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“Hafencity has established itself as a lively district”

Beautiful, but too dull - that's how many Hamburgers thought about Hafencity in recent years.

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“Hafencity has established itself as a lively district”

Beautiful, but too dull - that's how many Hamburgers thought about Hafencity in recent years. Anyone who walked through the new district of the Hanseatic city outside of the weekends and away from the tourist crowds often had the feeling of being alone in the district. In the meantime, Hafencity has established itself as a lively district, believes Andreas Kleinau, CEO of Hafencity Hamburg, which is responsible for the districts as the city's project developer.

A good 20 years after the start of construction, 4,000 apartments have been completed in Hafencity. "And half of it is only done," said Kleinau on Wednesday during a tour of the district, which mainly extends to former port areas along the Elbe not far from the Speicherstadt. In 1997, Hamburg decided to build Hafencity. In 2004, the first resident moved into the quarter.

8,000 to 9,000 residential units are targeted by completion, said Kleinau. “Most of them are in the project planning phase.” Many will be realized in the next three to four years. But it will still be some time before Europe's largest inner-city development project is completed: Hafencity will not be finished until the mid-1930s.

"We have around 8,000 residents in our district," said Kleinau. “And Hafencity is young”. 18.8 percent of the residents are younger than 18 years. "This puts us in the top third of Hamburg's districts." Hafencity is also not a stronghold for singles. "Of course they also live with us, but the proportion of single apartments in Hafencity is 32 percent." The average for Hamburg is more than 50 percent.

Hafencity is now “growing” further east with larger construction projects. In April, the first groundbreaking for a mixed project in the Elbbrücken district is planned, in which a daycare center and 860 apartments are to be housed in addition to the new Digital Art Museum. According to the plans, further open and green spaces will also be completed with a section of the Kirchenpauerkai promenade and the Strandhöft square on the Strandkaispitze.

The Elbtower, which will be Hamburg's tallest building at 65 floors and 245 meters in height, will " noticeably come out of the ground this year," said Kleinau. The shell of the building, with eight storeys and a height of 40 meters, is to come as early as this summer.

Originally founded for the development of Hafencity, Hafencity Hamburg GmbH, which now has 90 employees, is also responsible for the urban development areas of Grasbrook, Science City Bahrenfeld and Billebogen.

"The tasks that we have to master in what are now four major urban development projects are diverse and complex," said Kleinau. "One of the most important functions of urban development is to create new urban and social links, to connect people and spaces, to literally build bridges - urban, physical and social."

This year, four bridge structures are being pushed ahead with the construction or planning of the Veddeler Bridge, Moldauhafen Bridge, Entenwerder Bridge and Bille Bridge, which are intended to overcome separating traffic routes and create new routes between city areas.

In the Science City Bahrenfeld, the aim is to better link the research facilities of DESY and the University of Hamburg with the district of Bahrenfeld and the Altonaer Volkspark via the Luruper Chaussee. The opening of the community houses in Baakenpark and Grasbrookpark in Hafencity should also ensure social connections.

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