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Lively diversity

Work at Kolbenhöfe is starting again

With the refurbishment of Hall 7, Rheinmetall Immobiliengesellschaft (RIG) has reached an important milestone in the Kolbenhöfe real estate project in Ottensen in Hamburg. At the former Kolbenschmidt production plant, the Kolbenwerk eG companies have set up their workshops and offices and commenced work.

The first major part of the RIG development project was completed with the handover of Hall 7 an the former Kolbenschmidt production site. With the companies moving in, the prerequisite has been met to start with the construction of residential and office buildings in the Kolbenhöfe district by mid-2020 at the latest.

The Kolbenhöfe real estate project is a special RIG construction project that will be implemented in Hamburg over the next few years. Housing in close proximity to small local businesses is the idea behind the development project. It therefore fits perfectly into the lively Hamburg district of Ottensen. By 2027, a total of around 675 residential units will be built, of which around 225 will be subsidised in line with the Hamburg "Drittelmix" concept (in which a third of the residential units are each intended for publicly subsidised rental apartments, privately financed rental apartments and owner-occupied apartments in order to achieved mixed occupancy from the outset) as well as around 20,000 m² of commercial space.

Companies are owners of their workshops

At the end of 2017, the local Kolbenwerk eG companies acquired Hall 7 from RIG. Two years later they started their work in the renovated hall. The former temporary solution in the legacy of the Kolbenschmidt plant in the Ottensen district has become a respectable permanent solution. The companies have founded their own cooperative and are now both owners and users of the property. Metalsmiths, carpenters and mechanics have been working there hand in hand since mid-April, and it is not only the tradesmen as new owners who are satisfied with what they have achieved. The move in is a sign of special success for all those involved in the project.

Considerable construction work

Holger Gradzielski, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Immobilien GmbH: "We spared no effort for the crafts businesses. What was originally planned as a minor refurbishment, in the end resulted in considerable construction work, right up to a completely new extension. The result shows we made the right choice as our commitment to this project will be rewarded with significant support from the entire environment – especially politics – for our further construction planning".

About the Kolbenhöfe project

The Kolbenhöfe real estate project is a Rheinmetall Immobilien GmbH (RIG) development and construction project that will be implemented in Hamburg over the next few years. Following the closure of the Kolbenschmidt plant in 2009, RIG assumed responsibility for the property. The name Kolbenhöfe derives from the former piston production (Kolbenproduktion) there. An innovative concept that combines different forms of use on one site is the idea behind the project. In 2018, RIG founded a joint venture with the construction company Otto Wulff for the Kolbenhöfe project. Since then, the partners have been working together to develop and build on the site. By 2023, around 420 residential units will be built at Friedensallee 128, 140 of which are publicly subsidised in line with the Hamburg "Drittelmix". In addition, there will be around 255 apartments on the neighbouring Henkel-Schwarzkopf site on Hohenzollernring, which is scheduled for completion by 2027. This part of Kolbenhöfe will also be implemented in line with the Hamburg "Drittelmix".

What the Kolbenhöfe project stands for

The Kolbenhöfe project is ground-breaking – and not just in Hamburg – because innovative urban development is an increasingly important topic facing cities around the world. Kolbenhöfe in Hamburg is regarded as a successful example of modern inner-city infill development. The architecture combines urban life with a certain liveliness that is characteristic of the Ottensen district.

Industrial history

Norddeutsche Leichtmetall- und Kolbenwerke GmbH (Noleiko) began manufacturing aircraft engines and aluminium castings in 1935 at today's Kolbenhöfe site in Hamburg. Noleiko was managed by Karl Schmidt GmbH. The company later took over Kolbenschmidt GmbH. Initially it produced aircraft and ship pistons. It was not until the 1980s that the supplier specialised in passenger car pistons and piston pins. Six years later, the supplier was taken over by Rheinmetall.

In 2009, the crisis hit the automotive industry. It was the end for the Kolbenschmidt plant in Hamburg. As a result, numerous jobs were lost and the entire production was relocated to Neckarsulm.

Following the closure of the site, Rheinmetall Immobilien GmbH assumed responsibility for the property in 2011. Step by step, RIG has press ahead with a cautious new development of the site.

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