Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
Reihenhäuser fürs Gewerbe © Jörg Munzinger

Industrial townhouses come to Hamburg

Demand for Elbcraft commercial campus surpasses supply after initial phase

Demand for attractive property sites to build industrial estates and residential property is soaring in Hamburg. The Hamburg Invest Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (HIE), set up on April 11, 2017 by the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF), is likely to add impetus. HIE will take overall responsibility for marketing urban commercial property and industrial sites including development, advertising, contacting clients and handling purchase agreements

Practical, flexible, American-style industrial architecture

Another new development is the so-called “Elbcraft” industrial campus initiated by architects Jörg Munzinger and Bärbel Lüdemann. “Elbcraft” provides “new, industrial spaces” or loft-like, two-storey townhouses for craftsmen, service providers and creative people. The idea is to provide flexible, ground-floor workspaces and offices on the first floor on a 150 to 220 square metre area.

Townhouses or terraced buildings for business people are novel in Hamburg. And although Munzinger and Lüdemann were convinced of their prototype, building and marketing this venture has been risky although the practical approach speaks for itself, according to Munzinger, who noted: “Each of the six units has a hedged-in forecourt which can be used a loading area.” The hall area of the building is swiftly and easily reached via a rolling shutter on the ground level. Munzinger, 45, added: “No annoying ramps, freight elevators or corridors obstruct the transport of goods.” Large windows and overhead lighting on the first floor guarantee plenty of daylight. Commenting on the redbrick look, Munzinger said: “The style is along the lines of American industrial 1920’s architecture which we have modified and given a modern edge suitable for Hamburg.”

Peute – central and with great potential

“We were certain that we would able to lease the property based on the plans and drafts alone. The first shell construction sparked great interest,” said Munzinger. However Peute presented a problem. “Word has it that Peute is one of the most underestimated industrial sites in Hamburg and I agree. As soon as an interested party realized that the property is south of the Elbe, that became a psychological hurdle.” Yet the location is incredibly central and only a ten-minute drive from City Hall with links to the A1 und A7 motorways and only 1,300 metres from Veddel S-Bahn station. “In 2018, the Elbbrücken subway station will open here and two buses already stop right in front of our campus,” Munzinger pointed out. Yet there are many barely developed, empty spaces nearby. “It is basically an area that has not yet awakened or rather reawakened,“ he added. Many people worked there in the 1920s, and “there is no reason why that should not happen again. The location has great potential,” Munzinger believes.

Food branch among latecomers

But setting up Elbcraft marks a step towards the area’s renaissance. “All the units were rented on completion and we are still getting enquiries from interested tenants. In the end, we could have leased each area three times over.” The present tenants include two start-ups one of which specialises in equipment for the oil sector and another start-up specialising in the production and sale of advertising material. An electronics company based in the Ruhr Valley has also set up a servicing point in Hamburg, as well as a newspaper company, a painter’s and a provider of industrial coffee machines. The unsuccessful applicants included many from the food sector, Munzinger noted. “They covered the whole range – from a vegan bakery, a catering company for nursery schools to a whisky distillery. However, we are very pleased with the current mix.” If the initiators of Elbcraft find another suitable site, they could well imagine setting up other industrial townhouses as interest among potential tenants is by no means waning.

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