1993 – 2000

Expansion to new German federal states and Berlin

Potsdamer Platz Berlin
Potsdamer Platz Berlin

With the German reunification new perspectives opened up also for ECE. While the first developers started to construct shopping centers in the eastern part of Germany on Greenfield sites shortly after the wall came down, ECE pursued a more sustainable strategy with sophisticated concepts.

ECE resisted the temptation to take the short-term route and build cut-price complexes on the outskirts that would have taken shoppers out of the city centers. Instead, leasing specialists and center managers traveled to all major cities to gain an impression on suitable locations. The aim was to promote the "reconstruction" of eastern Germany – with concepts that were and still are trend-setting in terms of economy and urban development.

The first ECE shopping center to open in eastern Germany was the Oder-Center in Schwedt on September 29, 1994. Further shopping galleries followed in Hoyerswerda (1995), Dessau (1995), Leipzig (1996), Potsdam (1996), Neubrandenburg (1998), Schwerin (1998), Magdeburg (1998), Erfurt (2000), Bautzen (2000), and Plauen (2001).

With the redesign of the Leipzig main train station (1997), ECE, in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, designed a new concept of success: a modern and customer-friendly traffic station with an integrated retail and service center. As train station revitalization pilot project, Leipzig's main train station – distinguished with architectural awards – is deemed to be one of the nicest train stations worldwide.

One special development highlighting the convergence of East and West was the completion of the DaimlerChrysler project on the Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin: Potsdamer Platz Arkaden shopping center opened its doors to the public on October 2, 1998. ECE together with leading architect Renzo Piano designed the retail complex and is still responsible for leasing and center management today.

Alongside the Potsdamer Platz project, ECE played a key role in developing concepts for the retail trade in the city districts of the German capital in close cooperation with the Berlin Senate parliament: The first center was Allee-Center in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen (1994), followed by Ring-Center (1995), Linden-Center (1995), and Gesundbrunnen-Center (1997).

Also outside the shopping center field, ECE continued its activities and realized another two office buildings: German-Japanese Center (1995) and Atrium Friedrichstrasse Berlin (1997). In the logistics field, the goods distribution centers in Ohrdruf (Thuringia/1993) and Haldensleben (Saxony-Anhalt/1993) were completed. For Studio Hamburg, ECE expanded the movie and TV production site in Hamburg-Tonndorf (1995).