Partnership with local government: Clichés and reality

Many clichés circulate among policymakers and local government on one side and the real estate sector on the other side. Some of them are listed below:

  • Private real estate companies swoop in as speculators and make a quick buck with the most marketable projects before moving on, leaving scorched earth behind them.
  • Local authorities have unrealistic demands, decision-making paths are laborious and long-winded, and planning security never exists because of election tactic factors.
  • Public protests are articulated at full volume and in an undifferentiated manner against change in general and against the social market economy in particular.

The experiences we made with our Aurelis projects across Germany are usually far more differentiated. For this reason, we are promoting mutual comprehension in this case.

Demand assures quality

As a real estate company, we keep an eye on demand and the locations factors at an early stage. We're familiar with the current situation among investors and users and aim to implement such knowledge in real estate and space concepts in line with market requirements. We do this because only in-demand projects contribute to the dynamism that has a knock-on effect in a location. Protracted vacancy, by contrast, spoils interest and can ruin a project. But short-lived trends are not our domain. Instead, we base our work on sustainable concepts in line with markets and suitable for the location. Moreover, we are committed to our development projects in the long term.

Economic viability enables investments

Because we’re a private real estate company, we must ensure a project is commercially viable for us. Firstly, because invested capital and development risk has to generate an appropriate return. Secondly, because we only invest in locations if we can work profitably. Only returns create scope for investment – without public sector borrowings or public sector support. Financial institutions only commit funding for large-scale projects given appropriate financial feasibility.

Voters' interests are important

Local governments have an eye on their voters' interests. This has nothing to do with opportunism – it’s logical and correct, because local citizens are their electorate. People who live and work at the location are affected by the projects. This is why we want to hear their opinion. Ideally, through their expertise, it is possible to integrate a project as harmoniously as possible.  

Public involvement

Most people have a completely legitimate interest in projects in their own city, would like to be informed in the context of dialog, and are prepared to constructively contribute location know-how, considerations, and suggestions to a collaborative process. Their involvement is important for us, even beyond the mandatory processes. Even though we cannot take into account every single concern, we want to make sure that the general public benefits from a project as well as the project stakeholders.

Discussing bottlenecks

Our experience is that local authorities often suffer a shortage of personnel resources, which can lead to delays in development projects and building permits. This is a topic that should be discussed openly in a partnership, allowing the project to be planned accordingly.


Private real estate companies and local governments can encounter opposing interests or different interpretations of a matter. Debate in such a context is not harmful. The important thing is to bring debate into the open at an early stage and handle it honestly. Clear responsibilities in the process and reliability in statements and action on both sides create trust. On this basis, a viable joint concept and an implementation strategy whose key points are made binding can be created. The best-case result is a successful project that enhances local communities' economic power and the location’s quality.

Your contact person

Hannah Opitz
Assistant Head Office
Mergenthalerallee 15-21
65760 Eschborn