Europacity – the innovative and modern Berlin
Numerous big companies have relocated to Europacity. We spoke to three about their experiences and expectations. They all agree: Europacity offers the right conditions for the success of their businesses.
Impressive architecture, modern office space, lively public squares and landscaped outdoor areas – tenants understand the appeal of Europacity. Prominent companies to move here include Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB), the auditing firm KPMG and the global software giant SAP, and they have secured tens of thousands of square metres of office space.
For Thomas Löhmer, a partner at KPMG and head of infrastructure, renting office space is all about timing. "If you come too early, you risk spending years working on a building site – but if you come too late, you might find there's no office space left to rent." Löhmer says the company chose the right time to move to Europacity. In 2018, they moved into a 12,000 square metre office space at 58 Heidestrasse, in a building developed by CA Immo. Then in 2019, the company signed an additional lease for 22,000 square metres in the 84-metre-high tower on Europaplatz, which CA Immo is also developing. With these two sites and two smaller ones, KPMG will have a total of 40,000 square metres of office space in Europacity. "We will consolidate all our Berlin operations here," says Löhmer, "creating a campus atmosphere for our employees."
This amount of leased space will make KPMG one of the largest tenants in Europacity – a place that leading real estate consultancies already consider one of the capital's most important office locations due to its central location, proximity to the main station, and availability of modern office buildings. "At KPMG, it's important for us to provide our employees with modern work environments that meet the latest standards, particularly with regard to digitalisation and sustainability," explains Michael Salcher, Regional Director East KPMG. He adds that Europacity offers the best options for KPMG, and the location has excellent connections to local and long-distance public transport.
Dr Martin Heinig, Head of New Ventures & Technologies and Managing Director of SAP Labs Berlin, shares a similar view. "This new location in the city centre, close to the main station, will allow us to create a digital, future-proof work environment that will inspire our employees, customers and partners," says Heinig. SAP has secured around 37,000 square metres of office space in the A-D building sections of QH Track in Quartier Heidestrasse, a quarter being developed by Taurecon. They expect to move in by April 2023. Unlike KPMG, however, the software company will continue to maintain offices at other locations in and around Berlin.
According to Heinig, Europacity is "an inspiring place that fosters innovative thinking, with space for exchanging ideas and for networking. Because of this, interacting with this ecosystem and, by extension, other innovative companies is sure to stimulate new ideas and ways of thinking. And we look forward to that." Equally important, according to Heinig, is that the location will help attract talent. Though SAP employees can work in the office, at home or on the move, Heinig says the new location will "provide wonderful opportunities for employees to interact and collaborate with others while still staying focused – the office concept will ensure that."
Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB) holds a similar view. In 2026, DKB expects to take up around 35,000 square metres of office space in Upbeat, a stepped high-rise complex up to 82 metres in height at Nordhafen that CA Immo is developing. "Designed as a technologically sophisticated, smart and sustainable building, the DKB Campus will provide many opportunities for modern, flexible space concepts," says Alexander Hufnagl, Project Manager at DKB. He also notes that the building's designers Kleihues + Kleihues have created "a stylish yet restrained architecture that fits well with DKB."
According to Hufnagl, Europacity's central location, good accessibility and "opportunity to work with the other tenants and owners to help shape the quarter were decisive factors in choosing the location. A lot is going on here, and that's exciting." And for Hufnagl, the buildings and the outdoor spaces need to produce high amenity values to bring employees back to the office after the coronavirus pandemic. "But we are absolutely convinced," says Hufnagl, "Europacity will successfully deliver on this."
However, according to KPMG's regional director Michael Salcher, Europacity is "not as attractive as it should be, as many quarters have not yet been completed." Salcher would like to see "a little more urban atmosphere – a greater sense of being in the city."
He would also like a greater variety of restaurants and other entertainment options such as venues where people can socialise." Nonetheless, he is confident the positive development he has already witnessed is bound to continue.
KPMG Partner Thomas Löhmer understands that a new district takes time to develop. Löhmer is convinced that "Europacity will continue to evolve with more and more opportunities for shopping and dining." He says even Hamburg's HafenCity had its initial difficulties before developing into the epitome of urban living.
Berlin urban atmosphere and lifestyle.
As far as further development is concerned, the major tenants have specific requests and suggestions. KPMG is particularly concerned about the design of Europaplatz, which currently functions mainly as a bus station. "For us," says Löhmer, "this area must be made more attractive." DKB's Alexander Hufnagl stresses the importance of transport links and welcomes the new S21 suburban line and Perleberger Brücke train station, which will provide excellent connections to the DKB Campus.
"In the future," adds Hufnagl, "we would also like to see more cultural and social opportunities, further enhancing our employees' work environment. This would also foster a high level of neighbourhood identification among users and residents, raising the district's profile and boosting its overall image."
Iris Seute, Director Strategic Infrastructure SAP Labs Berlin, would like to see a "coherent transport concept – the location's success is dependent on it." Specifically, she mentions the expansion of the S-Bahn network, the autonomous shuttle bus service, electric scooters, and other innovative, sustainable transport connections between the future SAP offices and the main station.
Although the major office tenants still see the need for further improvements, they all agree that locating to Europacity was the right decision. "We already feel at home here," says Iris Seute. According to Alexander Hufnagl, DKB is "looking forward to working in the heart of Berlin, in a vibrant mixed-use quarter that offers a range of services conducive to networking and encounters." And Michael Salcher from KPMG is convinced that "a piece of modern Berlin is being created here."
We will consolidate
all our Berlin operations here,
creating a campus atmosphere
for our employees.
Partner KPMG, Germany
It's important for us to provide
our employees with modern
work environments, particularly
with regard to digitalisation and sustainability.
Managing Partner and Head of Energy & Natural Resources at KPMG Germany
Europacity offers the opportunity to work with the other tenants and owners to help shape the quarter.
Project Manager DKB
This new location will allow us to
create a digital, future-proof work environment.
Dr. Martin Heinig
Head of New Ventures & Technologies and Managing Director SAP Labs Berlin