New IntercityHotel Graz will combine 229 hotel rooms with 187 student apartments
Scheduled for Spring 2020 – 229 Rooms
This project in Graz offers the GBI Group an opportunity to consolidate its presence on the Austrian market. GBI is already the largest hotel developer in Germany, where it is also a leading player in the construction of student apartments. Its market launch in Austria began in Vienna in 2016. The company developed one of its own-brand SMARTments student accommodation properties and a serviced apartment hotel under the name of SMARTments business. Both are located near the city's main railway station and are already in operation. A combination of these two brands under a single roof is currently being constructed in Vienna's 19th district. "This project in Graz represents the first time that we have linked a conventional hotel with student accommodation on a single site in Austria," said Karl-Heinz Daurer, Managing Director of GBI Project Development Austria. "Mixed-use concepts of this kind have proved their worth in Germany, and they are also a conceivable option for other Austrian cities such as Innsbruck, Linz, Salzburg or Klagenfurt."
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and a new design by Matteo Thun
IntercityHotel is a Deutsche Hospitality brand which encompasses over 40 hotels in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Arabian region. This new IntercityHotel will be located at Finkengasse 2. 229 rooms spread over six storeys will offer all the comfort guests would expect to find in the upper mid-range category, and it will also boast conference rooms, a bar and a restaurant. "Having already launched in Vienna, we are now delighted to be able to establish an IntercityHotel in Austria's second largest city here in Styria," stressed Thomas Willms, CEO, Deutsche Hospitality. "Austria is a highly dynamic and interesting market, and we will be seeking to expand our presence further in future."
One destination that is particularly worthy of a visit is Graz's historic old quarter, where the city's perfectly preserved central area has led to the conferment of UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The IntercityHotel will also be offering something special in terms of its fixtures and fittings and overall look. The Italian architect Matteo Thun has developed a fresh interior design concept for a new generation of hotels by using natural materials and soft colours. All furnishings are coordinated with one another. This corporate design scheme incorporates everything from furniture to bedside lamps to food menus.
It adopts a sustainable approach which gives preference to the use of locally sourced materials and also includes energy saving concepts such as waste prevention. The new IntercityHotels also feature state-of-the-art technology in the form of high-quality Internet access, electronic check-in processes, a brand app and a system which enables guests to open the doors to their rooms by smart phone. The "FreeCityTicket" scheme is another classic hallmark of the IntercityHotel brand. This is included in the cost of guest accommodation and permits use of the whole of the respective city's public transport system free of charge. It will also apply in Graz. Deutsche Hospitality is working in conjunction with the GBI Group on a number of other locations. Further IntercityHotels are currently being developed in Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Bielefeld. As is the case in Graz, all of these will be situated within the direct vicinity of main railway stations.
Rising occupancy rates
The new hotel rooms in Graz will be very much in demand. Over the past 20 years, the number of overnight stays recorded in the city has doubled to more than 1.1 million. Availability of hotel rooms has not been able to keep pace with this development because overall capacity has increased only slightly over the last ten years. The consequence of this has been an increase in the occupancy rate which, according to the consultancy firm Christie & Co., reached 69 percent last year. Such market data meant that an investor was soon on board. Deka Immobilien acquired the hotel earlier this year as construction works were about to start and placed it in WestInvest's special TargetSelect hotel fund, which is geared towards institutional investors.
When the SMARTments student accommodation block opens in the spring of 2020, it will become the 18th property to operate under this brand in Germany and Austria. "We will be sticking with our tried and tested rental concept," explained Burak Ünver, Managing Director of the Austrian operating company SMARTments Ges.m.b.H. "Apartments have an average size of about 20 square metres, and students pay a fully inclusive rent. Heating costs, water, furnishings, electricity and the broadband connection are all covered." The motto of SMARTments student properties is: "Move in and start living". The fully inclusive price range in Graz varies between €450 and €495. SMARTments Ges.m.b.H. also makes great efforts to take care of the well-being of the students once they have taken up residence. Managing Director Burak Ünver added: "A tutor system has been set up at all SMARTments student locations." The concept for the SMARTments student in Graz also quickly found a keen investor. The property was acquired by Catella Residential Investments AG on behalf of a pension fund in southern Germany even before construction had commenced.
In accordance with the tradition of the Moses Mendelssohn Foundation, the parent company of GBI, each SMARTments apartment building bears the name of a Jewish personality whose biography is connected with the city in question. The property in Graz will receive the name Samuel Steinherz Haus. Samuel Steinherz was an Austrian-Czechoslovakian historian and university lecturer who grew up in Graz and Vienna. He was a significant researcher and teacher of Jewish history and devoted himself in particular to the integration of Jews into European societies. Samuel Steinherz died in the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942 on the day of his 85th birthday.