Transformations for the Next Generation

At its most basic level, Urban Regeneration involves the investment of public money or private finance into areas in need of lasting improvement to proceed with a program of land redevelopment often used to address urban decay in cities. Over the coming pages RLI spends some time looking at a selection of global schemes that best highlight the transformation of run-down areas into thriving economic hubs.

Urban Regeneration brings back underutilised assets and redistributes opportunities, increasing urban prosperity and quality of life. Every city has pockets of underused and underutilised land or distressed and decaying urban areas. These pockets of underused land weaken the city’s image, liveability, and productivity. They are usually the result of changes in the urban growth and productivity patterns.

What Urban Regeneration seeks to do is create new opportunities both for the local community and individuals and businesses looking to invest in the area by repurposing underused or redundant land and buildings in a wholesale transformation intervention. At its heart it has an ambition to increase prosperity and in turn improve people’s quality of life by reducing social inequalities in these areas.

Abha Mixed-Use Development, Abha, Saudi Arabia
Developer: Red Sea Markets Company

Examples of Urban Regeneration Around the World
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has announced Mill Creek Residential (MCR) as co-developer for the first phase of the landmark transformation of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Bergen County, New Jersey. Anticipated to break ground in 2024 and slated to open to residents in 2026, the first phase will include the construction of 550 luxury apartment homes that will be integrated with the shopping centre via a one-acre ‘green town’ for residents, visitors and shoppers to enjoy, as well as introduce a ‘main street’ outdoor district featuring restaurants and everyday conveniences and services. The development will also include significant community and sustainability features such as new parks and greenspaces, green building construction, upgraded connectivity to public transportation networks, electric vehicle charging stations and the restoration of a section of the beloved local Sprout Brook.

A game-changing retailtainment destination, 11 SKIES will be Hong Kong’s largest hub for retail, dining and entertainment and the first to combine wealth management and wellness services in one complete ecosystem. Opening in phases from 2022 to 2025 by New World Development, it is set to bring brand new experiences for consumption, entertainment and wellness services to everyone. 11 SKIES will bring together 3.8 million square feet gross floor area; 2.6 million square feet of retail space, encompassing over 800 shops and more than 120 dining concepts; 570,000sq ft of experience-based entertainment facilities including immersive, fun and interactive role-play learning experiences at KidZania and Grade-A office towers. Strategically located right next to the Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, 11 SKIES will benefit from a high volume of passengers who travel through Hong Kong International Airport, which recorded 71.5 million in 2019 and will become a centrepiece within the GBA ‘one-hour living circle’ and a gateway to the rest of the world.

Global real estate company Hines has revealed plans to build and operate a 74-storey mixed-use tower in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. Called the Global Quantum Complex, the $1bn project will house the nation’s first quantum computing R&D hub, as well as next-generation offices and space for education, retail and residential offerings. The development in Busan’s Haeun-dae district will span more than 180,000sq m and will be one of South Korea’s five tallest towers upon completion. Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is designing the project as a “vertical city” which is expected to generate $3.6bn in economic value and create 18,000 jobs in and around Busan. Construction of the Global Quantum Complex will begin in 2024 and complete in 2027, with the finished structure incorporating sustainability features to comply with South Korea’s 2030 carbon reduction goals.

The Ellinikon, Athens, Greece
Developer: Lamda Development

After extensive land reclamation in the 19th century, the Dutch municipality of Haarlemmermeer, part of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region, has been designated as an area for sustainable urban growth. Arup is working with Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC) and Schiphol Trade Park (STP), to develop Mixity. Sustainability drives this mixed-use urban regeneration project, combining rural tranquillity and bustling city life within a unique heritage setting. People and community will take centre stage in this development with 75,000sq m of shared indoor space and 25 hectares of green park space. An engine for the regional economy, Mixity is set to deliver 400,000sq m of flexible space to accommodate new businesses, strengthening innovation and competitiveness in the region.

The largest city-centre project in Europe, Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier is set to become a new urban community hotspot in Germany. Encompassing a unique culture, leisure, entertainment and dining offer, it will feature a 10-screen flagship cinema, beauty and wellness centres, international and local restaurants, bars and cafés, and the latest trends in entertainment technology. This mixed-use urban district will feature flexible offices with 360° views over HafenCity and the harbour, modern apartments with direct access to the waterfront, three hotels, and a 200-store shopping centre offering the best local and international brands together with a wide range of services and digital innovations, for an enhanced customer journey. The shopping centre itself will span 80,500sq m of retail, leisure and restaurant space and it is set to open in the second half of 2023 by developers Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The scheme will expand the Hamburg City metropolitan area by 40 per cent and the proportion of public and publicly accessible private open spaces is 38 per cent.

The renewed Shopping Mall Zuidplein has been opened by the mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb. Dutch-based architectural firm TconcepT designed a renewed fresh interior with some impressive shopfronts for the outdated ’70s shopping mall of 60,000sq m GLA, the mall also got an extension of 7,000sq m GLA with convenience stores. Zuidplein is the main shopping centre of the southern part of Rotterdam with over 160 shops and is one of the biggest shopping malls in The Netherlands. The mall is the centre of the Heart of the South mixed-use densification area that includes residences, a cinema, a theatre, hotel and a convention centre. The upgrade of Shopping Mall Zuidplein by the Owners Association of the shopping centre of Zuidplein focussed primarily on improving the quality, circulation and the experience of the mall.

Westfield Hamburg Uberseequartier, Hamburg, Germany
Developer: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Lamda Development has revealed its plans for Riviera Galleria and Commercial Hub retail destinations at The Ellinikon, Greece’s and Europe’s greatest urban regeneration project that is being built on the former Athens airport. Adjacent to central Athens, the nearby Piraeus Port and the International Airport, The Ellinikon is unique in Europe for its location, its size — three times larger than Monaco — as well as its scale and ambition. The Ellinikon will set new benchmarks for the future of Mediterranean coastal development — for integrated, sustainable living; for iconic placemaking; for smart-infrastructure; and for its broad base of business potential, from tourism to innovative commercial properties to ground-breaking destination retail. A collection of several communities will be home to thousands, supported by essential services available to all – such as education and healthcare. This groundbreaking development is on course to open in 2025.

Poland is home to Browary Warszawskie, the current “best urban regeneration project’ in the world, according to the MAPIC real estate awards. Developed by Echo Investment, work on the 4.4ha plot began in 2016 and in the short time since it launched, it has already been recognised as the capital’s “best public space” in the annual architectural prize overseen by Warsaw City Hall, whilst also making it onto the final shortlist of MIPIM’s “best mixed-use development” category. Seen as Echo Investment’s flagship project, architect’s JEMS Architecki created a concept that merged pre-existing historical structures with modern buildings whilst simultaneously striking a balance between public and private space. Though featuring no shortage of office space, Browary Warszawskie has helped bring the area to life by introducing over 1,000 apartments to the local housing stock as well as over two dozen food and drink concepts. Of these, highlights have included an award-winning brewpub, a premium food hall, exclusive live entertainment venues and a sports bar owned by football legend Robert Lewandowski.

Battersea Power Station opened on 14 October and is a modern mix of over 100 stores, dining, leisure, medical, wellness, co-working and offices. The scheme is at the heart of a much wider redevelopment of the south west London site, with several stages of its residential and convenience retail and leisure plans already complete and a new London Underground station open. However, the iconic power station will inevitably be the standout. Brands including Ray-Ban, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, The Kooples, Aesop and Calvin Klein will be opening among more than 100 shops, bars and restaurants, 254 apartments, office space as well as a leisure offering that includes the Chimney Lift experience. Developed by Battersea Power Station Development Company, the scheme is also home a new six-acre riverfront that is open to the public.

Sellar, the developer of London Bridge Quarter and Paddington Square, MTR, a leading global operator of sustainable rail transport services including the Elizabeth line, and Network Rail have submitted a joint planning application to the City of London Corporation for proposed vital upgrades to transform Liverpool Street station. The £1.5bn vision for Liverpool Street station has been developed in collaboration with Pritzker Prize winning architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron and will create a world-class transport hub and landmark seven-days-a-week destination, with new retail and leisure facilities for visitors, passengers and the local community. The designs being submitted follow several years of working with the City of London Corporation as well as ongoing consultation with heritage organisations and other key stakeholders, including three public exhibition events, resulting in the proposals incorporating a number of design changes and improvements. A decision by the City of London Corporation is expected in 2024.

Developer Deeley Freed will work with LaSalle Investment Management to transform The Galleries shopping centre in Bristol and create a mixed-use quarter through a £550M regeneration. The project to transform the five-acre site will begin in 2024 and complete in 2027. The proposals involve replacing the existing shopping centre and multi-storey car park with a modern mixed-used development including offices, purpose-built student accommodation, residential (open-market, affordable housing and build to rent), an aparthotel and mixed retail – all to be built around a new pedestrian landscaped street.

Alfulwa, Al Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
Developer: ROSHN

As part of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is transforming Diriyah into what will become the world’s largest cultural and heritage destination. Located 15 minutes from Riyadh, Diriyah will become the world’s largest cultural and lifestyle mud city. Celebrating 300 years of Saudi Arabian history and heritage, Diriyah is destined to become a world-class lifestyle destination with Saudi’s greatest collection of museums and cultural attractions, luxury international hotels and resorts and luxury retail, leisure and dining experiences. In December last year the first element of the Giga-Project launched to the public, that of Bujairi Terrace, a collection of 21 globally renowned restaurants over a 15,000sq m area. The historical area and the birthplace of the Kingdom houses the exciting new restaurant hub and meshes together rich culture, modernity and world-class dining. On full completion, Diriyah will become Saudi’s premier lifestyle destination to visit, live, work, shop, dine and celebrate the wonder of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and culture.

The bountiful region of Abha is poised to be the perfect location for an upcoming regional mixed-use developed by developers Red Sea Markets Company that is due to complete in mid-2026. The developer intends to develop a mixed-use urban centre that includes retail, lifestyle F&B, mini-anchors, FEC, cinema, hypermarket, a youth centre and a medical clinic. It will also include a 150-key four-star hotel tower and a 100-key serviced apartment tower to be operated by Canopy by Hilton and Hilton Residences respectively. A central parking structure will also be provided to support the flow of pedestrian footfall.

Unlike Saudi’s other giga-projects, ROSHN is delivering new urban communities across the Kingdom. Backed by the PIF, the real estate developer is creating its communities in cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Kharj, Al Hofuf, Al Qatif, Makkah, and Abha. These feature pedestrian-friendly ‘living streets’, green spaces, and retail and entertainment outlets, as well as hospitals, medical centres, mosques, and sports facilities. Having been established in 2019 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF), ROSHN specialises in developing integrated urban neighbourhoods featuring residential communities with modern standards across the Kingdom. The idea behind the project’s launch was to meet the demand for new housing supply while developing integrated neighbourhoods, localising international best practices, incorporating the latest technologies in construction, and enhancing the quality of life.