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“What we do here is exciting and fascinating”

Hamburg's newest district is taking shape.

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“What we do here is exciting and fascinating”

Hamburg's newest district is taking shape. On Tuesday, the Senate decided on the functional and open space planning for Grasbrook. In the next ten years, 3000 apartments as well as office and commercial buildings for 16,000 jobs will be built in the port area on the south bank of the Elbe.

To this end, the district is to have its own subway connection and connected to the Veddel with a spectacular bridge. In addition, it has now been determined, for example, in which construction area a primary school will be built, where there will be daycare centers and how the paths, green spaces and parks should run through the new district.

"What we are planning for the city here is really exciting and fascinating," said Senator for Urban Development Dorothee Stapelfeldt (SPD), who presented the plans together with Hamburg's chief building director Franz-Josef Höing and the new head of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, Andreas Kleinau. The Grasbrook "the great opportunity to build a piece of the future in a central location and to meet the great challenges of our time". At least 35 percent of the apartments should be subsidized, a fifth of all apartments will be reserved for building communities - and the district will remain almost car-free in its residential areas.

Great attention is also paid to sustainability when it comes to the buildings and the supply of energy to the new district, explained Chief Building Director Höing. Wherever possible, recyclable materials should be used.

In addition to the buildings, the CO2 balance of structures such as bridges, waterfronts, promenades and streets should also be constantly checked. As much of the energy consumed in the district as possible should be generated on site, for example by photovoltaics on the house roofs, as well as on the large roof construction and by environmental heat.

Hamburg started with the current plans for the Grasbrook a year and a half after the referendum against an Olympic bid. In the meantime, the terminal operator HHLA had given up the Überseezentrum on Grasbrook. The current Federal Chancellor and former Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) first presented plans for the new district.

The current plans come from the team at Elbphilharmonie architects Herzog, among others

The new district is divided into two quarters. In the north, between the Elbe and the Moldauhafen, lies the “Moldauhafenquartier”, which is predominantly residential. Six-, nine- and in some cases up to eleven-story houses with green residential courtyards will be built here on a gross floor area of ​​around 460,000 square meters. Shops and seven day-care centers are also planned.

South of the Vltava port is the commercial "Hafentorquartier", in which commercial uses and a large number of jobs are being created with a gross floor area of ​​around 440,000 square meters. Also on the site are the three listed warehouses D, F and G, which will be preserved. A memorial is to be created in Lagerhaus G, which will commemorate the history of the building as an external site of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

But the district is supposed to do more than reuse the former port area. For decades, Hamburg has been trying to eliminate the natural separation by the Elbe. While there are a number of highly sought-after residential districts north of the Elbe, also in areas far from the city center, this does not apply to the very centrally located quarters south of the Elbe. Even if Wilhelmsburg, for example, has been upgraded in the past – including its image – the “leap across the Elbe” that has been aspired to for years is considered unsuccessful.

The Grasbrook is another attempt. The development of the district is "an almost historic opportunity to build a bridge between Veddel, Rothenburgsort and HafenCity," said Stapelfeldt.

For the outgoing senator, it was the last major announcement in office. It was a particular concern of her to create the conditions for the further development of Grasbrook before she resigned from office, said Stapelfeldt. She will leave the Senate on December 15th and hand it over to her successor, IBA boss Karen Pein (SPD).

The first plots of land on Grasbrook are to be put up for sale in the autumn of next year. By then there should also be the first development plans. HafenCity GmbH wants to start a design competition for the new bridge between Grasbrook and Veddel in the spring.

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