Creating sustainable value in existing buildings
The 24-storey office tower within the EMPORIO ensemble is a highly visible testament to Union Investment's real estate expertise. It is also a landmark building in terms of refurbishing a protected historic building to improve energy efficiency.
The tower enjoys a central location on Dammtorwall and was constructed in the 1960s. Work began on refurbishing and upgrading it to the latest technology in summer 2009, with special consideration being given to its protected status. Formerly the headquarters of Unilever, the building is now known as EMPORIO and was part of the portfolio of open-ended real estate fund UniImmo: Deutschland before refurbishment started. EMPORIO is a much-cited example of active asset management and of Union Investment's ability to create value for its investors and develop existing holdings.
“EMPORIO was among the pilot projects for sustainable refurbishment under the strict constraints of protected building status,” says Bent Mühlena, head of the Real Estate Project Management department at Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. The aim of transforming the iconic 1960s tower into an economically viable green building was fully achieved, with EMPORIO receiving LEED Platinum certification. The certificate provides detailed, transparent information on the all-round quality of the building, covering economic performance, energy efficiency and user comfort. Comprehensive upgrading of the building and its services has significantly reduced energy consumption, emissions and operating costs.
Implementing standards for sustainable fit-out
The innovative nature of the project can be seen in aspects such as the implementation of standards for sustainable fit-out of the existing rental space. As a founding member of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Union Investment helped to develop the requirements which have been applied to EMPORIO. The building specifications prepared for tenants contained guidance on permitted materials for interior fit-out of the EMPORIO rental space. This naturally included the space used by Union Investment itself. The entire fit-out process for the rental space in the multi-tenant building, covering units from 500 sq m upwards, was geared towards sustainability. More widely, everything was done to help the environment and tenants. Upgrading the façade and building services has lowered the operating costs for heating and cooling by over 64 per cent. Successful implementation of the associated measures has reduced the impact on the environment by 1,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. Today, the almost fully let multi-tenant complex consisting of the office tower and new build Scandic Hotel and apartment building is highly diversified. EMPORIO is an excellent example of how sustainability can be understood and implemented in many different ways: ecologically, economically and socio-culturally. Delivering benefits for investors and the environment alike.