What role does the Überseestadt district play at the Bremen stand?
A trade fair presence is not a jigsaw puzzle where every area is allocated its own particular slot. The main focus is on communication, on conveying the image that we are open to the world. It’s about gauging potential and creating new ideas of where investment could take place. This time we really pushed that angle, almost exclusively from the perspective of the Überseestadt. It is great that we are now able to address a range of different target groups. With the current portfolio, we have expanded the scope by including new projects, be it the development of the city centre or the commercial development of the Hansalinie Industrial Estate. This leads to a certain amount of cross-fertilisation, making Bremen even more interesting for investors, both at national and international level.
Some of the interest from industry professionals is likely to be based on the 2018 Bremen property market report. In your view, what are the most important findings of that report?
Bremen remains attractive when compared with its competitors, and it continues to be popular with investors. There is particular interest in the Überseestadt district as a location for company head offices, but also for the residential sector. We are seeing a great deal of construction activity and only low vacancy rates on the property market. However, this also means that there is limited space available for spontaneous development. But everything here is organised as part of development projects: we are not in the business of financing vacancy, and our investments are based on sound judgement. This results in a very promising supply and demand situation.
According to the report, the Überseestadt district was the location with the highest take-up of office space in Bremen for the second year in a row, and it also attracted prime rents. Is this trend likely to continue?
The prime rents are being achieved by new, high-quality properties in premium waterside locations that meet the latest energy requirements, among other things. This is true for residential buildings as well as for commercial real estate. With the construction projects still in the pipeline there is still some room for manoeuvre – we can expect the momentum to continue. But we will have to wait and see if the market is able to absorb all of this. In addition to the office space market, there are also plans for commercial development projects featuring hotels. This will create a degree of diversity, with the focus on commercial spaces.
How do you assess the future of the property market in the Überseestadt district? How will projects need to be planned and implemented to make them competitive?
Generally the crucial issues are things like sustainability, innovation with regard to smart technologies, and mobility. We need to focus on requirements as we plan and build, that goes for the target areas of office, residential and retail space, and for the manufacturing industry. The digital age poses new challenges for the real estate sector, and investors need to take those into account in order to attract reliable, long-term tenants. As the number of available construction sites and properties to market in the Überseestadt district grows smaller, our challenge is to integrate everything carefully into the existing structure. But I am very confident. The Überseestadt district will continue to flourish, more jobs will be created there, and people will continue to want to work and live there.
Mr Heyer, thank you for talking to us.
Andreas Heyer has been Chief Executive Officer of Bremeninvest since 1 June 2009. Before that, he was managing director of the business development company Hannoverimpuls and director of the Sparkasse Hannover savings bank.