An architectural ensemble on the River Elbe

HafenCity and Elbtower construction progress

Baustelle von Elbtower mit Elbphilharmonie im Hintergrund

It’s right at the centre of it all, but at the same time it’s part of the bigger picture. A unique district is being built on 157 hectares of land between Elbphilharmonie and Elbtower. HafenCity, located in the middle of the River Elbe, is one of the largest development areas in Europe. Old docks, warehouses, factories and industrial warehouses have been converted into buildings that now combine working, living, education, culture, leisure, tourism and retail. The many different forms of use make for a lively mix.

The idea for Hafencity has been around for several decades. Hamburg’s then mayor Henning Voscherau presented the first plans back in 1997: “The vision of returning the inner city to the waterfront with working, leisure and living spaces can become reality. The two different areas of the Alster and Elbe both with their own distinct atmospheres, which have shaped Hamburg’s image in the world, will come together again,” Voscherau said at the time. A quarter of a century later, the vision has partly turned into reality with around 4,000 flats completed in HafenCity. 15,000 people now work there and at the end of 2021, more than 6,000 people were officially registered as living in the district – 20 percent of them younger than 18.

Luftbild der Hafencity Hamburg
U-Bahn mit Elbphilharmonie im Hintergrund

Development in the east

The infrastructure is already in position in many places. The underground line 4 also runs from Jungfernstieg via two stops in HafenCity to the Elbbrücken stop, which is next to the future Elbtower. In the western part of HafenCity, many areas have already been completed. Others, such as “BE Strandkai”, should soon be ready for occupation. Around 475 flats and numerous commercial spaces are being built on a spit of land opposite the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

Construction will continue for several years, especially in the eastern part of the island. The largest residential district in HafenCity will be built in Baakenhafen. To this end, it was decided this year to build three 62-metre-high residential tower blocks in the middle of the harbour. 240 flats are planned in the waterside buildings, which will be connected to the adjacent quay via a footbridge.

Baustelle von Elbtower

An experimental district

In the Elbbrücken district, the “Roots” high-rise is steadily growing upwards and is due to be completed at the end of 2023. It is also a pilot project – with the 65-metre-high residential building set to be the tallest wooden high-rise in Germany. “This largest district in HafenCity is an impressive field of experimentation for sustainable construction, for digital infrastructures and for smart concepts of operation and use,” HafenCity CEO Dr Andreas Kleinau told the dpa news agency.

The Überseequartier is also spectacular: 580 flats, offices for 4,000 workspaces, three hotels, ten cinemas and areas for retail, gastronomy and entertainment are all being built on 42 hectares of land. Fourteen buildings are being constructed at a cost of more than one billion euros. Originally, the complex was to be ready by the end of 2022. However, after the Corona pandemic and delivery problems for construction materials, the opening was delayed and is now planned for spring 2024 with visitor numbers expected to reach 16.2 million per year.

The Elbtower – a perfect finish

Cranes are also at work on the Elbtower, which will be built right next to the Elbbrücken bridges by the end of 2025. Now that SIGNA has provided all the necessary evidence, the land is being handed over to the developer. In just a few weeks, the building will visibly grow in height. A perfect conclusion for the new and lively HafenCity.

Luftbild der Hafencity mit Elbtower Hamburg
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