The CleanTech Business Park Berlin Marzahn is one of a total of ten Berlin "Zukunftsorte". In the next several years, innovative companies from the field of renewable energies will set up operations here on a total of 90hectares in the northeast of the city. The demand has already proven to be quite robust. Christian Gräff, District Councillor and Head of the Department of Economics and Urban Development of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, tells us more.
Mr. Gräff, the CleanTech Business Park Berlin-Marzahn will officially open this coming Wednesday. The complex is set to become Berlin's largest industrial park. What's there to see now?
Not much yet. But the infrastructure of the complex has been in development for many years now. We had our first ground-breaking ceremony almost three years exactly. And now it's all finished. The space is set up in such a way that companies can get started in a simple plug-and-play-like manner. Plus, for a year now, we've had a founders' center, the CleanTech Innovation Center, as well as the CleanTech Pavillon as a location for gathering information and exchange on the site.
What kinds of companies are you looking to attract to the CleanTech Business Park?
The CleanTech Business Park is designed exclusively for production companies active in the clean-tech industry: for example, producers of materials, but also companies in the field of green chemicals and suppliers. This is a special feature, seeing as we are designated as an industrial area. In other words, our site can host industrial production processes that are not permitted in other areas.
Are there companies already active on site?
No, the infrastructure wasn't finished until now. But there are hundreds of companies active in the field of manufacturing sector all around the complex. Some of them are industrial companies from the clean-tech area looking to grow. Our park is especially ideal for these companies. That's the original idea behind the CleanTech Business Park in the first place.
Can any clean-tech company approach you?
Companies should be active in innovative products and processes. The field of recycling can also be related to clean tech. However, this does not include the traditional sorting or burning of waste.
What additional advantages does the location have for companies?
It's very unique within Europe to find a 90-hectare industrial site only 20 minute from the center of the city yet still within the city limits. You can produce everything here, and you're still in Berlin. Plus, the pool of qualified professionals here is very high – also in international terms. Today, industry has to make sure to find locations that skilled workers want to live in. Employees want to be in cities where there is culture and a high quality of life. And these days, these are some of Berlin's greatest advantages. The CleanTech Business Park will no doubt profit from this. And then there's the financial support: in Berlin, companies sometimes receive up to 30% subsidies on their investments, under certain conditions, of course.
One feature of Berlin's "Locations of the Future" initiative is close cooperation between business and science. Will that also be the case at the CleanTech Business Park?
We're working very closely together with the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (University of Applied Science, HTW). And we will most certainly be developing that further. However, the largest potential for us lies in bringing together the companies that set up operations here. In the area surrounding the complex – a commercial space known as Berlin eastside – there are a number of major players, including Knorr-Bremse and Coca-Cola. The old and new economy will no doubt meet here and develop joint innovations. We are eager to foster that development.
What kind of role could the CleanTech Business Park play in the development of Berlin as a Smart City?
The park could play a major role in the linking of software and hardware. In this case, it is particularly the CleanTech Innovation Center that would be able to play a role. Plus, companies that develop smart products will no doubt also set up operations here – something Berlin could really use these days. For example, the theme of transport infrastructure is crucial to the city's development. It is also conceivable that new products be shown and tested out here.
What is your vision of the CleanTech Business Park?
Of course, we will never be a downtown campus. We are a location for production and manufacturing. Our vision and our goal is to tangibly enhance existing R&D and production in Berlin and to foster the subject of clean tech.
Are there any purchase requests from companies yet?
Yes, the number of concrete requests in the past several months has increased significantly, from abroad as well. And they're not limited to clean tech. However, we are not yet permitted to sell any property. The complex will be finished by the end of this year, at which time it will be equally accessible to all companies.
An industrial conference will take place on September 2, 2015 on the occasion of the opening of the CleanTech Business Park. What can we expect from the conference?
The conference will give us the opportunity to once again make clear what we mean by the term clean tech. Plus, we are eager to showcase current industry trends. We were able to attract some highly interesting speakers. It's worth a visit!
For more information click here.