Bremen – New and Existing Developments a Magnet for Foreign Investment

Bremen is on the up. The federal state in northern Germany, home to 670,000 people, is undergoing a major transition. A host of construction projects, including some in Bremen’s historical centre, are visibly changing the face of the region, and this is proving to be a magnet for investors from abroad.

December 2018

Cargo Distribution Center (GVZ)

Bremen’s Cargo Distribution Center (GVZ) is one of the developments that has secured foreign investment. The GVZ occupies second place in the European ranking of cargo distribution centres, which is good news both for the logistics firms that are based there and for investors in the site. Among the latter is the Swiss Profond investment foundation, which purchased 17 hectares of land at the GVZ and subsequently exercised options on a further five hectares. A number of international logistics firms are based within this area.

“What we particularly like about the city of Bremen is its excellent infrastructure, its pro-business climate, and its proximity to the ports and to universities and research institutes,” says Profond’s Michael Zilkens. “As an investment foundation, we are entrusted with investing Profond’s pension assets in projects that will not only offer a return but are also, and most importantly, sustainable.”

The GVZ’s strategically favourable location close to ports, the airport and the motorway – perfect for logistics – was one of the main factors behind Profond’s decision to invest. “I would also highlight our relationship with the regional development agency and the local authorities, which is based on a spirit of partnership and continuity,” says Zilkens.

Bremen, after all, is a hub for international logistics routes: it is centrally located within Europe, with great connections by sea, land and air. The port of Bremerhaven, which is part of the Bremen region, is home to the fourth-largest container terminal in Europe, and the logistics infrastructure that has been built up around this is second to none. Whether by road or rail, it’s just a short trip from here to Amsterdam, Hamburg or Berlin.

Aerial view of Bremen’s Cargo Distribution Center © Bremeninvest/Christian Ring

Urban development

Profond’s investment in the GVZ shows that the market for commercial space and real estate in Bremen is on the up. The figures speak for themselves and demonstrate why Bremen is so popular with investors: the vacancy rate for office space stands at just 3 per cent, take-up in the logistics sector is nearing 200,000 square metres, and the annual volume of transactions amounts to €450 million.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Bremen city centre, where more than €1 billion of private funds is being invested in developments. Prominent among these developments is Citygate Bremen, a complex which will provide more than 12,000 square metres of usable space, right by the main train station. Foreign investors are also funding the development of the former head office of a Bremen bank in the heart of the city, and more than 10,000 square metres of usable space will be added by new buildings at other sites. And in Bremen’s newest district, Überseestadt, a completely new quarter is being created, called Überseeinsel. Apartments, commercial space and car parks are being built on a 15-hectare site, just two kilometres from the city centre, that was once occupied by a cereal manufacturer. Sustainable homes and innovative traffic schemes will be a particular focus here.

“Bremen’s investment market benefits from the capital markets being under pressure to invest,” says Andreas Heyer, CEO of Bremeninvest. “The performance of the various market segments ranges from stable to very good, demonstrating that Bremen continues to be an extremely attractive investment location for international investors.”

Bremen is Germany’s sixth-largest industrial hub and specialises in logistics, automotive manufacturing, aerospace, the maritime sector and wind energy. Its dynamism is reflected in the fact that its economy expanded by 3.3 per cent in 2017, higher than any other federal state in Germany.