Berlin TXL - The Urban Tech Republic
31.05.2019 | Onlineredaktion Berlin TXL
Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic
Within six months after the opening the new international airport for Berlin and Brandenburg in Berlin-Schönefeld (BER), Berlin-Tegel is to be closed down. The site will then be converted to create a research and industrial park for urban technologies: Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic.
Berlin TXL is a unique project in Europe – if not worldwide. It will create a wonderful opportunity for the German capital city to play a leading role in the international market for urban technologies of the future – a market that is expected to double over the next decade to an annual volume of EUR 5,400 billion.
In 40 years’ time, according to the latest UNESCO predictions, some 70 percent of the world’s population will be living on only three percent of the earth’s surface. Gigantic urban agglomerations will place completely new demands on housing, infrastructure, communications, and transport and will require the development and implementation of new technologies. The technologies developed and tested in the Urban Tech Republic will therefore focus on those fields that the major cities of the 21st century will rely on: the efficient use of energy, sustainable building, environmentally sound mobility, recycling, the networked control of systems, clean water, and the use of new materials. Germany is already playing a leading role in these developments. The Urban Tech Republic offers the opportunity to demonstrate everything that the cities of tomorrow will need, and all this only 15 minutes from the seat of government of the most important industrial nation in Europe.
After the closure of Tegel Airport, the site will offer scope for creating new employment. In addition to the existing buildings, 211 hectares of project area will be available for up to 1,000 companies with 20,000 employees in the Research and Industrial Park alone. In the central airport terminal, the Beuth University of Applied Sciences will establish the scientific core of the new technology park, with up to 2,500 students. It is envisaged that the adjoining areas will be used both for research and development and for manufacturing companies. Berlin TXL will also make an 80 hectares area available for industrial uses – the largest single inner-city development area in Berlin.
It is planned to establish the research and industrial park in four construction phases. In the first phase, parts of Terminal A will be converted for Beuth University of Applied Sciences and commercial uses, among other applications. The Berlin Fire & Rescue Academy will move into the large hangars, because fire safety and disaster management will also be one of the key topics for the cities of the future. Terminals B and D are envisaged for congress areas and young high-tech entrepreneurs, in new start-up and technology centres.
What has happened so far
The public discussion about the future of the airport area in Tegel began in 2008. In the period 2009 to 2012, six international teams of architects, urban planners, and landscape architects developed ideas that were then discussed with experts, representatives of the city administration, and interested members of the public. In 2013, Land Berlin confirmed the binding master plan.
In nine location conferences to date, participants have been able to learn about the latest progress made with the planning and to contribute to the ongoing discussion.
On 9 June 2011, the Berlin House of Representatives approved the objectives of the land development plan and the landscaping programme. Land Berlin has entrusted the Tegel Projekt GmbH with the development and management of Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic and the Schumacher Quarter. The state-owned company, which currently employs 36 staff (April 2019), is working on the further development of the master plan, the
brand development, planning for the building construction, the technical and transport infrastructure and energy services, as well as operative preparations and the public promotion of the project.
The Tegel Projekt GmbH has carried out intensive discussion with some 100 potential investors, including large international companies. In the course of these discussions it has become apparent that in particular the larger interested companies view a possible location in Berlin TXL as a promising long-term strategic objective.
Berlin TXL the first commercial district worldwide to be awarded platinum precertification for sustainability by the German Sustainable Building Council
Only three pilot projects in Germany have been pre-certified in accordance with the “New construction in a commercial quarter” profile of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic is the first commercial quarter worldwide to receive the Platinum Award. The DGNB promotes sustainable building and recognises buildings that are particularly environmentally friendly and energy efficient, that conserve resources, and at the same time meet the needs of the users. Urban quarters are evaluated on the basis of the infrastructure and more general considerations – for example the strategies relating to energy, water and waste management.
Return on Investment
According to a study carried out by empirica AG, it is expected that Berlin TXL will be providing some 20,000 jobs in the research and industrial park by the end of the development period of about 25 years, generating a value added of nearly EUR 1.3 billion every year (based on estimated 17,500 jobs). Assuming that for every direct employee there is one further dependent employee in Berlin, then the overall employment effect will amount to about 34,000 employees, who will generate a gross value added of some EUR 2.2 billion per annum.
The annual revenue for Land Berlin from income tax, trade and company tax, and value-added tax would then total about EUR 150 million. The construction phase would also provide employment for a further 1,200 workers from Berlin and surrounding areas, generating a gross value added of some EUR 64 million.
Housing: The Schumacher Quarter
The area of the former Tegel Airport offers space for a further project – the Schumacher Quarter. This will provide more than 5,000 new apartments for the expanding capital city. In the neighbouring quarters Cité Pasteur and TXL Nord further 4,000 dwellings are planned. This new urban quarter will not only fill a gap at Kurt-Schumacher-Platz where building has not previously been possible because of flight operations, but will also provide an excellent addition to the research and industrial park. Intelligent planning, active energy generation, and a modern mobility strategy will show the way towards a forward-looking, sustainable combination of living and working. The Schumacher Quarter will be an Urban Lab – an experimental space in Berlin for new urban technologies: climate-adapted, water sensitive, and responsible in the use of resources, energy, and waste. The Quarter is to receive DGNB certification as a model project as a “Climate-neutral urban quarter”, and is also a reference project for “Climate-adapted and water-sensitive urban development”.
What are the next steps?
After taking over the site, which is planned for spring 2021, Tegel Projekt GmbH will begin construction work without delay. The land use plans for parts of the Urban Tech Republic and the Schumacher Quartier were presented to the public for their inspection in November 2018. At the same time, a highly-innovative energy strategy for Berlin TXL was also announced. The unique, environmentally-friendly “LowEX-Network”, the largest of its kind in the world, will in future meet the district heating and cooling requirements of both the industry and research location and the Schumacher Quartier.
Hans Peter Koopmann | +49 171 4577889