“3 Questions for…”: Anna Laura Riemann – Portfolio Manager Leasing

“3 Questions for…”: Anna Laura Riemann – Portfolio Manager Leasing 2560 1440 Südliches Überseequartier

In our series “3 Questions for…” we talk to people who are actively involved in the realization of Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier. An important aspect of this is the leasing of the retail, gastronomy and leisure areas in the new quarter directly on the banks of river Elbe. That’s why we spoke to Anna Laura Riemann, Portfolio Leasing Manager at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) and responsible for Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier.

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly thrown one or two plans into disarray. What is the current status with regard to leasing at Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier?

Anna Laura Riemann Portfolio Manager Leasing bei Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Anna Laura Riemann
Portfolio Manager Leasing

Our plans in leasing have not been thrown into disarray. We remain fully convinced of our strategy. We will offer a finely tuned mix of local, national, and international brands, rely on attractive flagship stores, install innovative concepts developed individually with partners, and also a broad selection of gastronomy and leisure offerings that will attract visitors from Hamburg, but also from the entire metropolitan region. Although there is still some time until the opening in fall 2023, we have already brought a range of partners from the retail and leisure sectors on board. In these admittedly difficult times, this is a great signal not only for us, but also for the city of Hamburg and the entire retail real estate industry. The situation in the sector is very serious, many retailers and companies in the food & beverage and leisure sectors are struggling with major problems, but the crisis will ease at some point, hopefully as soon as possible, and at the latest then the time will have come to look to the future together. Many retailers are already doing that.

At the same time, we are conducting many intensive and successful discussions in all directions and with a view to the various types of usages. This is perhaps also one of the few positive effects of the Corona pandemic: it has increasingly set creative, transformational processes in motion. Retailers and brands want to break new ground, shopping and leisure attractions are being developed further, customized concepts adapted to the location are being designed, omnichannel platforms are becoming increasingly important, and the major trends in society are becoming more and more incisive. This also presents an opportunity to attract new, exciting partners to Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier.

In our discussions, we also notice that interest in the project remains high. Most market participants understand that the quarter – despite or especially against the backdrop of the Corona crisis – will be a prime example of a place where retail, gastronomy, leisure concepts, hotels and offices will have the highest attractiveness as well as the greatest success in the long term. The location directly on river Elbe and the already good infrastructural embedding with subway and bus lines are also a big plus for many of our contacts. We are shaping the future of the industry here, the future of modern urbanity. Our interlocutors know that, too.

What makes Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier so unique for you?

To answer that, I would like to come back to the major trends in society that I had already briefly mentioned. These can be summarized in three blocks: experience-oriented gastronomy, plus leisure, culture and entertainment, as well as health, fitness and well-being. We therefore interlock retail very closely with diverse and numerous gastronomy and leisure offerings. This is one of the defining features of the entire project and is what makes Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier so special and unique in Germany – and, to be honest, even in the whole of Europe. This set-up is based on the conviction that visitors to Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier will come for the exciting overall package. After all, in addition to retail, they can expect more than 40 food & beverage concepts, which we have divided into three clusters: from the lively urban neighborhood with national and international concepts for the entire course of the day to a cluster for authentic local street food and the spectacular waterfront promenade with exquisite à la carte restaurants. There’s more than one option for every taste and occasion.

And the other two trends: What leisure or health offers can visitors look forward to?

Basically, this topic is nothing new at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield: We have been focusing on a high leisure and experience value for our destinations from an early stage. We want our guests to enjoy spending their free time at our locations, meeting people, experiencing something, eating delicious food, having fun. In other words, they should also be able to do all the things that are currently not possible as usual due to the Corona crisis – but which people are eagerly wishing for back. We have the impression that the lively encounter with other people is what people are currently missing the most. This is precisely where our concept for Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier comes in, and now, with the current experience, it only makes more sense.

As far as leisure is concerned, the multiplex cinema, for example, is an important element: It will probably be one of the most attractive in all of northern Germany, with exciting interior design by Chapman Taylor, state-of-the-art technology and the appropriate gastronomy in the immediate vicinity. In addition, there will also be a leisure and adventure attraction for the whole family and also an extraordinary concept in the field of art, edutainment, culture. Furthermore, there will be various offers in the digital sphere, focusing on topics such as e-gaming or concepts in the field of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Credit: © moka-studio

The other important component is health / fitness / beauty. Especially personal, physical well-being, long-term health, balanced nutrition or a sustainable lifestyle have gained considerably in importance in recent years. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this higher mindfulness among people has increased even more. A mix of sports, fitness, lifestyle offers, but also medical practices and health and beauty services are therefore planned in the quarter. These building blocks will be complemented by suitable healthy and sustainable gastronomy providers as well as concepts from the sports and fitness retail sector.

So I can promise: The tenant, brand and offer mix at Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier will be exceptional and also exceptionally good. The quarter’s interplay with the other usages – offices, apartments, hotels and terminal – will set new standards in our industry. We are fully convinced that we are creating a pulsating place of the future here – and right by the water.