Rhein-Galerie Ludwigshafen celebrates topping out (DE)

Representatives of project partners Union Investment Real Estate GmbH and ECE today raised the topping-out wreath on the Rhein-Galerie in Ludwigshafen at a traditional ceremony attended by the Mayor of Ludwigshafen, Dr. Eva Lohse. With the completion of the building's carcass, the spectacular construction project at the site on the Rhine riverbank can progress to the next phase. "Looking at the construction site today, you can already see how the Rhein-Galerie will boost the value of this location. It won't be long before we're celebrating the opening of the new urban quarter with the city of Ludwigshafen," said Alexander Otto, Chairman of ECE, at the topping-out ceremony.

Mayor Dr. Eva Lohse stated: "The Rhein-Galerie and our 'Today for Tomorrow' urban restructuring program are closely interlinked and are proving very successful. The Rhein-Galerie, with its attractive retail offering and compelling architecture, will make a major contribution toward the revitalization and renewal of downtown Ludwigshafen. The construction of the Rhein-Galerie reflects the business community's confidence in Ludwighafen's future as a location, and the project will create more than 1,000 jobs. In times like these, that's an imported signal from the old bonded port area."

By the time the building opens in the autumn of 2010, as many as 800 specialists will be involved in ensuring that the new Rhein-Galerie at the former bonded port is completed on time. The finished building will be an exceptional shopping center with around 30,000 m² of retail space, including some 10,000 m² of Rhine promenade. The Rhein-Galerie Ludwigshafen project represents an investment volume of around €220 million.

"The strength of the catchment area, with its population of more than a million people, has helped win numerous attractive retail business as tenants for the Rhein-Galerie, and a large number of lease agreements have already been signed," says Dr. Frank Billand, a member of the Management Board of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. Union Investment acquired the Rhein-Galerie development project in 2008 for its UniImmo: Deutschland open-ended real-estate fund. "With all of the current shopping center acquisitions for our funds, we're investing primarily in easily accessible downtown urban locations, and we're delighted to have a partner like ECE as an operator at our side with whom we've already worked successfully in the past at other locations," adds Billand.

Finishing work is already well underway
The project has come a long way since ground was officially broken in June 2008. Around 600 auger piles with diameters of between 90 and 120 centimeters had to be drilled into the boggy ground in order to create a solid foundation for the 400-meter-long building. The structure's carcass was then erected using more than 30,000 cubic meters of concrete and around 10,000 cubic meters of prefabricated concrete components. Almost exactly a year after the groundbreaking, construction crews were able to celebrate the pouring of the last of the concrete decks. Work on installing around 1,700 tons of steel for the roof structure began in June of this year and is expected to continue until November.

Construction specialists are currently installing the 24,640-square-meter curved glass-fiber membrane roof that will cover the Rhein-Galerie. For the subsequent interior work, the number of workers on site will rise to as many as 800. The Rhein-Galerie is scheduled to open next year in the autumn.

Most of the retail space is already taken
With a year to go before the center opens, 85 percent of the retail space available in the Rhein-Galerie has already been taken. The main emphasis in the retail mix will be on the textiles sector (around 50 percent). Two major tenants will be C&A and Peek & Cloppenburg. There will also be a number of fashion stores, including Theo Wormland, Tom Tailor, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, More & More, Gerry Weber, Mustang, Triumph, Humanic, Deichmann and Sidestep. Another anchor tenant – and a real highlight for the

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