What do San Francisco, Sydney and Hamburg all have in common? They're a great distance apart but all three cities are home to lively, thriving and evolving harbours.
What is a harbour city?
All harbour cities share a common thread of history; they were trading ports, hotbeds of commercial activity and part of the vibrant new age of industrialisation. Over the last few decades, most harbour cities have seen a change as the methods of shipping and the quantity of produce exported has evolved dramatically. These districts were also once epicentres of smog and clashing steel, yet more recent regulations have seen an end to that and the start of something cleaner.
San Francisco and Sydney are already well known for their transformation; they are now cities bustling with culture, commerce and have desirable residences laced along the water’s edge. Hamburg is making its way there too, with its harbour district becoming a highly sought-after destination.
What is Hamburg’s Hafen City project?
Project Hafen City aimed to bring together work and residential spaces, culture and leisure, tourism and retail, into one network of interconnected districts. The redevelopment location is central in Hamburg, once largely occupied by single-story sheds and Speicherstadt, an enormous former warehouse district. The challenge was to design somewhere with a breadth of uses, almost completely from scratch, while retaining the architectural integrity of the harbour. One of the immovable features is, of course, the water itself; it must weave into every aspect of the space and developers have been extremely careful to come up with a sustainable set of buildings, protected from the threat of floods.
The Hafen City comprises of several districts, with the three eastern neighborhoods of Oberhafen, Baakenhafen and Elbbrücken being the most challenging to design, due in part to their proximity to noisy transport routes. The Baakenhafen area’s primary focus will be living and leisure, promising several thousand job opportunities; Oberhafen transforms into the creative and cultural quarter; and Elbbrücken is a key location for business and housing. The original design of Project Hafen City has been reworked, seeing the total floor area of this development increased to an impressive 2.32 million sqm.
What is it like to live in a harbour city?
With a total of around 7000 homes, a selection of primary schools, secondary schools and kindergartens, as well as ever-increasing job opportunities, the prospect of living in the Hafen City is becoming more attractive every year. The recent addition of the Elbphilharmonie is the final flourish to the cosmopolitan and modern lifestyle that has been created in the area. All harbour cities have their own charm and architecture, with the water defining them, but the Hafen City is green as well as blue. There are squares, parks and promenades which help to enhance the feeling of community and continuity; in the leisure peninsula of Hamburg, work and play blending seamlessly.
Engel & Völkers have been developing a new headquarters close to the city’s “Unilever-Haus”, due for completion in 2018. This development, in partnership with Quantum Immobilien AG, will also include luxury freehold apartments and rental property overlooking either the city, the river Elbe or the port, as well as a private gym and concierge service. This really is a place bursting with opportunities, whether it’s somewhere to make your home or start your business. It’s also an appealing market for renting, with lots of buy-to-let opportunities available through our offices there. If Hamburg’s Hafen City follows the trend of its relatives, like Sydney and San Francisco, investing in a property here is likely to be a wise decision.