Commerz Real Picks Up $174M Office Project for Real Estate Fund in Germany

Commerz Real has signed an acquisition agreement for a 230,000-square-foot office space in Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, for $174 million on behalf of its open-ended real estate fund.

Neue Direktion

Commerz Real, a fully-owned subsidiary of Commerz Bank AG, has signed an acquisition agreement with HOCHTIEF Projektentwicklung for the Neue Direktion Köln (New Direction Cologne) project located in Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city. Commerz Real made the acquisition on behalf of its open-ended real estate fund hausinvest, investing around $174.2 million (€128 million). The transaction was handled by Colliers International Deutschland.

The property, currently undergoing a massive redevelopment process, is expected to offer 230,347 square feet of office space upon its completion in early 2016. The asset is 100 percent pre-leased by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for a 20-year term, expected to set up its headquarters on location by spring 2016. The European Parliament-controlled agency also has a renewal option on the space.

Neue Direktion Köln is the redevelopment of the historic 1913-built former administrative headquarters of the Cologne Railway Authority (Eisenbahndirektion Köln). Kicked off in early 2013 by HOCHTIEF Projektentwicklung subsidiary HOCHTIEF Projektentwicklung Gmbh Niederlassung Rhein-Ruhr, the riverfront development has already started the complete gutting of the structure to make way for state-of-the-art office space. Certain historical details of the building will be preserved, such as select staircases and lobbies, as well three of the building’s neoclassical facades, including the Rheinuferstrasse frontage. The project will also be expanded with three modern recessed floors on top of the building with wrap-around terraces, evocative of the building’s stunning mansard roof that was never restored after suffering extensive damage during World War. A fourth set back story will be located atop the central entrance portal and will mark the building’s highest point. An underground facility will provide 120 parking spaces.

Neue Direktion Köln’s design is acclaimed not only for enriching Cologne’s skyline and successfully combining historic and modern features, but also for its sustainability – the project is German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) Silver pre-certified and is targeting a full Silver certification upon completion. The development was designed by German architectural firms kadawittfeldarchitektur and Acrhitektbürö Graf & Graf. The firms received the assignment after winning an anonymous design competition for the project in 2012.

Centrally located in Cologne, on the Rhein’s west bank, Neue Direktion Köln is within walking distance of old town Cologne’s and the CBD’s shopping and dining, as well as the main railway station which offers direct lines to three major international airports. The project also has easy access to the city’s highway belt.

Commerz Real is a fully-owned subsidiary of Commerz Bank AG and handles services such as asset management, fund products such as bespoke financing solutions, equity investment in real estate, regenerative energy, aircraft and ships. Commerz Real is also the leasing company of Commerzbank Group.

Commerz Real’s open-ended real estate fund hausinvest, established in 1972, is one of the largest in Europe. It consists of more than 100 commercial real estate assets in 17 different countries and is comprised of nearly 60 percent office assets, 30 percent retail assets , tourist and business hotels and logistics centers located in close proximity to international transportation hubs.