A 388-acre industrial zone is being transformed into HafenCity, a vibrant mixed-use district dotted with buildings by firms such as Herzog & de Meuron, Behnisch Architects, Richard Meier & Partners, and others. Despite some financial setbacks, the $10 billion urban redevelopment project is moving along.
Walking through HafenCity, it’s difficult to imagine the grungy shipbuilding yards and warehouses that once dominated the area. Today, the waterfront property stretching along the River Elbe is filled with offices, cafés, and condos, along with vibrant public spaces and tree-lined streets. The $10 billion master plan for HafenCity—billed as Europe’s largest inner-city development project—calls for transforming 388 acres into 10 distinct quarters. According to city officials, the district will increase Hamburg’s urban core by 40 percent, create an estimated 45,000 jobs, and offer housing for 12,000 residents of varying income levels. The public-private project is being developed by HafenCity Hamburg. With about 40 percent of the buildings finished or under construction, the harbor makeover is scheduled for completion by 2025, although financial woes have stalled several major projects.