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10.02.2010

New large-scale project in Donau-City
WED builds new landmark in Vienna

  • Austria's highest building at 220 metres to be built from 2010 to 2012
  • First sod soon to be turned for DC Tower 1
  • EUR 300 million investment, creation of 2,500 jobs

When the first sod is turned for DC Tower 1, Vienna will soon receive a new landmark. Right on the banks of the Danube a new office building is to be built in the most modern urban development zone – Vienna's Donau-City – which will also accommodate a hotel, possibly apartments, and public facilities.

"Donau-City offers everything that characterises a new, urban district with a high quality of life, and therefore it is predestined for this attractive high-rise project. What is more, it gives the clearest sign that Vienna is consciously moving closer to the water and making new uses of the riverbanks. The decision to launch the construction of this new Vienna landmark just now is crucially important for our flourishing city; it creates employment and therefore sends a strong signal not just to the labour market but also to the construction industry," explained Rudi Schicker, Vienna’s urban planning councillor.

"At 220 metres, DC Tower 1 will be the tallest building in Vienna and Austria, combining a unique blend of architectural design, the latest in "green" construction methods and functionality. This will create a new showcase project in Donau-City and one of the largest real estate projects in Austria, despite or perhaps even because of these economically challenging times", explained Helmut Bernkopf, Management Board member at Bank Austria responsible for Corporates & Investment Banking.

"Eco-friendly" architecture to the highest of aesthetic and technical standards
At 220 metres, DC Tower 1 will become the new highest building in Austria, taking over the mantle from the Millennium Tower Vienna which stands at 202 metres (including the spire). Star French architect Dominique Perrault, who amongst other things designed the French National Library in the 1990s and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, was the brains behind the design.

The building has a net floor area of 72,700 square metres. Comprising 60 floors above ground level, the building should be completed in slightly less than 3 years by the end of 2012, with a planned start in early 2010. The majority of the floor space totalling 43,700 square metres is earmarked for offices. One particular highlight of DC Tower 1 will be the inclusion of a 4* hotel. Spread over 18,300 square metres the hotel will comprise 255 rooms. The hotel will be run by the Spanish Sol Meliá Group, Europe's sixth largest hotel chain, and will stretch over 15 stories.

DC Tower 1 will be one of the first office buildings in Austria to be erected and furnished in accordance with the energy and sustainability requirements of the EU Commission for a "Green Building". It is intended that the building will be certified as a "Green Building" with gold or platinum status under the LEED© rating system, which will represent a major competitive advantage both for future tenants and in the event of a later sale.

"We consider this investment to be exceedingly attractive since the combination of a high-quality, eco-friendly property and a sophisticated architectural design in an attractive location will be well received in Vienna especially. This is why we are fully convinced that the project will be a commercial success", said Bernkopf.

WED investor consortium and Bank Austria to invest EUR 300 million and create 2,500 new jobs
As with many other successfully completed projects in Donau-City, the project development and construction development tasks for the large-scale project are being handled by WED, whose shareholders are a consortium of Austrian banks and insurance companies led by Bank Austria. The investment is set to cost approximately EUR 300 million. "One particularly important aspect of this project is the job market dimension. Investments in the construction industry are very much conducive to employment – being roughly twice as effective as those in the export industry for example. Based on the common WIFO calculation we assume that the new "DC Tower 1" will create around 2,500 jobs in the coming years, which sends a strong signal for Vienna as a healthy business centre", Bernkopf went on to say.

After the Andromeda Tower (1998), Ares Tower (2001), Tech Gate Vienna (2002/2005) and Saturn Tower (2004), the WED Group are now about to realise their fifth major project as a developer. "In this respect we can rely on our broad range of experience, which certainly makes it easier for us to execute a project of this magnitude. We view the urban development region of Donau-City to be an extremely attractive location with high-quality office buildings that generate above-average rental flows", said Thomas Jakoubek, CEO of WED.

"Not only the massive projects referred to in Donau-City but also the developments along the banks of the Danube canal, for example the UNIQA Tower or the new Jean-Nouvel project opposite the Media Tower by Hans Hollein, show just how important it is for politics not to bow out of architecture. "DC Tower 1" by Dominique Perrault fits in seamlessly with this series of architecturally outstanding landmarks, even though it is that bit more unique with its record height", explained urban planning councillor Schicker.

Vienna's booming – even in difficult times
The building of DC Tower 1 will start at a crucial time for the economy. The construction industry in Austria currently finds itself in a tight situation. While the building boom from 2006 to 2008 pushed both employment figures and production values in the construction sector skywards, 2009 and 2010 have and will be characterised by falling numbers. In spite of these economic conditions, Vienna remains an attractive business location thanks to its geographical position, the high level of economic activity and the excellent quality of life and leisure opportunities. The demand for high-quality commercial and office space remains strong. At the same time, the vacancy rate for offices in Vienna in the premium segment is a mere 5 - 6 percent. By European standards this puts Vienna far down the list of vacancy rates. Top yields in 2009 hovered between 5.5 and 6 percent.

The top yields for the upper floors of Vienna office towers are already just short of EUR 29 per square metre, and still represent the most sought-after new floor space for offices. 

"What is more, contrary to expectations now is a good time to invest, as both commodity prices and the interest rate are low. This takes some of the pressure off in terms of costs. We also expect to see a sharp increase in demand again for office and commercial property when the building nears completion in 2012. After a dip in construction activity in 2009 and 2010, there should be excess demand for premium property in 2012. Another factor in Vienna's favour is that the rentals for business properties were never "overheated", explains Jakoubek in conclusion.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
 Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 Ext. 52819;
 E-Mail: tiemon.kiesenhofer@unicreditgroup.at

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