What is a BID?

Business improvement districts (BIDs) are business areas in which a district’s property owners come together in order to perform work to improve and generally strengthen the location. The key aspects in this respect are planning and performing construction work in the public space, as well as marketing and service activities for the district.  

The first BIDs were created in Toronto, Canada about 40 years ago. There are now more than 1,000 BID projects in North America. BID laws have also been drafted in South America, Australia, and Europe.

This document is intended to provide you with more detailed information on the topic of BIDs, as well as an overview of local, national, and international business improvement districts.

BIDS in Hamburg
BIDS IN Germany
BIDS International

BID-Activities and PROJECTS

Basic conditions

BIDs are regulated by statute and are based on a law that is applicable exclusively at the request of private stakeholders: In 2005, Hamburg enacted the Act on Strengthening Retail and Services Centres (Gesetz zur Stärkung der Einzelhandels- und Dienstleistungszentren, GSED), making it the first state in Germany to enable the formation of a BID. Ten states now have BID legislation. 

Property owners who wish to form a BID first have to create a business plan (a so-called work and financing concept) for the district. Next, a service provider (Aufgabenträger) needs to be found, i.e. a company or individual that undertakes to implement the business plan. In Neuer Wall, Otto Wulff BID Gesellschaft mbH has been the service provider for the Neuer Wall BID since 2005. If this service provider receives the approval of at least 15% of the district’s property owners, it can file an application with the city to establish a BID. The city publicises this application. Then, all property owners in the district are given written notice about the filing of the application. 

They have one month to review the documentation and lodge any objections to the formation of the BID. Unless more than one third of the property owners lodge objections, the Hamburg Senate can establish the BID by legal ordinance. Thereafter, all property owners are assessed contributions to finance the work.

The levies on the property owners are disbursed by the city to the service provider for the purposes of performing the work described in the BID application. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce oversees the proper performance of the work within the meaning of the filed application.

More about BID Neuer Wall

Organisation of the Neuer Wall BID

After having been part of a BID for 10 years, Neuer Wall’s institutions have become firmly established and are prospering.


The property owners’ association represents about two thirds of the Neuer Wall owners. It coordinates essential common objectives and approves the BID’s annual activities report. In addition, the property owners’ association elects from among its members the property ownership voting representatives to the steering committee of the Neuer Wall BID.

The steering committee is the decision-making body of the Neuer Wall BID. The key organisations involved are represented on it. In addition to the City of Hamburg and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, these are the property owners.  Another voting member with one vote is the management board of the specialty stores interest group (IG-Neuer Wall). The objectives and the work derived from them for “Neuer Wall BID III” were elaborated by this body.

The steering committee appoints members to the service, marketing, and finance working groups.  Voting representatives from the steering committee and representatives from the service provider meet regularly in these working group in order to oversee work projects in detail and to develop proposals for decisions by the steering committee.

The service provider for the Neuer Wall BID will be Otto Wulff BID Gesellschaft mbH. Otto Wulff BID Gesellschaft mbH is a subsidiary of Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung GmbH. The service provider is responsible for performing the work specified in the work and financing concept during the term of the BID. It therefore coordinates closely with the steering committee.

History of Neuer Wall

Neuer Wall (the “New Rampart”) was originally a part of Hamburg’s old fortification structures dating back to the 13th century, which were expanded between 1530 and 1538 to form Neuer Wall. Today’s Bleichenfleet and Herrengrabenfleet served as moats beyond the rampart. After these defensive structures were demolished in 1707, a street named “Neuer Wall” was created at the same location. In 1710 the first building was constructed there – the Baroque Görtz Palace, which can still be found today at the same location. However, only the facade is still standing. The structure behind it was substantially rebuilt. 

Up until the Great Fire of 1842, the street featured the residences of wealthy merchants, as well as other buildings that housed diplomatic missions, but all of them burned down. Remaining today from the structures built following the fire are only parts of the Alsterarkaden (arcades along the Alster Lake), which were built by Chateauneuf. Today’s buildings date back to the time of the “city formation” in the early 20th century. The structures built after 1842 have been lost.

Substantial structural renovations and modernisations continue to take place today. The positive development was significantly influenced, above all, by the formation of a business improvement district in 2005. Using the tool of a BID, the street was able to be redesigned through private levies assessed against the property owners of Neuer Wall and then maintained and managed. This further solidified its image as Hamburg’s most exclusive shopping street.