Deutsche Finance International and Cells Group acquire office repositioning opportunity in Hamburg city centre

Deutsche Finance International (DFI), a pan-European private equity real estate investor specialising in customer-centric real estate and part of the Deutsche Finance Group which manages over EUR7.7 billion of assets, has acquired Holstenwall 20-22, a vacant value-add office opportunity comprising two buildings in the centre of Hamburg, Germany from the International Campus Group which was advised by Colliers International Hamburg on the sell side.  

DFI intends to fully redevelop the asset and deliver a prime new workspace into a market where the existing constrained supply of grade A offices is expected to be further exacerbated by increased occupier demand for the highest quality space post pandemic.  

The transaction has been undertaken on behalf of DFI’s pan-European Value Add Fund in partnership with CELLS Group, a leading German real estate development, asset management and investment company. The partnership is actively pursuing similar value add opportunities across Germany, primarily focused on office and mixed-use assets in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. 

The investment decision is underpinned by DFI’s confidence in the both fundamentals of the Hamburg market, where grade A office vacancy reached an all-time low of 1 per cent in 2019, and a strong conviction that offices will continue to be a critical element of corporate culture. DFI believes that post-pandemic occupiers will be even more discerning in their choice of office with a more concentrated focus on high quality flexible space, services and amenities, as well as buildings that have the best technology, sustainability and wellbeing credentials. The DFI and CELLS Group partnership intends to fully refurbish, modernise and potentially extend the two existing buildings. 

The asset is located on the cityring right at the corner of the CBD and St Pauli and is located directly opposite the Große Wallanlagen, one of a series of connected green parks running through the centre of Hamburg as well as being a short walk from the River Elbe. This is a well-connected and increasingly attractive area for occupiers in the centre of Hamburg served by a wide range of public transportation such as subway (U-Bahn) and train stations (S-Bahn). Formerly functioning as the headquarters of the local bank Hamburg Sparkasse, the property is now vacant and comprises approximately 9,000 sq m of space across seven storeys, together with 97 parking spaces in a three-level underground garage. 

Gavin Neilan, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner at DFI, comments: “We believe that offices will continue to be a critical element of corporate culture and anticipate that, as we emerge from this pandemic, there will be a flight to quality from tenants and investors, where customer-focused operational excellence will also win out. We have high conviction in the long-term fundamentals of the German and Hamburg market and have been able to unlock this attractive value add opportunity leveraging our local presence and long-term relationship with Cells Group.” 

Daniel Filser, responsible for German investments at DFI, comments: “We are excited to have acquired a prime value add asset in one of the most sought after and stable office markets in Germany. In the coming years, we will look to reposition this vacant property into a grade A offering with enhanced efficiency and density in a structurally undersupplied office market.” 

Dirk Ruppert, CIO at Cells Group, comments: “We are delighted to have completed this acquisition together with DFI and look forward to redeveloping this property into an attractive prime asset for its future occupiers. Cells continues to believe in the demand and dynamics of inner-city location of the big metropolitan areas in Germany and we are working with DFI to identify further value-add investment opportunities in the course of this year.”