The "sue&til" development in Winterthur Neuhegi is not only currently the largest timber construction residential project in Switzerland, but also Allianz Suisse's most extensive construction project to date. The new residents have already moved in. Michael Steiner, Head Asset Management & Acquisition at Allianz Suisse Immobilien AG, explains how the project benefited from Implenia's comprehensive range of services.
Mr Steiner, what are currently the biggest challenges for institutional clients like Allianz Suisse? The greatest difficulty for us today is to find suitable projects in good locations. In many cases, we even have to buy land for which no project exists yet. Sometimes it even goes so far that investors are already fighting over the best plots when a rezoning is planned.
So was it primarily the location of the property that tipped the scales in your decision to go with sue&til? We already have a property in the immediate vicinity and the location proved ideal. But there were other important reasons for us to choose sue&til: For one thing, the large volume is very interesting for us. After all, we can use our resources in a more targeted and concentrated way than with several smaller projects. We were also convinced by the fact that sue&til meets the strictest sustainability criteria and the objectives of the 2000-watt society – this fits perfectly with our investment philosophy. Last but not least, it was also of key importance to us that we have a strong partner at our side in Implenia.
Sue&til is the largest timber construction housing project in Switzerland to date. Did that influence your decision? I have to admit that we were even a little sceptical about timber construction at the beginning, as we had gained relatively little experience in this area up to that point. However, we took a close look at timber construction architecture and, among other things, visited Implenia's production plant and took a closer look at the "schorenstadt" lighthouse project in Basel. It quickly became clear to us that Implenia is a clear pioneer in this field. We are also convinced that wood can be used to create a sustainable and future-oriented construction method that is also increasingly in demand from our potential tenants.
The project was realised almost without exception by Implenia business units. Where have you noticed advantages here? The advantages were already apparent in the planning phase: We had only one contact person and everything was smoothly coordinated. We also did not have to deal with which external partners should still be brought on board, which can become very complex in construction projects with several counterparties. As a result, we also had fewer contracts that were interdependent. This is also a big plus from a risk point of view: there is only one responsibility, one partner who assumes liability. That gives security.
Have these advantages also made themselves felt in the execution? Definitely, you sensed that everything was subordinate to the project goal and that everyone involved was working together. When problems arose, meetings were held immediately and quick, pragmatic solutions were found. Thanks to Implenia's large team, there were no breakdowns or critical situations. We find Implenia to be a very present partner throughout. For us, it is simply ideal if we can realise a project from A to Z with just one partner.