Union Investment Real Estate AG is investing some €270 million in a new landmark ensemble of buildings in central Hamburg, Germany. The Emporio complex will comprise a mixed-use new build featuring offices, apartments and a hotel, as well as a 24-story listed office tower which will be refurbished and upgraded in terms of sustainability.
The investment is being made on behalf of the open-ended real estate fund UniImmo: Deutschland and will be offset by the property's improved long-term value appreciation and letting viability. "Refurbishing the former Unilever office tower will ensure its ability to generate attractive returns," says Dr. Frank Billand, Management Board member of Union Investment Real Estate AG. "Users of properties in prime locations like the Emporio are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of buildings," adds Billand. When refurbishment is completed in 2011, the Emporio complex will be one of the most sustainable in Hamburg.
Hamburg office market underpinned by business sector diversity
The office market in Hamburg will remain robust in the long term due to strong sector diversity and be less affected than other markets by the current financial crisis. Union Investment expects the Emporio's landmark status and prominent downtown location to give the complex a competitive edge. The first tenant has already been signed up in the shape of Nord Event GmbH, a leading events company in Northern Germany, while other well-known companies are also expressing keen interest in office space at Emporio. Union Investment has reached an agreement with leading Scandinavian hotel operator Scandic regarding a long-term lease for the new build property.
Sustainability increasingly relevant for returns
Within the property sector, sustainability criteria are becoming increasingly relevant for returns. Independent surveys show that energy efficiency, and therefore service charges, are set to play a bigger role when commercial tenants are choosing premises. Union Investment is adapting its investment strategy to changing user requirements and increasingly taking green issues into account during the acquisition phase and due diligence process. The Union Investment fund portfolio already includes BREEAM and LEED certified buildings in the shape of One Kingdom Street and One Coleman Street in London and 111 South Wacker Drive in Chicago.
Source: Union Investment