Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
50JahreECE © ece

ECE to celebrate 50-year anniversary today

On 22 January 1965, the Hamburg mail order pioneer Werner Otto founded the "Einkaufs-Center-Entwicklungsgesellschaft“ ECE, today Europe's market leader with 200 centres

At the end of the 1960s, Otto brought the modern shopping center concept from the U.S. to Germany. Under the name “Einkaufs-Center-Entwicklungsgesellschaft” (“Shopping Center Development Company”), the new company first opened Franken-Center in Nuremberg in 1969 and Alstertal-Einkaufszentrum in Hamburg in 1970.

Global Player From Hamburg

Therefore, ECE’s history is closely connected with the history of shopping centers in Germany as a whole – both have been a success story for 50 years. By extending its business fields to office properties, company headquarters, logistics centers, railway stations, and hotels, the name did not cover the company’s activities to their entirety and was therefore changed to the name under which the independent and autonomous sister company of Otto Group is known today: ECE Projektmanagement G.m.b.H. & Co. KG. As a result, the company’s headquarters in the Hamburg district of Poppenbüttel grew larger continuously. More than 3,500 people work for ECE across Europe, 1,300 of them in Hamburg alone. Alexander Otto, the youngest son of founder Werner Otto, took over the helm at ECE in the year 2000. Alexander Otto promoted the international expansion of the company, multiplied the number of managed shopping centers and tapped new business fields for ECE.

Market Leader In Europe

Today, ECE is the European market leader in the field of inner-city shopping centres with almost 200 centres under management and activities in 16 countries as well as a major developer of other commercial properties. The company’s portfolio comprises 27 billion euros in assets under management and projects under construction or in planning stage worth 3.5 billion euros, among them projects of its business area Office, Traffic, Industries valued at 1.5 billion euros. Two ECE real estate funds have been set up which specialize in the acquisition of existing shopping centers with value-add potential across Europe. Moreover, the Otto family has been investing in property developments and has been acquiring shopping centres as well. Renowned investors have acquired shopping centres that were developed or managed by ECE, among them Deutsche EuroShop AG, Deutsche Bank, Allianz, Union Investment as well as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds from all over the world. ECE has evolved from a developer of shopping centers to a redeveloper of real estate properties. Complete refurbishments and the repositioning of existing centers for other investors have gained importance.

Full Life Cycle Service

As one of few real estate developers, ECE covers the entire life cycle of a real estate property – from planning to realisation, operation, and continuous modernisation. A long term view and the constant adapting to popular customer wishes are integral parts of the company’s philosophy. ECE centers have been meeting the challenges of e-commerce with innovative services and high quality.

Celebrating With Staff And Business Partners

ECE will kick off its anniversary year with a staff event on January 22, the day the company was founded, and an evening reception for its business partners on January 23. There will also be a big family party for ECE’s staff in summer.

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