Interview with Michael Zahn, CEO
Mr Zahn, in ISARIA, Deutsche Wohnen has secured a platform for property development across Germany. Why?
Ensuring a supply of affordable, quality housing is quite simply the social issue of our time. Everyone’s talking about it. But at Deutsche Wohnen, we’re not just talking – we’re taking action, too. The first step was our tenant promise. Yet reasonable rents are only part of the solution. At times like these, there is one thing even more important: building! That’s why we’re now taking our next step. Going forward, we want to increase our focus on new development. This is exactly where the strengths of ISARIA’s platform and its people lie. It’s one of the most exciting and successful developers in the German residential property industry.
ISARIA is also a pioneer in sustainable property development – with an impressive track record. In numerous projects, ISARIA has shown how disused sites can be turned into innovative living space in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
Deutsche Wohnen wants to focus more on new development. What does that mean in concrete terms?
New development is already one of our core capabilities. By acquiring ISARIA, we’re bolstering this even further. In the coming decade, Deutsche Wohnen is planning over €3 billion of investment in developing new residential, nursing and commercial property. Going forward, this will result in the creation of one of the biggest German platforms for sustainable neighbourhood development in metropolitan areas under the Deutsche Wohnen banner.
Will the takeover mark a shift in Deutsche Wohnen’s geographical focus?
We will continue to focus on growing metropolitan regions. These include Dresden and Leipzig, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and our core market of Berlin. However, thanks to the ISARIA platform, we are now gaining access to exciting future projects in southern Germany, too – such as in the greater Munich or Stuttgart areas.
We will also be able to manage projects from Hamburg and Munich. This will boost our presence across Germany.
What does the takeover mean for Deutsche Wohnen’s strategy as a whole?
We are sticking to our successful strategy. Residential property remains our core platform. We manage and develop an existing portfolio worth around €23 billion.
We also have our nursing platform, currently worth €1.3 billion, and our development platform. We’re now taking the next step and expanding our core capability in this area. And there is even more in the pipeline – we remain optimistic, even though times are tough.