“It hasn‘t been this beautiful here for a long time.”
Uwe Gerche is the facility manager at the Noratis property in Celle. The Company encountered a host of challenges in Nordfeld to “breathe new life into these homes”, as Gerche puts it. With the work complete, Noratis has successfully transformed an outdated housing development into living space that is now both attractive and affordable.
Celle is a pretty place. Before coronavirus, around three million day-trippers visited the town each year, with approximately 300,000 overnight stays in local tourist accommodation. From the picturesque old town with Europe’s largest collection of half-timbered houses and Celle Castle with a history stretching back to the year 980 to the Celle Stallion Parade, the town has plenty to offer. Tourists are not the only ones who feel at home here. With around 70,000 residents, the district capital’s population has remained stable for years.
After Noratis’s comprehensive location analysis confirmed the town’s appeal, the portfolio developer acquired a total of 252 apartments in the neighbourhood of Vorwerk in June 2018. Further acquisitions have since increased the company‘s property portfolio in the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg metropolitan region to over 600 apartments, including 400 in Celle alone …
The initial acquisition also included a clearly outdated complex of residential buildings comprising 64 apartments in Nordfeld, with crumbling facades, paths blocked by rusty bicycles and overflowing bins with numerous apartments standing empty. Several newspaper reports had also helped establish the neighbourhood‘s reputation as one of the town‘s least desirable addresses, despite its good transport links. In other words, it was a typical Noratis property: a good location combined with significant technical and commercial development potential.
With this in mind, Noratis carried out a comprehensive modernisation program to sustainably upgrade the property, improve quality of life and reduce vacancies. In accordance with Noratis’s principles, the aim here was not to carry out luxury renovations but to create and maintain living space that is attractive yet affordable at the same time – both for new lettings and the site’s existing tenants.
After initial clean-up work was carried out by the newly appointed facility management team, vacant apartments were renovated first before work began on outdoor areas, external facades, and communal areas in spring 2020. The introduction of a new waste management system, including new rubbish bin areas, particularly helped to improve the appeal of the buildings’ access areas. The bicycle racks installed at the same time were welcomed by residents and helped to enhance the overall appearance of the site. The external facades were renovated and given a fresh, modern coat of paint. The entrance halls and staircases were also renovated to make entering apartments considerably more agreeable. Technical improvements were made, and a fibre optic connection was installed to provide tenants with a state-of-the-art infrastructure.
“It feels like I’m standing in front of a new property,” says a delighted Uwe Gerche. Having been the site’s facility manager for many years, the 58-year-old experienced the development first-hand. “This part of Nordfeld has enjoyed a real upgrade thanks to Noratis. I like living here and can feel the change even when I take a walk around the buildings in the evenings The quality of life has improved, and word has spread. New tenants have discovered Nordfeld for themselves,” said Gerche.
Nordfeld is not the only winner here. By making greater use of local service providers to renovate the apartments, buildings, and outdoor spaces, Noratis AG awarded contracts that benefited the entire region, which is entirely in line with its core values. Summarising the Company‘s approach, Igor Christian Bugarski, CEO of Noratis AG, said: “We want to create tangible added value for all stakeholders – from the vendors to the painters, electricians and technicians, and of course for our tenants too. After all, a good occupancy rate results in stable income, which is a key foundation for our business model. To put it another way, happy tenants are the key to happy shareholders.”
In any case, the positive experiences of the last two years have more than validated the findings of the site analysis which was carried out when the property was acquired. Celle is indeed a pretty place, and Noratis AG can envisage making even more acquisitions after its third purchase here. With its population of 3.8 million, the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg metropolitan region still offers ample opportunities for growth.
“When I walk through Nordfeld here now, it’s quieter, fancier and cleaner. It’s really nice. The people from Noratis are often here, the technicians especially. You always have someone to talk to.”
Bernd Uwe Langer,
“We are very happy here with Noratis. Something is being done, finally. We have a lot of young families here. They have taken it very well. They are very happy. I feel comfortable here.”
Igor Christian Bugarski,
Chairman of the Management Board of Noratis AG
“When I look at the North Field today, I have to admit that I am very proud of what our team has achieved. It gives me the feeling that we are doing good things.”
|Properties||4 residential blocks with 64 apartments and 56 parking spaces|
|Rental area||5,300 sqm
|Sales completion||December 2022|
|Project duration||54 months|
- Renovation of the empty apartments
- Renovation of the façades, entrance landings and staircases
- Renewal of the piping in the basement
- Renovation and revitalisation of the outdoor facilities
- Creation of bicycle parking spaces and waste disposal areas
- Installation of new outdoor lighting
- Fibre optic connection
- Partial renovation of the garage flat roofs