expo real: where investors and ideas meet
Moscow is 42 steps away, Copenhagen just round the corner, and, somewhere in between the two, the Aachen Region. The place is packed with 43,000 visitors from around the world, all scouting for real estate projects to invest in or partners to team up with. We're talking about the "Expo Real" in Munich. This year, once again, local players were at the trade fair to promote property developments in the Aachen city region and the districts of Düren, Euskirchen and Heinsberg as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the market for commercial and residential real estate, Munich in October is the only place to be.
25 regional project developers, investors, architects, trade and industry promoters and municipal representatives from the Meuse-Rhine Euregio had joined forces in a consortium to present current projects and collaborate on developing new ideas. Surrounded by more than 2,000 other exhibitors, they succeeded in attracting attention through the vibrant green collective booth "aachen 1a" and its catchy motto, "Aachen: Three Countries – One Location". "Commerce, housing and logistics are the topics of our region in Munich," said Fritz Rötting, Director of the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), who was once again instrumental in bringing the partners and their projects together for this year's fair.
And – in spite of the fierce international competition – these projects certainly earned the attention. "The fact that we are here with over 20 mayors, the city region councillor, district executives and leading figures from the real estate sector shows that our region has enormous potential. And we're really playing this card to maximum effect," said IHK President Wolfgang Mainz.
As Fritz Rötting explained, a noticeable change is taking place, not only at the "Expo Real" but also in the developments in the Euregio." At the present time, the worlds of living and working are merging closer together. Residential properties are playing an increasingly larger role at the fair, he said. Many of the projects are about mixes of office and commercial spaces, apartments and amenities like daycare centres.
The very latest example of this trend – construction work has just begun – is Landmarken AG's grand project at Aachen's Theaterplatz. Currently, on what is certainly the city's most prominent building site, the foundations are being prepared for the "Motel One" hotel with its nearly 260 rooms. The complex will later also include the boarding and apartment house "We Partment – Leben am Elisengarten" as well as the "Bankhaus am Theater" – including space for catering and retail businesses. According to Landmarken AG, the foundation stone will be laid by the end of this year, and all projects will be completed by 2020.
In terms of storage and production areas in the Aachen city area, however, available space is becoming increasingly harder to find – as the Initiative Aachen's new commercial rent guidelines also confirms. "This is why we also have to turn our eyes to the surrounding region. There's definite potential out there for collaborative development. But it will require us to agree on a shared vision," said Aachen's Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp. In the meantime, requests from the large-scale logistics sector are being forwarded to the city region. One option would be a commercial usage land pool for the whole city region. "Five years ago, any further intermunicipal development would still have been out of the question. But if you look at all that's happening with lignite coal, it's obvious that we have to react promptly and quickly if we want to be capable of taking effective action. And it doesn't help if each municipality is doing its own thing," City Region Councillor Helmut Etschenberg agreed.
On the other hand, a lot is happening in the Euregio, as clearly demonstrated by the booth partners in Munich. The Sparkassen Immobilien GmbH, for example, is planning lakeside settlements of detached houses and apartment buildings at the Alsdorfer Weiher. "This marks a further step away from Alsdorf's old image as a mining town. And it also increases available housing within the city region with excellent travel connections to Aachen's city centre," Alfred Sonders, Mayor of the City of Alsdorf, explained.
Another response to the structural change in Rhineland's opencast mining area is "Brainergy Park Jülich", a project for which Düren's district executive Wolfgang Spelthahn, trade and industry promoter Anette Winkler and Frank Drewes, director of the company Entwicklungsgesellschaft Merscher Höhe were busy recruiting investors at the trade fair in Munich. The plan is to create an intermunicipal business park belonging to the partner municipalities Jülich, Niederzier and Titz. The park's main focus will be on the energy revolution. "So what we are creating is a business park of the future where companies will not only find perfect operating conditions but also be able to pursue research into topics like New Energies," said Frank Drewes.
There are dozens of projects that really stand out – even on the international level that Europe's largest trade fair for property and investment represents. The players from the Euregio successfully set the course for the coming years. And all that on a modest, 110-square-metre booth – somewhere between Moscow and Copenhagen.
The partners at the collective booth "aachen 1a"
At the "Expo Real" 2018, the following players from our region were represented in Munich:
• (AC) Aachener Immobilien Gesellschaft mbH
• AGIT Aachener Gesellschaft für Innovation und Technologietransfer mbH
• Gemeente Vaals
• Immobilienkanzlei Zimmermann
• Industrie- und Handelskammer Aachen
• kadawittfeldarchitektur GmbH
• Kempen Krause Ingenieure GmbH
• Kreis Düren
• Kreis Euskirchen
• Landmarken AG
• nesseler grünzig gruppe
• Parkstad Limburg
• REAQ Immobilien GmbH
• RWTH Aachen Campus GmbH
• S-Immobilien GmbH
• Sparkasse Düren
• Sparkassen Immobilien GmbH
• SPI AGENCE DE DEVELOPPEMENT POUR LA PROVINCE DE LIEGE
• Stadt Aachen
• StädteRegion Aachen
• Unternehmensgruppe Frauenrath
• Unternehmensgruppe DERICHS u KONERTZ
• VALERES Industriebau GmbH
• Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft für den Kreis Heinsberg mbH
A mix of rental and freehold apartments as well as a day care centre: the Aachen company "DERICHS u KONERTZ" will be presenting its project "Campus Wohnen" in Munich. Photo "DERICHS u KONERTZ"