Redevelopment as an expansion model

Redeveloping properties and sites in the Ruhr Metropolis revitalises city centres and creates jobs.

The Ruhr Metropolis has many disused commercial properties, production plants and brownfield sites. Local property developers have a great deal of experience in redeveloping them and giving them a new lease of life. After all, with five million inhabitants and 155,000 companies, the City of Cities needs space, so it seems only natural to redevelop, renovate and restore disused sites and empty buildings to create retail, commercial and logistics space and housing.

This redevelopment is an appealing playground for investors. Ralf Kruse, for instance, managing partner of ImmoRaising Capital Partners GmbH, is an expert in this field. ‘The Ruhr region is still undervalued. Even though we are the biggest city in Germany, property here doesn’t command the same prices as in other metropolitan regions such as Munich or Berlin,’ says Kruse.

There are plenty of examples of successful redevelopment and reutilisation projects in the region: the site of a former steelworks in Dortmund, for instance, is now being used for expansion by the sports retailer Decathlon. The company has invested 26 million euros in the location and 700 employees will soon start working in its new logistics centre.

Another 1,500 people are set to work on the site of the former Opel plant in Bochum at the end of 2019. ‘Mark 51°7’ is the name of the 68-hectare site, where coal was once mined in the 18th century long before the Opel era. Now companies with an interest in a connected and flexible culture of industry, research and education are moving in here.

One successful example of cultural reutilisation is the Colosseum Theatre in Essen. Formerly a huge workshop owned by Krupp, it is now one of the most popular theatres in the City of Cities. Also in Essen, the former Ruhrgas headquarters has been redeveloped and remarketed. Today’s ‘Ruhrturm’ houses a hotel, various departments of a retail company and a large conference area.

Investment to the tune of 80 million euros brings new opportunities to Bottrop

‘Turning old into new’ is the remit for those redeveloping an ageing shopping centre in Bottrop city centre. It stood empty for a long time, but the building is now set to be given a new lease of life. ImmoRaising Capital Partners is working on the project with the Cosimo Investment Group, which specialises in the development of urban residential and commercial properties. They are both responsible for the reopening of the Hansa Center and expect to invest a total of around 80 million euros in it. Kruse predicts that the project will revitalise the entire city centre. ‘Bottrop has been slack for quite some time when it comes to city shopping and has been waiting for something exciting to finally happen in this sector. The new Hansa Center will be at the heart of the city. And its central location will join up the city centre to form one core zone. That is almost unique,’ says an enthusiastic Kruse.

Investors are creating a culture of redevelopment

‘The future lies in redeveloping existing buildings in a way that is both sustainable and easy on resources,’ says a convinced Timm Sassen, managing director of Essen-based Greyfield Holding GmbH. His company specialises in the renovation, conversion and redevelopment of properties and sites. He says that redevelopment is often much more sustainable and much more sensible from an energy efficiency perspective than demolishing property and rebuilding on the site. For example, Sassen has transformed the halls of a former DIY superstore in Gelsenkirchen into a fitness studio while also housing a warehouse logistics company on the same site. ‘Redevelopment generates big opportunities in the Ruhr Metropolis in particular, because it creates completely new expansion possibilities in view of the existing lack of undeveloped land,’ says Sassen in summary.