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Interview

Luisa Peisert &
Marcello Mazza

Interview: Luisa Peisert, Development and Marcello Mazza, Development from Alfons & alfreda AG Location: Düsseldorf, Juni 2023

Maximum sustainability profitable in the long term - Alfons & alfreda interview about THE WID ONE and TWO

In the Ehrenfeld district, west of Cologne's city center, the sustainable neighborhood THE WID ONE and TWO is being built. In an interview, Marcello Mazza and Luisa Peisert, project developers in the Alfons & alfreda team, provide information about the project's plans, the pursuit of sustainability in times of energy crisis, and the cultural transformation currently taking place in Ehrenfeld.



Ehrenfeld is in a state of upheaval: How are the various components of Ehrenfeld - from the sprawling industrial areas to the multicultural, alternative, and colorful atmosphere - successfully integrated into the projects THE WID ONE and TWO without negatively affecting the special charm of the neighborhood?

Marcello Mazza: "An essential measure is the clever integration of the projects with a diverse concept of use, taking into account existing buildings worthy of preservation and character. The current situation presents an inaccessible, completely sealed industrial area with partially vacant halls, whose use in this central location is no longer appropriate.

To make the neighborhood accessible and experienceable for all, we are creating publicly accessible pathways that at the same time tie in with Pandion AG's development of the Max Becker site. The buildings THE WID ONE and TWO will also be harmoniously integrated into the existing stock and reflect the architecture of the historic gasworks environment. The areas are intended for handicrafts, manufactories, sports, gastronomy, and others, whereby the original uses are taken up and supplemented by sustainable concepts.

Furthermore, accessibility in Ehrenfeld is a central aspect for us. In line with the concept of the "15-minute city", we would like to further improve the networking of the neighborhood with the neighboring districts to optimize mobility and strengthen connections.

Our vision is to make the neighborhood a central attraction in Ehrenfeld that fills the surrounding area with life. This is becoming increasingly important, especially in view of demographic changes and the influx of people into the area.


We hope that Ehrenfeld residents will be able to identify with our projects as much as with their beloved neighborhood."

The vision

Ist-Zustand

Part of the change in Ehrenfeld is also the issue of climate change: the planning of the two properties provides for green facades and outdoor areas. What sustainability measures are being taken in addition to the visual view?

Luisa Peisert: "In addition to the green appearance of THE WID ONE and TWO, we are focusing on comprehensive sustainability goals that are in line with the City of Cologne's Urban Strategy 2030+.

We are pursuing various certifications for sustainable buildings, including DGNB Platinum Level, WELL Platinum Level and Wired Score Platinum Level. These certifications require special measures during the construction phase.

However, our ambitions go beyond construction. We have high goals in terms of energy generation and recovery, energy positivity, recycling concepts, promotion of biodiversity and use of sustainable and reusable building materials. Especially in a time when waste production has reached extremely high levels, it is important to consider the life cycle of the property and think about recycling and reuse.

In our projects, we not only emphasize ecological aspects, but also the social dimension of a neighborhood. We focus on mixed use to create an inclusive environment that meets the needs of diverse communities. We realize that a successful neighborhood must be sustainable not only on an environmental level, but also on a social level.



Apart from the environmentally conscious idea, the focus for a project developer is also on profitability. How does Alfons & alfreda manage to ensure the profitability of THE WID ONE and TWO without compromising the quality or the environmental aspect of the properties?

Marcello Mazza: "We attach great importance to quality, sustainability and social integration. Regardless of the profitability of the projects, we firmly believe that these aspects are fundamental. By working with experienced partners in planning and construction, we have already been able to ensure very good quality in our recently completed OVUM project in Cologne-Braunsfeld.

We firmly believe that maximum sustainability is profitable in the long term. A project becomes profitable when it creates real added value for the largest possible group of stakeholders. Our goal is to create something great for our neighbors and the people of Ehrenfeld. If we achieve that, the profitability of the properties will automatically follow."

The real estate industry is wandering through economically uncertain times. Do these uncertainties influence the progress and realization of the THE WID ONE and TWO projects?

Luisa Peisert: "The demand for sustainable and future-proof real estate is not inhibited by economically uncertain times, but actually strengthened. Especially in times of energy crises it becomes even more important to develop good and sustainable real estate.

The office of tomorrow, the way we want to meet and develop ideas in the future - all this is changing fundamentally. Many existing properties no longer meet adequate requirements and have disastrous climate values. So, we as developers are serving a field of demand that is rising and will continue to rise. The more uncertain the times are, the more we must convince with good concepts in prime locations, which we are doing with our two projects.

We are always looking for new ways, especially in sustainability, and therefore see great potential in the energy concepts of existing buildings as well as new construction projects. We want to develop innovative solutions and contribute to sustainable real estate playing an increasingly important role.

The demand is there and will continue to grow, regardless of economic uncertainties. We see it as our job to respond to this demand and meet people's needs and requirements with our projects."

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