “Jupiter” in the former Karstadt building consisting of around 8,000 square metres on six floors.