A booming technology hub, Berlin is preparing for more tech sector growth with a planned research and industrial park focused on urban technologies.
In the fall of 2020 the long-awaited Berlin Brandenburg International Airport is set to open. Within six months the city’s main international airport, Berlin-Tegel Airport, will close. This will clear the way for a major multi-use complex on the nearly two-square-mile site. Its main feature will be Berlin TXL - The Urban Tech Republic, a massive research and industrial park focused on urban technologies.
Tegel Projekt GmbH, the state-owned firm charged with developing and managing Berlin TXL, defines urban technologies, an emerging field, as “the things that will keep the growing metropolitan centres alive through the 21st century: the efficient use of energy, sustainable building, environmentally compatible mobility, recycling, the networked control of systems, clean water, and the use of new materials.” The project is scheduled for completion before 2040.
Berlin TXL will have meeting and work spaces for a projected 1,000 companies, including established manufacturing firms as well as tech start-ups. Berlin’s Beuth University of Applied Sciences will also have a place in The Urban Tech Republic. One of Germany‘s largest state universities of applied sciences, Beuth University is best known for its engineering and business programmes.
“The idea is to cover the whole value chain,” said Philipp Bouteiller, Chief Executive of Tegel Projekt. “The students at the research centre are the honey pot for start-ups, and industry is the potential client for start-ups.”
Though it competes with Hamburg for the title, Berlin is widely seen as Germany’s technology hub, with global tech sector giants like Amazon and Wayfair and numerous start-ups launching there in recent years. Start-up investment in Germany rose to €4.6 billion in 2018, up 7% from 2017. Berlin TXL “is set to become the largest start-up ecosystem of the new Berlin,” said Michael Müller, Berlin’s mayor.
Berlin also seeks to get back to its industrial roots, and Berlin TXL is part of this broader effort. “With its industrial core, the future Urban Tech Republic 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 €5.4 billion,” said Müller.
Both established companies and start-ups in Berlin TXL will seek to reap the benefits of increased investment in Germany, according to the New York Times. Access to talent will be a key benefit, as employers can recruit talent from across Europe without having to negotiate work visas. With Brexit looming, this could be of particular interest to Britain-based companies, many of which have already relocated to Germany.