Visualisierung: Catella/FSWLA/Konrath und Wennemar Architekten IngenieureVisualisierung: Catella/FSWLA/Konrath und Wennemar Architekten Ingenieure

Going hand in hand with the revitalization of the historic Gladbach valley and the creation of new urban water areas, the reshaping of the City Ost (City East) area will entirely change the way locals and visitors alike experience the heart of the city. These 14 hectares of previously unused land, located conveniently near Mönchengladbach’s main railway station, are going to be developed by Swedish investors Catella Real Estate. With 500 million euros being invested, Mönchengladbach’s main objective with this project is little less than the establishment of a completely new neighborhood right there in the city center.  The most distinctive element of this groundbreaking future district will be an attractive inner city lake, around up to 1500 housing units as well as an upmarket office, services and commercial zone will be taking shape in the years to come.  Needless to say, this water area, which is designated to follow the historic creek Gladbach which once gave the city its name, will be open to the public. It is also supposed to link existing inner-city greenways together.

Moreover, this major project serves to show how the city’s very own urban development strategy „MG+ / Wachsende Stadt“ („Growing City“) plays out when turned into concrete action. Designed as a center for living, working, recreation, sports, culture and encounter, City Ost will exude a uniquely urban and modern air, equally based on features of architecture, landscaping as well as a variety of social infrastructure ranging from day care centers to restaurants. It will be highly democratic in the sense that it addresses inhabitants of all ages and income classes. Sustainability is another key feature of the proposed plans. For instance, the quarter will mainly cater to pedestrians and cyclists and contain as few motorized vehicles as possible. Therefore, parking will largely be underground or in parking garages. With the railway station nearby, the quarter will nevertheless serve as a transportation hub, sporting innovative concepts of mobility.

The design of this urban framework plan was started in the summer of 2015 and resolved upon by the city council this very spring, following which the commencement of construction works is drawing close. Being in charge of all communal property deals, Mönchengladbach’s municipal development agency Entwicklungsgesellschaft (EWMG) conducted the EU-wide tender procedure. „As a city on its way up, we are looking forward to this impressive development project, which can easily compete with other European examples“, says Dr. Gregor Bonin, head of the city’s building department. „This project will certainly motivate other investors to realize further development proposals we aim to accomplish with MG+“, adds mayor Hans Wilhelm Reiners. And Catella’s managing director Klaus Franken promises to quickly provide attractive interim uses before the new neighborhood takes final shape, based on positive similar experiences made in nearby Düsseldorf. „We intend to activate this dismal vacant lot and make it accessible to the public in an attractive way as soon as possible in order to bring this premier location to the attention of Mönchengladbach’s citizens“, says Franken. „After all, this is one of the most significant projects of urban planning which will shape the city in the next few years.“