If you’ve ever played Sim City, you will know how much fun it can be to scroll around the map and watch your city grow. By planting parks, schools and clinics in an abandoned neighbourhood, derelict buildings are revived and new houses are constructed. Fortunately, if you live in Leipzig, you have to know nothing about Sim City to experience the joy I’m referring to. Oh, how I love watching my Leipzig grow and flourish. Today I want to tell you about some of Leipzig’s most exciting contemporary construction projects.
1 Riverhouses Leipzig
While exploring Leipzig’s fascinating system of rivers and canals, you’ve most certainly passed through Schleußig (which also happens to be where I live). The districts’ high building density along the White Elster has already earned it the nickname ‘Little Venice’. However, things are about to get even more thrilling. Riverhouses Leipzig will provide about 40 luxury apartments with direct access to the river. While the price of these flats will most likely be off the scale, they will definitely form another highlight along Leipzig’s riverfront. By the way, straight across the river there are two more construction projects that are currently in their final stages. I can only hope that this won’t drive our rents up…
2 Sächsische Aufbaubank
From a city planning point of view, Leipzig is essentially a massive playground. After World War II much of the city was destroyed, leaving behind lots of open spaces and urban prairie. One of these spaces is located between the city centre and the landmark Westin Hotel. Thanks to the Development Bank of Saxony (SAB), this area is about to undergo a radical transformation. SAB is moving its headquarters from Dresden to Leipzig, investing millions into its new home base. The six-storey building will essentially be embedded into a forest of pillars, most of which will be publically accessible. Construction will hopefully be completed by 2018.
3 Offene Moschee Leipzig
Thanks to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Leipzig will host East Germany’s first Islamic sacramental building! Ahmadis are severely persecuted in their ancestral home of Pakistan, where they are considered heretics – Leipzig on the other hand is becoming increasingly colourful and multicultural. When construction has been completed by the end of 2017, the little mosque is going to be located on Georg-Schumann-Straße in Gohlis. Its architectural style is somewhat reminiscent of the new Catholic church in the city centre. The City of Leipzig has set up an information centre on Georg-Schumann-Straße 126 where the Ahmadiyya Community’s plans can be studied.
4 Wohnturm Grünau
The final project I want to tell you about makes me particularly happy. For 20 years Grünau was a dying district. Since German unification, its population had more than halved to 40,000. While some of its iconic Plattenbauten fell victim to urban decay, many were torn down altogether. In 2013 this tragic story finally ended, and thanks to its excellent infrastructure Grünau is back on track to growth and development. Lipsia Cooperative, which places its emphasis on affordable housing, is about to start construction on a 13-storey apartment tower. Ironically, an eight-storey Plattenbau had been disassembled at the same location just a few years earlier, when everyone still considered Grünau’s development to be a dead-end. Alas, the cynics and pessimists were proven wrong!
You may think that all of this is pretty cool already, but the story of Leipzig’s renaissance is far from over. Just take a walk around the ring road and you’ll discover lots of empty spaces. Next time I’ll tell you about our most exciting urban prairies and the city’s plans for their redevelopment.