The station, the squeaky curve, the Neue Mitte - urban changes are multi-facetted

19 September, 2023

City development processes are laborious, more complex than originally expected, seldom troublefree. The transformation often starts with a detail - on the the part of an individual property owner.

For a long time, relocating the Hamburg-Altona terminal station to the Diebsteich S-Bahn station almost two kilometres away seemed rather ambitious. However, the better informed were already aware that there was a Deutsche Bahn resolution from 1997 to establish a functionally more convenient through station two kilometres further north. But in the years since then, little appeared to happen. The district around the S-Bahn station remained sleepy.

Possession of a fur coat was long seen as a status symbol for many. The fur shop of our client in the Isebeekstrasse entrance area of S-Bahn station Diebsteich was a city-wide institution. Around 2010, however, there was a noticeable changes in value. Wearing an animal fur nowadays is largely frowned upon. This put a question over the medium and long-term profitabiltity of the business. A palatial, whimsical building design - including a swimmingpool - restricted the options for direct use by a third party. In the end, it was the advantageous building rights on the site that facilitated a sale of the property. Thus, denser housing was, at least indirectly, the starting point for urban change at Diebsteich Station.

By now, building progress on the station can be viewed from the upper floor balconies of the large multiple occupancy dwelling completed in 2016. Originally, the opening date of the station was intended to be this year. However, due to complaint procedures, it was not possible to meet this date.

The station is, of course, also a significant driving force for further development of the surrounding quarter. Consequently, in 2017, Hamburg city authorities purchased  the business premises of Thyssen Krupp in the Waidmannstrasse, which stands more ore less in front of the station. Two distinctive high-rise towers in the direct vicinity of the eastern main entrance are to be station landmarks visible far and wide. Meanwhile, on the western side the existing commercial structure are intended to be, at best, augmented by densification. This has by no means pleased everyone. The area around Schützenstraße/ Leunastraße is dominated by rather dilapidated commercial buildings. Currently, some spaces have become vacant. But this seems to have caused further building progress to falter. For other properties, preliminary building permits are in place, but construction work has not commenced up to now, due to a lack of interest from suitable commercial enterprises. In difficult economic times, even close proximity to the new station is not necessarily enough to convince potential occupiers.

The station is now due to open in 2027. One-and-a-half kilometres to the south, residents of the completed first construction phase of the Neu Mitte will have to continue living with squeaky curve (an ageing curved section of the elevated railway) until then. Only after the opening of the the new station can the second construction phase construction phase of the Neue Mitte proceed on the vacated station site. Then perhaps at some stage building work can also commence on the Holsten Areal, purchased by the Danish Carlsberg concern in 2016. However, for reasons well-known to all, the current owner - Adler group - will presumably no longer be involved. In the accounts, the areal - on which the stakes have been pretty high in recent years - is allegedly valued at € 340 million. until then, pupils of the directly adjoining school in Haubachstraße will also have to continue living in the middle of the construction site. A seemingly "never ending story".    

Michael Witt

P. S. Interested in a business location in the short distance to the new station Diebsteich? Perhaps, we can help, please call us.

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