"Überseestadt to continue its positive development"

The development of the Überseestadt is a real success story for Bremen. It’s quickly become a modern new quarter for investors, traders and citizens alike. Bremeninvest has been commissioned to develop and market local commercial spaces, some of which are owned by Bremeninvest itself while others are owned by third parties like the City of Bremen. The Chairman of the Board at Bremeninvest, Andreas Heyer, is interviewed about the defining aspects of the property market in the Überseestadt, the market positioning of the area, and its future prospects.

Andreas Heyer
Andreas Heyer ist Vorsitzender der Geschäftsführung der WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH © WFB / Frank Pusch

Mr Heyer, Bremen city centre is currently experiencing a tremendous appreciation in value through major construction projects carried out by private investors. How do you view the potential and role of the Überseestadt within this context?

The Überseestadt has always been a special development area. Bremeninvest has not only helped to draft the master plan and drive development here; our main task is also to market all spaces in the area. This is a very special case of property management. The Überseestadt might have recently dominated the property market in Bremen, but it’s no longer the defining feature of the city’s great emergence. The city centre is now also getting a much needed development boost. So there’s a coexistence of two strong areas based on two completely different concepts.

What role does the large-scale Überseestadt project play at Bremeninvest, and how are things looking at the moment?

We have two members of staff dedicated to companies in the Überseestadt. But there are obviously lots of different departments working together at Bremeninvest, such as property development, contract management, property management and location marketing. The development of the area is supported by a steering meeting that takes place every four weeks in cooperation with our construction and business departments. We also promote dynamic communication, such as by holding regular work meetings. Our Überseestadt Advisory Board meets twice a year to exchange ideas with stakeholders in the area, such as business people and the local council in the district of Walle. The area is characterised by its various stages of development. It’s worth mentioning the Überseeinsel project and the Zech Group’s prominent development of the Europahafen. However, the development of small-scale projects and the timber and factory port are equally important. The main question in the Überseestadt is how to successfully combine old port industries with new uses.

„Die Überseestadt wird sich weiter positiv entwickeln“ + Holz- und Fabrikenhafen
Der Holz- und Fabrikenhafen: In der Überseestadt existieren Industrie, Hafenwirtschaft, Wohnen und Gewerbe nebeneinander © WFB / Frank Pusch

The Überseestadt used to be just an idea. How has the whole thing developed, and what’s the market position of the Überseestadt compared to other places around the country?

If you look at the vision presented in the master plan and its subsequent realisation, you’ll particularly notice the good development of the waterside areas. This is complemented by our slightly unplanned yet pleasing focus on the housing market, which was urgently needed in Bremen and has further improved the quality of the Überseestadt. Our plan was to combine the old and the new. How could the housing market be better placed? Our focus is currently on the top of the Europahafen and the Überseeinsel, the former Kellogg’s site. Similar projects have been carried out around Germany to successfully revitalise old port areas. But we’re well aware of the situation: The Überseestadt development area in Bremen is twice as big as the HafenCity in Hamburg, but this receives quite a different level of attention due to the size and internationality of the city. But we can handle that – we don’t have to hide. We’ve importantly managed to drive the highly organic development of the Überseestadt through predominantly regional activities – and much faster than originally planned.

„Die Überseestadt wird sich weiter positiv entwickeln“ + Luftbild Kellogg
Das Luftbild aus 2016 zeigt die Überseestadt mit dem neu zu entwickelnden ehemaligen Kellogg-Gelände. © WFB / Studio B

Which sectors does the Überseestadt manage to attract?

Es hat angefangen mit etwa 300 Bestandsunternehmen, vornehmlich aus der Hafenwirtschaft, und etwa 6.000 Mitarbeitern. Zurzeit sind in der Überseestadt circa 1.000 Unternehmen mit insgesamt rund 16.000 Beschäftigten ansässig. Es gibt kleinere Gewerbebetriebe, ganz klassisch mit Büros und Hallenbau. Neu hinzugekommen ist der Büroimmobilienmarkt. Das Gebiet ist zudem für den Bereich Dienstleistungen prädestiniert und wird sich entsprechend weiterentwickeln.

The Überseestadt started out with around 300 companies and 6,000 employees, mainly from the port industry. It’s now home to around 1,000 companies with 16,000 workers. Smaller businesses are also based here in classic office buildings and halls. One new addition is the office market. The area is also ideal for service providers and will continue to develop in this field.

 

How does Bremen manage to stand out from the competition as a real estate location, and how important is the “Expo Real” fair in Munich?

Europe’s largest real estate fair for trade visitors is held over three days in October. In 2018, we arrived in Munich with a completely revamped, cutting-edge concept for our exhibition stand and a record participation of 27 partners. The entire real estate spectrum was represented on the Bremen stand with banks, developers, legal specialists, IT companies, estate agents and economic developers from Bremen and Bremerhaven. The basic dimensions of the Bremen stand remained the same, but we implemented a double-decker concept for the first time to make better use of the 200 square metres. We also used a completely different presenting style. We received very positive feedback from both the people involved and our many visitors. The timing of our events and discussions was very tight. This shows just how much potential can be exploited on the market.

„Die Überseestadt wird sich weiter positiv entwickeln“ + Gemeinschaftsstand Bremen und Bremerhaven auf der Expo Real 2018
Der Gemeinschaftsstand von Bremen und Bremerhaven auf der Expo Real 2018 war sehr gut besucht. © WFB / Frank Pusch

What role did the Überseestadt play during Bremen’s appearance at the fair?

Our appearance at the fair wasn’t like a jigsaw puzzle, where each area got its own allocated space. Our outstanding themes were communication, public image and a metropolitan appearance. We wanted to explore our potential and envisage potential investments. We did all of this by focusing very intensively and almost exclusively on the prospects of the Überseestadt. But it’s good to address other target groups as well. We’ve managed to generate a wide portfolio by adding new projects like the development of the city centre and the commercial development of the Hansalinie Business Park. All our projects benefit one another, making Bremen even more attractive to national and international investors.

The Property Market Report 2018 certainly sparked an interest in your trade visitors. What do you consider to be the most important results?

Bremen has always stood out from the competition and continues to attract investors. The Überseestadt is a particularly attractive location for company headquarters, but also in terms of its housing market. We have lots of building activity and a low vacancy rate on our property market. But this also means there’s only a limited amount of space for spontaneous developments. Everything is organised in projects, we only fund properties that can be occupied, and we make prudent investments. This has resulted in a very interesting supply-and-demand situation.

The report suggests that, for the second year in a row, the Überseestadt is the location with the highest take-up rate on the Bremen office market with emerging premium rental prices. Will this trend continue?

Premium rental prices can be found in new, high-quality properties in top waterside locations. These residential and commercial properties meet modern energy requirements and other standards. Given our current construction projects, we’ll still undergo certain development – there’s life in there yet. But we’ll have to see whether there’s still room for everything on the market. In addition to the office market, for example, commercial developments are scheduled in connection with hotel projects. This creates a sense of diversity with a focus on business.

The report suggests that, for the second year in a row, the Überseestadt is the location with the highest take-up rate on the Bremen office market with emerging premium rental prices. Will this trend continue?

Premium rental prices can be found in new, high-quality properties in top waterside locations. These residential and commercial properties meet modern energy requirements and other standards. Given our current construction projects, we’ll still undergo certain development – there’s life in there yet. But we’ll have to see whether there’s still room for everything on the market. In addition to the office market, for example, commercial developments are scheduled in connection with hotel projects. This creates a sense of diversity with a focus on business.                                

Thank you for talking to us, Mr Heyer!


Information

Andreas Heyer has been the Chairman of the Board at Bremeninvest since 1 June 2009. The qualified banker used to be the Managing Director of the business development company Hannoverimpuls and the Manager of Sparkasse Hannover.


You can find out more information about the Überseestadt, local properties and marketing opportunities by contacting Dagmar Nordhausen (Tel.: +49 (0) 421 9600 252 / dagmar.nordhausen@wfb-bremen.de and Jons Abel (Tel.: +49 (0) 421 9600 613 / jons.abel@wfb-bremen.de.


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