Client story

WOODIE.Hamburg: A Unique Architectural Gem With Exceptional Returns

MIPIM 2019 award-winning student accommodation complex - with innovative sustainable construction method - finds a new buyer within only eight months and exceeds profit forecasts.




May to December 2017


371 prefabricated residential modules

Hamburg's harbour is not only Germany's gateway to the world, but also a source of inspiration: above all, it was the image of the ubiquitous stacks of containers that the architects from Sauerbruch Hutton visualised when they were planning one of Hamburg's new and unique architectural projects: WOODIE.Hamburg. Each of the 371 student flats in the seven-storey building takes the form of a container, one that holds everything a young person needs for student living. But the architects also created a distinct contrast to the 'cold-metal' atmosphere of a harbour. The modules and fixtures are in blonde timbers throughout - pine, larch and spruce - with a rubber floor. They are entirely prefabricated in Styria, Austria, and simply stacked up on site like blocks of Lego. That's what makes them naturally liveable, healthy and sustainable. This quality of sustainability also extends to the project as an investment property, because the innovative construction method allows a flexible layout and hence a variety of other uses. All in all, WOODIE.Hamburg has clearly earned the acclaim it has garnered, winning the Universal Design Award, Hamburg's "Wohnbaupreis" for residential construction, and the Immobilien Manager Award. Additionally, the student residence WOODIE.Hamburg prevailed against international competition at the MIPIM Awards 2019 and won first place the category living.

How we worked together

"A project properly structured around demand as the key to success!"

Susanne Gentz, Senior Team Leader Residential Investment Hamburg, JLL

The vendors, PRIMUS developments and Senectus Capital from Hamburg, had originally planned to keep the prize-winning property in their portfolio. But the favourable market and an imminent loan extension raised the question of the potential for achieving a good selling price. There were scarcely any comparable sales to consider; after all, WOODIE.Hamburg is - as yet - a prototype in its construction and flexibility of use. Other challenges: the location in the up-and-coming, but not yet established, residential area of Wilhelmsburg, and fire and noise protection systems that require some explanation. 

The first step was extensive consultation in relation to the price structure and the opportunities provided by a structured marketing process. It was important to align the sales strategy clearly towards a purely residential product, with a focus on student flats and living space rental agreements (no operator or leasehold agreement), the minimum term of which was 12 months.

Both prior to the sales process and at the start, it was critical to present the special WOODIE.Hamburg construction method in as much detail as possible, while still making it quick and easy to grasp, and to make this information available to interested parties - always in close, direct consultation with our principal. There were two strategies that achieved a positive effect in preliminary discussions and viewings and provided a good basis for successful negotiations. First, there was the film we produced about the architecture, materials, sustainability and flexibility. The second was the personal presence of the architects and developers at each of the on-site meetings organised by us - authentic and perfectly suited to answer expert technical questions directly and comprehensively. 

This personal approach and the targeted marketing focusing on the construction method, location and residential use sold the - German as well as predominantly British - investors on the project's potential as an investment property and on the young, up-and-coming district. The clear structuring of the project as a residential investment product, mainly in the case of more conservatively oriented investors, was considered an important decision-making criterion. 


Thanks to a streamlined and efficient process, the sale was wrapped up after only eight months - as befits the sensationally quick construction time of the building itself. In December 2017, Corestate Capital Holding S.A., which acts on behalf of Bavarian pensions scheme group Bayerische Versorgungskammer and Universal-Investment, was successful in its bid to purchase WOODIE.Hamburg - and for a higher purchase price than originally targeted.

WOODIE.Hamburg in pictures

From the construction of the individual modules through to the completed student flat: this is how WOODIE.Hamburg came into being.