Stuttgart/Pforzheim, Germany, November 11, 2022. Housing, living, working – and buying the day-to-day necessities of life from a supermarket located in the same building. ALDI SÜD is setting new standards in urban development with the construction of a new mixed-use property in Pforzheim in southern Germany. The planning and consulting company Drees & Sommer SE provides project steering services for the discounter’s planned development that comprises an ALDI store with a parking area, residential units for senior citizens and a childcare center. The groundbreaking ceremony on Schwarzwaldstrasse took place on November 11. The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.
“The mixed-use property will improve local shopping facilities for residents and enhance the amenities on offer for families with children, while creating an attractive residential environment for senior citizens in the inner city location,” points out Holger Philippin, Director Real Estate and responsible project developer at ALDI SÜD. The total site area measures around 2,800 square meters and is situated close to the city center, in the vicinity of a major residential area and near to a main traffic artery. The ALDI store with a useful area of approximately 1,600 square meters includes retail space of about 1,000 square meters. A parking area with 64 parking spaces will be constructed directly above the supermarket, with an open façade to allow the area to be ventilated naturally.
The three upper stories will provide accommodation for a four-group childcare center in addition to 43 apartments. These are suitable for assisted living, and for this reason rooms for nursing staff are also included in the design. The L-shape of the new building in combination with the one adjacent to it will create a courtyard enclosed on three sides. This area will be developed into a playground for the kindergarten and a garden for the senior people living in the apartments. “We developed the project in close consultation with the social services department and the planning office of the city of Pforzheim, and we wish to thank them for their cooperation,” explains ALDI SÜD’s project developer Holger Philippin. Peter Gross Bau acts as general contractor. The company’s office in Karlsruhe is located in the region where the development takes place. The architectural design comes from the office of Lennermann Krämer Architekten, also from Karlsruhe.
Mayor Peter Boch, who also congratulated on the official groundbreaking ceremony, emphasised: “We have supported the project from the very beginning and saw the great opportunities in it – for a strong, contemporary local supply in the neighbourhood, for the much-needed expansion of childcare and for age-appropriate new forms of housing in which our senior citizens can live well looked after. Our city benefits several times over from this showcase project, and the inner city in particular will be strengthened in the long term. We have therefore been developing this solution together with ALDI SÜD since 2018.”
The Planning of Mixed-Use Buildings Is Highly Complex
Mixed-use properties of this kind are naturally more complex in design than a simple supermarket. The complexity begins with designing and dividing the structure into zones: to enable optimum use of the site, most of the parking spaces are located in the building, above or below the retail space. This in turn makes it necessary to design elevators or stairs to allow clients to reach the shopping area. “Also, the façade design has to reflect both the corporate identity of the retailer and the other uses of the building and create a harmonious overall appearance,“ comments Jens Schmid, team leader and project manager at Drees & Sommer. Developers and building owners of this kind of building also have to invest more in soundproofing to ensure that residents are not woken up by early-morning deliveries of goods or constantly disturbed by the opening and closing of car doors in the parking area.
The structural design also poses a challenge. Jens Schmid explains: “The construction of additional stories on top of the retail area requires different supports from those of a freestanding supermarket, as the weight of the stories above has to be spread. Additionally, the placement of the supports, especially within the retail area, has to be compatible with existing branch concepts and must not interfere with the ideal customer flow through the supermarket.”
The Concept Is Also Suitable for Neighborhood Developments in city outskirts
Mixed-use buildings comprising supermarkets and apartments are attracting interest both for infill development in inner cities – as in Pforzheim – and as part of projects to develop residential quarters in the wealthy areas surrounding big cities. The reason for this is that mainly young families gravitate towards city outskirts, owing to escalating prices in the cities as well as people’s increasing expectations regarding their residential environment. “The decision to move to the countryside has become considerably easier, and even more so since the Covid-19 crisis. Working from home has never been as commonplace as it is today,” says Drees & Sommer’s expert Jens Schmid. And the first studies on the subject suggest that the remote work trend could continue long after the pandemic.