A Zurich project inspired by London

Large areas with good development potential are hard to come by in Switzerland’s city centres. So you can imagine just how exciting it was when Allreal was presented with the opportunity to acquire a plot that fitted the bill at the heart of Zurich’s Albisrieden district. As a property company with its very own projects and development division, Allreal is perfectly positioned to take on this kind of project given that the company has access to an impressively broad range of skills and expertise that is unmatched on the market.

Allreal purchased the plot spanning around 3,065 square metres at Spiserstrasse 14–18 back in November 2018. It is located close to the Utogrund sports field, between Letzigrund Stadium and the centre of the Albisrieden district. This central location means that the area is easy to reach by car and on public transport. At the moment, the land is home to three blocks of flats that date back to the 1930s.

Allreal bought the plots from Leutwyler Dienst­leistungen AG, an organisation dedicated to helping young people with their education and training that still owns other nearby plots.

Repurposing to create urgently needed living space

The properties are so old that their structures, energy efficiency ratings and fixtures and fittings are simply not up to the standards required these days. And with the demand for additional living space consistently high in the city of Zurich, it soon became clear that a new build project was on the cards to make much better use of the space in line with the current building and zoning regulations. “With the high level of demand for residential properties here to stay for now, some of the flats will be sold as condominiums”, says Stefan Dambacher, Head of Development and Member of Group Management at Allreal, explaining the company’s plans.

With a view to keeping the standards on this project high in terms of both implementation and architecture, Allreal launched a study contract at the start of 2020. This strategy allows for lots of ideas to be brainstormed and assessed by an expert panel, ensuring top quality for the project. It soon became clear that the ideal scenario would be for the property to be developed in partnership with the owner of the neighbouring land, Leutwyler Dienstleistungen AG. “On that basis, we started working closely with Leutwyler before we even kicked off the tender process, with the aim of producing our best work on this plot.”

Architecture tender to keep the project standards high

Five prestigious architecture firms were invited to take part in the joint study contract. “When choosing architecture firms to participate in a tender, there are several factors we always consider”, says Ursina Caprez, the Project Manager working on the development side of things on this project. It is important that companies are based in the local area, as that means they will feel a certain level of attachment to the location and the project. They also need to know all about the local regulations in place. “We obviously also expect them to have an excellent reputation and references to match”, says Caprez.

The panel, made up of seven experts and led by architect Florian Zierer, unanimously decided in favour of the plans submitted by Zurich-based ADP Architektur Design Planung AG in July 2020 and recommended that the project should proceed on that basis. The project is based on an innovative urban development concept and has a distinctive design, centred around a seven-floor new build with 63 condominiums and 43 rental apartments.

Work on that winning project is still underway. The review phase is an essential step in ensuring that the whole process goes smoothly. At this stage, crucial discussions take place with various parties involved in the project, including the sales and implementation teams. “The review phase gives us chance to fine-tune the plans and do all the groundwork ahead of submitting the planning application”, explains the Project Manager.