Revitalization of the old building. Old buildings are more famous than ever. In an interview, experts from 3SI Immogroup explain how this relates to sustainability and what is important in qualitative revitalization.
Sustainability and decarbonization of the economy are major issues in the future. How does that fit with the fact that buildings in Europe account for about 35 percent of final energy consumption and about 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions?
Michael Smith, 3SI Immogroup Managing Director: In our view, the real estate industry in particular represents a powerful lever in resource conservation and the intensification of sustainable concepts. We take this responsibility as real estate developers and real estate developers very seriously and therefore specialize in revitalizing the material that has been around for decades. In addition to preserving the cityscape, especially in Vienna, we are saving significant amounts of carbon dioxide by eliminating the need to demolish buildings and drastically reducing transportation routes. In addition, we require less raw materials for implementation, which is consistent with our comprehensive approach to resource conservation.
Marcus Steinbock Property Purchasing Manager: From a sustainability standpoint, any revitalization is really better than new construction. I don’t have to build any new infrastructure, it’s already in there, and I don’t have to re-close floors either, I will continue to use the existing space. The technical possibilities for renovating old buildings have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. The current gas discussion will further accelerate this process.
Mario Pichler Head of Construction Department: The sustainability aspect is an important factor when renovating old buildings, because revitalization extends the life of the building without having to accept additional emissions. They are primarily created where materials such as steel, concrete or wood are in wide demand. The greatest potential for improvement is in the old construction sector of energy management. Here we meticulously work on energy solutions that make it possible to heat and cool technically on a new building scale.
New construction at the moment is not only problematic from a sustainable perspective. The industry is also struggling with the implementation of new projects as construction prices soar. How does this constellation affect the old building?
Capricorn: Construction activity in Vienna remains high. However, experience has shown that such a construction boom is often followed by a significant drop in activity in the market. This low building activity reinforces the importance of the old building. But it is also popular due to its special generosity. Built in the years when the most efficient interior design wasn’t the top priority, the Gründerzeit buildings offer grand entrances, lofts or spacious antechambers and annex rooms – a quality that enthusiasts will appreciate.
schmidt: Yes, construction activity is already slowing down. The current price increase, especially in the construction industry, is causing many construction projects to be postponed for the next year. In the context of this development, fewer new properties will meet the expected population growth in Austria with an emphasis on the capital city, Vienna. The logical result is the massive increase in demand for residential real estate, which will benefit older buildings and cause prices to rise in this sector.
Pichler: The number of apartments in old buildings is of course limited and decreases further if topics such as location, living comfort and quality of revitalization procedures are included in the survey. In the central locations in particular, there are fewer and fewer vacant building plots, which is why the old buildings there are especially increasing in importance.
You mentioned the current popularity of the old building. What do you think should be of particular importance in the activation process?
schmidtOwners-occupants are increasingly choosing a property with Wilhelminian-era charm. As 3SI Immogroup, we attach great importance to the exclusive furnishing of the property. In our opinion, stucco decoration, sinuous parquet doors and wing doors, combined with modern technology, are necessary to meet today’s requirements for living comfort at the highest level. It is also important for us to design as many open spaces as possible, which today buyers no longer want to do without.
Pichler: Experience and expertise are essential when revitalizing ancient buildings. This is a task that must be planned down to the last detail, because buildings always present new challenges that you have to adapt to in the construction process. While modernization based on technical grounds contributes to maintaining or increasing the value of the property, poor quality work has the opposite effect. Therefore, with such an extensive construction project, you should invest in quality and experience.
Capricorn: I can only stress that. In order to perform the required activations at the highest level, skilled workers are an essential factor. It takes a sure instinct for old matter, not just vision and planning. Experience and flexibility are especially important when it comes to implementation, because no two buildings are alike in details.
What are the quality standards for the old building in terms of demand? And what does 3SI stand for in this regard?
Gerhard Klein, 3SI Makler Managing Director: It’s basically an interplay of history and modernity. The demand for apartments in old buildings is constant, especially in large cities. There is no other place where you can find a living space that is modern and at the same time reflects a part of Vienna’s history. Important when evaluating the quality of the revitalized Gründerzeit building is the location, appearance of the living areas and condition of the common areas. It’s about having open spaces, an elevator, and technical improvements like smart home controls. As a 3SI broker, we note a growing demand from buyers for a high quality of execution in renovated period buildings, which is evidenced, for example, in the “THE HERITAGE” project in Vienna-Landstraße or in the old building “THE CORE” in Wieden, which has just been put up for sale.
CapricornOld buildings can be updated, at least in theory, with a little paint and cheap new windows. However, such an approach is incompatible with detailed revitalization that will continue for decades. As 3SI Immogroup, we advocate for projects designed in such a way that they offer first-class living for many years to come. This includes contemporary floor plans, visual details and also the implementation of low energy management. We aim to show that Gründerzeit’s projects can be taken up to the technical level of a new building – and that’s exactly what we do.
Pichler: What makes the old building special is its aesthetics, which have shaped its shape over centuries and are now more in demand than ever. However, classic style elements alone are not enough for today’s discerning buyer. Open space, efficient energy management, and modern floor plans are now standard in older buildings. Buyers appreciate this commitment and high-quality execution and are willing to invest accordingly.
Smith: In short, one could say: it takes a lot of attention to detail. There are many properties on the market that have been upgraded and modernized. A closer look reveals that market attractiveness and achievable prices are highly dependent on quality and detail. Therefore, it is clear to us that only the highest quality standards are sufficient when implementing our projects.
3SI Real Estate Group
3SI Immogroup is a Vienna family business that has existed for three generations and has specialized in comprehensive revitalization, residential building development and high-quality attics conversion. In addition to the renovation of historical buildings, 3SI Immogroup as a developer has also actively contributed to the creation of sustainable living space in the new construction sector for years.
In addition to the primary market of Vienna, the family business 3SI Immogroup is also active in Salzburg, Graz, Linz and other metropolitan areas of Austria. In addition to residential buildings, land plots were also acquired. The real estate developer is headquartered in the heart of Vienna’s city center and employs more than 50 people.
The site was created with the financial support of 3SI Immogroup.