Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft takes over Karstadt Sport building

"Free space" scheme gaining momentum - creative, interim use of empty space
20 June 2022

Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft is to take over the Karstadt Sport building on Mönckebergstrasse by the end of 2022 and open it up for interim use by creative people and cultural institutions. Around 8,000 square metres of vacant space on over six floors will become temporary studios, exhibition spaces, co-working spaces and production venues for six months. The project has been facilitated by Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft's "Free Space" (Frei_Fläche) scheme and the Fund for Creative Interim Use, which the senate approved in June 2021 and set aside EUR 9 million.

Scheme to revive suburbs 

"Until now, there has been little experience of the creative industries in the city centre," said Dr Katja Wolframm, Head of Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft's property department. Showing the sector's potential in such a central location is great for all visitors and an invitation to decision-makers in the property sector. Andreas Dressel, Senator for Finance, commented: "We are using our 'Relaunch Fund', which we have just increased by another EUR 500,000, and the 'Free Space'  scheme to provide targeted support for the inner city and district centres in the wake of coronavirus." Creative business usage such as those on Mönckebergstrasse and in numerous other places in Hamburg will revive the suburbs, Dressel stressed.

Over 50 creative concepts already matched

Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft will take over the former department store from R+V Lebensversicherung AG by December 31, 2022. In return, it will pay all ongoing ancillary costs, but not rent. The space will be made available to creative professionals for EUR 1.50 per square metre. The building will be rented out in quarter, half or whole floors. The ground floor and secnd floor will be occupied by changing projects such as exhibitions or festivals. Projects on the remaining floors will be on site for their entire duration. Around 19,466 square metres of vacant space have been rented out to creative people across Hamburg since the "Free Space" scheme launched last July. Around 53 out of over 175 ideas submitted for interim use have found spaces so far.