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Hamburg leads the way with 25 business improvement districts

Chamber of Commerce and city draw positive balance of BIDs - co-operation launched with Newcastle

Some EUR 55 million in funds are to be invested in more business improvement districts (BIDs) across Hamburg, the Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday (December 21). The senate has set up 25 BIDs since 2005. A housing improvement district (HID) is being prepared in Steilshoop as well. The measures will see Hamburg lead the way in BIDs of which Hamburg’s Nikolai Quartier is one of the biggest European projects. The first pan-European agreement of this kind was signed Tuesday with BID NE1 in Newcastle, northern England. The partnership will focus on exchanging experiences about marketing and gauging success.

North American idea

A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses are required to pay an additional tax (or levy) for five years maximum to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. The projects may involve lighting, planting, servicing and marketing activities, events or building measures. The idea originates in North America where the model has been used successfully for over 40 years. The Chamber of Commerce Hamburg and the State Ministry for Urban Development and Housing have drawn a positive, interim balance in a recently published brochure.

Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, Senator for Urban Development and Housing, said: “BIDS are a success story in Hamburg and have helped our citizens to identify more with the inner city and district centres.” Hamburg’s BIDs have also attracted international attention with many delegations coming to the city to inspect them. Stapelfeldt praised the good co-operation between the city and commerce without whom none of these projects would have come about.

Important contribution to a vibrant inner city

Commenting on the significance of BIDs, Prof. Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, noted: “Many property owners and business people in Bergedorf, Harburg and in other districts are investing not only in their properties and value retention with the BIDs.” They are also an important contribution to a vibrant inner city, attractive suburbs, district centres and the quality of life in Hamburg.

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