Taking a long view of investment
Summary and achievements
The skyscraper was refurbished with a strong focus on sustainability and on safeguarding its heritage-protected status. A new building was also added on the same site, and the area opened up for public access. Under the direction of Union Investment’s Real Estate Project Management team, an entire new quarter was created in the heart of the city. The EMPORIO ensemble is now fully let and forms one of the most sustainable building complexes in Hamburg.
LEED certification, multi tenant property
The starting point
The reinforced concrete structure with its three wings was designed in the 1960s by leading architect duo Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg. Union Investment acquired the property for its open-ended real estate fund Unilmmo: Deutschland in 1989. As a typical example of the kind of imposing architecture adopted by businesses during Germany’s post-war economic boom, the building was listed as an architectural monument at the start of 2000. When Unilever started planning to relocate its headquarters in 2006, Union Investment was presented with an exciting opportunity.
It quickly became clear that minimal updating was simply not an option. Demolition was also ruled out – partly due to the building’s protected status but also because it is much more sustainable to retain existing building stock. Having carefully considered all the possible courses of action, Union Investment decided to fully refurbish the high-rise block. The site was also to be opened up and enhanced by additional usages. And whereas Unilever was a sole tenant, Union Investment consciously opted for a multi-tenant strategy.
Each approximately 1,600 sq m storey within the high rise can now be divided into three separate rental areas if desired. Cellular, open plan or a combination of both – any floor plan is possible, allowing highly efficient use of space.
The protected façade presented a particular challenge. Designated an important visual landmark by the city authorities, it had to be retained. It was faithfully recreated, while complying with the latest energy standards.
The new usage concept encompasses a sophisticated mix of office space and catering facilities in the skyscraper, with the adjacent new build featuring apartments, offices, restaurants and a hotel. Since September 2012, the latter has increased the area’s diversity while at the same time minimising risk.
Bent Mühlena, Head of Real Estate Project Management
This development underlines Union Investment’s holistic understanding of sustainability. It is thus no surprise that following LEED certification of the high rise, the new build Scandic Hamburg EMPORIO hotel achieved a DGNB Gold Rating.
Sven Lintl, Head of Asset Management Germany