Considered to be the largest inner-city development in Europe, HafenCity in Hamburg began its life as a port.  Once a thriving point of embarkation for European emigrants heading for North and South America, activity halted during the World War I.  During World War II, the port was used by the Nazis for deportation of people from Hanover Station to ghettos and concentration camps.  When the war was over, the railroad station was demolished and the area fell into neglect.  With the invention of the freight container in 1956, the existing harbor basins became too small and shallow for the larger modern container ships, and the area fell into further decline.


In 2000, the city of Hamburg approved a Masterplan for the development of HafenCity, providing for the conversion of the edge of the port district and extension of the inner city of Hamburg.  The plan envisioned 11 district sectors, creating a mixed-use urban quarter with apartments, restaurants, nursery schools, shops, parks, promenades and offices.


The first district to be constructed, Sandtorkai, consists of four residential and three office buildings, the Tall Ship Harbor and cantilevered buildings above a promenade.  The Kaiserkai district contains the Elbphilarmonie concert house, built on the foundations of an old storehouse, as well as numerous promenades and squares by the water.  Upon completion in 2025, residential units for 12,000 people will have been built and businesses will provide 45,000 job opportunities.




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