Zurich Gruppe Deutschland signs lease for MesseCity Cologne

Insurance Group merges Cologne and Bonn offices and moves to Köln-Deutz

Project developed by STRABAG Real Estate and ECE enters realization phase

Construction may still start in 2016

Zurich Gruppe Deutschland will move its Rhineland head office to MesseCity Cologne, a project developed by STRABAG Real Estate (SRE) and ECE Projektmanagement. The lease was signed today by Marcus Nagel, CEO of Zurich Gruppe Deutschland, Horst Nussbaumer, Member of the Board of Zurich, Rainer M. Schäfer, Regional Director for Cologne of SRE, and Torsten Kuttig, Director Development ECE in the presence of Henriette Reker, Lady Mayor of Cologne, Ute Berg, Head of the Department for Economic Development and Real Property, and Franz-Josef Höing, Head of the Department for Urban Development, Planning, Building and Transport. The project will now enter the construction phase. The insurance group will move into three buildings of the west part of MesseCity, which include a 60 meter tower. A total of 2,700 employees will work at Zurich’s new head office on a leasable area of 60,000 m².

The signed lease marks the entry into the next development stage for the major project MesseCity. The closing of the land purchase agreement between the project partners SRE and ECE is expected to commence in the next few days.

The building permit application will be prepared and submitted in the coming months. Subject to a quick permission process, closely supported by the City of Cologne, construction is expected to start in 2016 with the digging of the excavation pit. The first preparatory construction work on the MesseCity site had already started in February. The completion of the first building is expected for the end of 2019. The construction of the Zurich Group building and the underground car park in the western part of the property, with 600 of the 1,000 parking spaces for MesseCity, will commence simultaneously. SRE and ECE will also hold talks with further potential tenants during the preparation of the building permit application. The companies are in advanced talks with two hotel operators.

A competition to design the facade of the project took place in March before the signing of the lease by Zurich Gruppe Deutschland. Designs by the architectural offices of KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten (Brunswick), gmp von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (Hamburg), Max Dudler Architekt (Berlin) as well as Ortner & Ortner Baukunst (Cologne/Berlin) were selected for the property. The facade for western part of the major project, which will be rented by Zurich, will be designed by KSP. The facade of the planned hotel in the center of the quarter will be designed by gmp, the facade of the planned high-rise will be designed by Max Dudler. The concept by Ortner & Ortner will be used for the eastern complex of MesseCity.

SRE and ECE are developing MesseCity Cologne with a floor area of 135,000 m² on a site totaling 5.4 ha, which is located in the Cologne district of Deutz on the right side of the Rhine. The area is intended to be a vivid place with different buildings and the opportunity to turn the district into a prime address. Six buildings with 7 to 16 stories will be built between the south entrance of koelnmesse and the ICE Railway Station Deutz. They will accommodate offices, hotels, restaurants, small retailers, local suppliers for the quarter, and conceivably a cinema. The buildings of MesseCity Cologne will be set around the central “Messebalkon”, which will become the new focal point of the quarter. The new urban district in the middle of Cologne will have a high dwell quality due to the heterogeneous mix of building sizes, building types, and many green areas.