"Ensemble" project

 City of Zurich press release:

Winning project from HRS Investment AG and Credit Suisse real estate investment vehicles

The city of Zurich's investor competition for the Hardturm site has now come to an end. Based on the unanimous recommendation of the judging panel, the City Council made the decision to commission investors HRS Investment AG and the real estate investment vehicles of Credit Suisse for further work on "Project Ensemble". The project involves the construction, financing and operation of a football stadium to accommodate 18,500 spectators, as well as two residential and business blocks and 173 social housing apartments for Allgemeine Baugenossenschaft Zürich (ABZ).

The city of Zurich launched the investor competition for the Hardturm site in autumn 2015, with five bidding teams taking part. This paved the way for private investors to develop projects capable of securing majority support. A bidding team was being sought to plan, construct and finance a football stadium, social housing apartments and an investor project. The aim of the project was to be forward-thinking with regard to urban development, architecture and compatibility with the district, but also to be economical. The city was also striving to create an environmentally sustainable project in the fields of business and the environment.

Total package impresses

After the pre-qualification stage, five bidding teams prepared their projects as part of a non-anonymous process. The jury, that was composed of people from a number of different disciplines, felt that the submitted projects were very diverse, both architecturally and economically. The judging panel were impressed with the variety and the high quality of the solutions proposed. The best solution was put together by the "Ensemble" team, made up of investors HRS Investment AG and Credit Suisse real estate investment vehicles. "The jury found the overall package of this project to be the most impressive, a decision which was supported by the City Council. The team submitted a detailed and well thought out business plan", stressed Daniel Leupi, Head of the Finance Department.

The "Ensemble" project in detail

The planned football stadium will have a maximum capacity of 18,500 spectators. It will be owned by Stadion Züri AG, an existing stadium owner company, and will be rented for immediate occupancy by a stadium operating company set up by the two clubs. The investment company will be financed by HRS Investment AG. "GC and FCZ need the right football stadium to get back on their feet from both a sporting and financial perspective. The long-term and financially sustainable strategy of this project is appealing", says city councillor and Minister for Sport Gerold Lauber. Both clubs – whose Chairmen were present throughout the judging stage but had no voting rights – are behind the winning project.

The investor project, with a main usable area of around 66,000 sqm, also provides for the construction of two residential and business blocks to the west of the site and is being developed and implemented by HRS Real Estate AG on behalf of the real estate investment vehicles of Credit Suisse. The construction of the social housing is being planned and carried out in partnership with Allgemeine Baugenossenschaft Zürich (ABZ). The sub-project on the eastern side of the site will include a residential complex of 173 social housing apartments of different sizes and a double nursery with childcare facilities. The architects in charge of the three properties are Pool Architekten, Caruso St John Architects and Boltshauser Architekten. The open nature of the structure creates enough open spaces for the district. City councillor André Odermatt, Head of the Building Department, highlighted what the project as a whole means for the district: "The different types of housing will enrich Zurich West. Due to the variety of uses of the buildings, the site will be busy every day, not just on matchdays".

The next steps

A binding statement about when the first ball will be kicked at the new stadium and when the first tenants will move into the apartments cannot be issued at this point. With the conclusion of the investor competition, the city of Zurich has reached an important milestone. As the next step, the winning team will continue to work on their project until it is ready for approval, and will then develop a private design plan and negotiate the building rights agreements with the city. Both the design plan and the building rights agreements must be submitted to the local council. The City Council expects a referendum to be held. However, the date of any possible vote can only be set once the project has been clearly defined and has been passed by the political authorities.