Senate grants partial building permit

  • Preparatory construction measures started in October
  • Civil engineering works will last around 1.5 years

Hamburg, 05.10.2021 – Work has begun on the excavation pit enclosure as a preparatory measure for building the Elbtower in HafenCity Hamburg. The Department of Urban Development and Housing of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has granted a partial building permit for the excavation pit and the foundation components for what will be the tallest functional building in the city at 245 metres.

This is not yet the start of construction, which is tied to the handover of the land currently still owned by the City of Hamburg, but rather preparatory measures for construction. “With the partial building permit, we are taking the first step towards the construction of the Elbtower”, says Timo Herzberg, CEO SIGNA Real Estate. “Even before the start of construction, we can begin with preparatory measures on the building site. Our thanks go to our planning partners and the many people involved in the authorities for their constructive cooperation. The Elbtower is already enjoying high demand from prospective tenants, with around 30% of the total space already let.”

The contract stipulates that the property cannot be handed over by the City of Hamburg until the executable building permit has been granted, the pre-letting quota has been met and the overall financing has been proven. The partial building permit that has now been granted for the foundation measures and the construction of the excavation pit will significantly shorten the construction time of the building – without completing the final stage, where Hamburg transfers the land ownership. This increases planning security for SIGNA and the City of Hamburg and is also a clear signal to potential tenants that the implementation of the Elbtower is progressing successfully.

Dr. Andreas Kleinau, Managing Director of the municipal HafenCity Hamburg GmbH says: “By using the partial building permit, SIGNA is demonstrating entrepreneurial foresight and decisiveness, thereby creating an essential prerequisite for acquiring outstanding tenants on the office market at an early stage and thus meeting the necessary pre-letting quota.”

75-metre-deep foundation

On the Elbbrücken site, 18,000m² of sealing walls and 4,700m² of diaphragm walls are being built for the excavation pit enclosure over an area of around 21,000m² (the equivalent of about 3 football pitches). These go up to 55 metres deep into the ground. About 130,000m³ of soil will be dug out for the excavation pit, which is the size of a 50-metre cube.

SIGNA commissioned a consortium comprising ZÜBLIN Spezialtiefbau, Implenia Spezialtiefbau, EGGERS Tiefbau and EGGERS Umwelttechnik with the planning and execution of the complete excavation pit and the deep foundations. For the deep foundations, the consortium is producing a total of 63 pile foundations with diameters of 2m and lengths of 75m.

The Elbtower – a high-point of architectural and urban development

The 245m-high and 64-storey Elbtower was designed by the renowned architectural firm David Chipperfield Architects. The Elbtower will occupy the eastern end of HafenCity, visible from a distance, and will herald Hamburg’s city entrance on the Norderelbe and the new adjacent major urban development projects Grasbrook and Billebogen.

With their innovative layouts, the publicly accessible lower floors will offer a variety of shops, restaurants, co-working spaces and cultural uses. In this way they will form a public space for Elbtower users and visitors. Here, office users, hotel guests, tourists and Hamburg residents will find a high-quality environment inviting them to linger. Nobu Hospitality will open its first hotel and restaurant in Germany in the Elbtower. The tower itself offers state-of-the-art office space that can be flexibly configurated, providing a home for the working world of tomorrow, including that of Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB). An incomparable view of the city opens up from the public viewing level at a height of 225 metres. Particular importance was attached to the sustainability of the building, which will also meet the highest energy standards.


SIGNA Real Estate has been developing and managing outstanding real estate projects in central locations in Germany and Austria for over 20 years. An experienced team of real estate experts manages all activities from acquisition to project completion and meets the highest standards in terms of profitability, technology and sustainability. Reliability, fairness and adherence to deadlines are at the forefront of the cooperation with the project partners. These values, which are also firmly set in the corporate philosophy of the company founded by René Benko, make SIGNA a recognised partner.

The portfolio includes the KaDeWe and the Upper West Tower at the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin, the spectacular Elbtower high-rise project in Hamburg’s HafenCity, the premium department store Alsterhaus in Hamburg as well as the Oberpollinger and the revitalisation of the Alte Akademie in Munich. In Austria, the premium hotel Park Hyatt Vienna and the Goldenes Quartier business district are among the outstanding existing properties.

With these projects, SIGNA is making important contributions to urban development. In doing so, SIGNA focuses on the individual property as well as rethinking topics such as inner city development, sustainability, diversity of use, networking and mobility – to create cities for everyone to enjoy.


Sebastian Schmidt
PR Manager
M: ed.angis@tdimhcs.s
T: +49 30 700 108 900

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