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Berlin's Urban Tech at Tegel

Wednesday August 4, 2021

By Kevan James

The Tegel Airport site (TXL), with its 130 buildings and facilities, was returned to the owners today as the curtain finally came down on the end of an era for commercial air transport in Berlin. This morning, a handover protocol was signed between representatives of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB), the federal government and the state of Berlin.

As of tomorrow (August 5), Tegel Projekt GmbH will be responsible for the entire site on which a research and industrial park for urban technologies with up to 1,000 large and small companies, including the renowned Beuth University, is to be built. The Airport Company has been working with Tegel Projekt and other subsequent site users for a long time already and initial preparations for the settlement of the 'Urban Tech Republic' have already been made.

On November 8, 2020, an Air France Airbus A320 became the last aircraft to take off from TXL and air traffic at Tegel ceased after more than 70 years. Since then, flight operations in the capital region have been concentrated at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt at Schönefeld. On May 4, 2021, the operating license for TXL expired.

Image - Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg

With the handover to the owners, the Airport Company has fulfilled all requirements arising from the official order to close Tegel Airport and to revoke planning approval. Among other things, the auxiliary terminal C3 and the pedestrian bridge between Terminals A/B and C have been demolished over the last few months and the technical systems for German air traffic control, weather service and the federal police were dismantled.

The handover means that the reason for the existence of the Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft, which operated Tegel Airport until 2020, has come to an end and so it will merge with FBB. It had been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) since 2003.

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said, “With the handover of the area to the owners, the federal government and the state of Berlin, the last step towards the closure of Tegel Airport has been taken. We have thus fulfilled all of our commitments on time. Our cooperation with the responsible senate offices and the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (BImA) has been very constructive and goal-oriented over many years, for which we would like to extend our thanks.

"We are convinced that the former TXL airport can be developed into an attractive research and industrial location with international significance and thus into a beacon for the capital. This means that Tegel will continue to be a gateway to the world and serve all Berliners well in the future. We wholeheartedly wish Tegel Projekt GmbH success with their ambitious development project.”

Making room for Berlin.

On its 500-hectar grounds, Berlin TXL – the Urban Tech Republic, a research and industrial park for urban technologies and the Schumacher Quartier, a new residential district, as well as a 200-hectare landscape zone, will be developed.

In the Urban Tech Republic as many as 1,000 large and small businesses with 20,000 employees will work in research, development, and production. And more than 2,500 students will move into the former terminal building along with the prestigious Beuth University. In total around 5,000 students will populate the Berlin TXL campus. Berlin TXL will focus on what keeps the 21st century’s growing major cities alive: the efficient use of energy, sustainable construction, eco-friendly mobility, recycling, networked control of systems, clean water, and application of new materials. Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic is a unique initiative in Europe at the present time, if not in the whole world.

These new blueprints for future city living will become available in the neighbouring areas from now on: In Schumacher Quartier there will be upwards of 5,000 homes for more than 10,000 people in a vibrant urban district with day care centres, schools and shopping facilities. Forward-thinking solutions will be explored for providing climate-neutral energy and high standards of energy as well as new models for mobility.

Technologies will be researched and developed right next door in the Urban Tech Republic. A further 4,000 homes are planned for the neighbouring districts of Cité Pasteur and TXL Nord.

The State of Berlin has commissioned Tegel Projekt GmbH with the development and management of Berlin TXL – the Urban Tech Republic, and of Schumacher Quartier. This state-owned company employs 58 people (as of November 2020). Their work includes review of the master plan and brand development, the plans for the building construction, and the technical, energy, and transport infrastructure, as well as sales planning, and project communications with the general public.

© Kevan James / Tegel Projekt GmbH 2021

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