Who are the people at Aurelis creating new sites without sealing new land? Who’s looking for abandoned commercial buildings or barren land and already has a vision of the finished project? Who breathes new life into existing buildings instead of wasting too much concrete? Stefan Wiegand is one of those people at our company. Together with his team, he is responsible for the state of Bavaria. He tells us about his favorite project here.
For many, a real estate project only truly begins when the site fence has been put up and new buildings go up. The process, however, begins much earlier and lasts many years. As an example, I’ve selected one of the largest revitalization projects in the Bavarian state capital: Deutsche Bahn’s former maintenance and repair workshop in the Munich district of Neuaubing.
On the 400,000-square-meter site, we’re implementing the complete range of services we provide for improving locations: Land development, refurbishment, redevelopment and building construction as well as renting.
The maintenance and repair workshop in Neuabing is located just a few kilometers south-west of downtown Munich. Deutsche Bahn’s railway cars, locomotives and track elements were serviced and repaired here for approximately 100 years, from 1906 to 2001.
The history can still be felt today. The building’s robust design, the brick and steel materials, the wide streets, access roads and yards – all these testify to the former workshop’s rough factory feel.
Places such as these have become a rarity in the state capital of Munich.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what a site might look like. However, there’s always an initial idea at the very beginning. The next phase involves us identifying whether this idea will be accepted and supported by the local community. And if so, what requirements are placed on us. The greater the plans for conversion, the more parties are involved in the decision-making process.
That’s why, in the first phase of development, many discussions are held, while market and site evaluations are prepared and expert opinions are gathered, for example, on traffic flows. We are developing the concept for the railway repair workshop in collaboration with the planning authorities of the city of Munich, the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and nature conservation authorities. There’s lots to be done and we are all highly motivated.
We presented our site planning idea to the public for the first time in 2011. We wanted to divide up the site. The southern part, featuring industrial warehouses, was to become the business park Triebwerk. In the site’s northern part, we wanted to create a residential district with approximately 500 residential units under the name Gleisharfe.
From the total area measuring 400,000 square meters, more than half of the site will remain undeveloped. One part will be used for streets, squares and walkways, whereas another part will be used for spacious parks and green spaces. Many of these green spaces have been classified as high-quality biotopes and have been placed under nature conservation.
We were immediately thrilled by this project in our regional office in Bavaria. We see great potential in this unique site.
There are about a dozen landmarked workshops and buildings on that area: a fantastic industrial architecture just waiting to be woken from its slumber.
The largest hall, with a brick façade, steel frame construction and ceiling heights reaching up to around six meters, measures an impressive 22,700 square meters, making it approximately three times the size of a soccer field in the German professional soccer league. Yet that’s not the only special thing on the project site.
The site features a microclimate with bio-diverse animal and plant communities that are worth protecting and require the valuable biotopes to be created. As a result, much of the site has been kept green. And continues to attract an interesting array of flora and fauna.
The site is home to, for example, a rich fauna of wild bees with a vast number of highly specialized species. The bees can track down the only flowering plant that they gather on the Triebwerk site – the viper's bugloss, a lilac-colored bristly-haired perennial.
Other thermophilous and xerophilous species have taken root in the gravel on the former railway site.
The endangered sand lizards that have made the site their home benefit from the newly created habitats. With the designing of the green spaces, we’ve created connecting corridors so that the animals can go to new areas on the site. The construction of a crossing aid will also help sand lizards cross beneath the main access road. Pockets of sand designed for the lizards to lay eggs should support their reproduction. Results could already be seen just one year later: A vibrant colony, which previously didn’t exist, was found on the grounds during site inspections.
The master plan for Triebwerk came into legal force in 2013. In the meantime, we’d acquired the first two tenants for the commercial part of the site. We built a modern package distribution center for Deutsche Post DHL. And for Boulderwelt München West GmbH we refurbished a landmarked hall. One of the world’s largest climbing facilities was installed there.
Construction work can begin once the habitats of the protected animals and plants have been secured. Development measures for the site began in parallel with the first building construction and refurbishment projects: Streets and walkways guarantee access to the buildings.
We handed over the new Deutsche Post DHL building on schedule in 2014. Since then, packages have been automatically sorted for delivery on approximately 7,000 square meters of hall and office space. This technology plays a key role in further simplifying the delivery of packages in the vicinity and reducing delivery time. The German Sustainable Building Council (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen, DGNB) awarded the package distribution center a certificate in silver six months later.
The Central Electronics Workshop (EZW) of the German rail subsidiary DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung has been located on the Triebwerk site for 30 years. This division becomes increasingly more important due to the growing use of electronics in passenger trains. Now the time has come for a new building.
The new facility is equipped with offices, workshop, utility room and cafeteria and was put into operation in spring 2015. Around 150 highly specialized experts service electronic components for Deutsche Bahn and other international railway companies here. We also received a sustainability certificate from the DGNB for this new building: in gold.
Redeveloping the historic halls requires all our flexibility and creativity. One of the biggest challenges here is combining the latest energy-efficient solutions with the requirements in place for the protection of historical buildings and monuments.
An example? Alongside façades and roofs, windows in particular should keep their original format. A possible solution to meet both the aesthetic requirements and energy demands is double glazing from the inside. It’s costly to implement, but looks great.
We discuss the individual measures on a case-by-case basis with our tenants. After all, the requirements vary. “Boulderwelt” customers do not need the room temperature to be at 21 degrees when climbing. Office employees do, however.
The climbing hall operator established its second Munich location on our site. Recreational boulderers can complete routes of various levels of difficulty on 2,500 square meters of usable space.
Tischfabrik24 has also been our tenant since mid-2016. The company, which distributes its trendy designed solid wood furniture online, wanted to gain a foothold in Southern Germany. We refurbished a hall for the furniture manufacturer and expanded it with a gallery. It is now used as a showroom. The loft atmosphere matches perfectly with the handmade furniture’s special charm.
The indoor playground Wichtelwerk is the next creative usage idea for the Triebwerk site. Celebrate a child’s birthday or throw a party for the kids without having to restore your house afterwards? That was pretty much the basic idea. The well-lit, high ceiling rooms provide the perfect space for large jungle gyms and playgrounds. The kids can jump as high as they want in the bouncy castle without ever touching the ceiling. And the complex steel support doesn’t even need load-bearing walls - so there’s a lot of room for playing.
Our special highlight is Werkgebäude 10 which stands out as a small gem surrounded by the unique ambience of the Triebwerk location. Not only the façade and windows were repaired, but also the historic flair to the building’s interior were restored. All for the price of around 1.5 million euros. The building’s hallmark piece was refurbished with the greatest care: experts from “Rauscher Turmuhrenfabrik” (tower clock factory) traveled from Regensburg to replace the clock mechanisms, clean the clock face and hands, and finally get the clock up and running again.
We had to dust and remove peeling paint from the wooden staircase, which has a wrought-iron banisters and dates back to over a hundred years ago, in order to comprehensively restore it. We removed the PVC floor that was laid in the 1980s and replaced it with a high-quality oak parquet. The building has been modernized with an elevator, new heating system as well as new sanitary and electrical installations. We think it was worth it.
A software developer spontaneously fell in love with the building. And why? Because of the relaxing locations all around the building. Benches located next to the landscaped embankment invite you to stop and take a break on the east side; on the west side, you can enjoy Triebwerk’s unique flair on a large wooden deck. Company employees use the space as an outdoor cafeteria or for group BBQs when the weather allows for it.
The entire repair workshop was supplied with energy from the former boiler house. The boiler extends all the way from the basement to the ceiling. We are restoring the installations in order to put the boiler house to good use. In collaboration with a spatial planner, we are currently developing a concept which calls for multistory use with an integrated gallery. Very appealing, for example, for loft workspaces.
The tall chimney, located next to the boiler house, needs to be shortened to four meters for safety reasons. We will integrate it into the outdoor facilities. It will be made accessible in future with an entrance and glass roof.
Several new buildings have now joined the existing historic buildings. In addition to Deutsche Bahn AG and Deutsche Post DHL, a wholesaler for electrical engineering supplies and a large digital printing company have also decided in favor of our new buildings.
The carefully renovated brick buildings and the functional new buildings provide for an interesting combination at the Triebwerk site. Thanks to the spaciously laid out streets and green spaces, both styles have a different effect, without interfering with each other.
Up until now, we’ve only talked about the site’s commercial area. What’s happened thus far with the planned residential quarter Gleisharfe? The nine residential buildings were sold within less than one year. Developers are currently implementing the first projects and we are creating roads and walkways. There’s room for 500 subsidized and privately financed apartments, two day cares, green spaces and footpaths.
The planning is based on a design by Meili Peter Architekten (Zurich/Munich) and Bauchplan Landschaftsarchitekten (Munich). The urban planning structure is based on the shape of the site’s former railways, meaning the rows of houses are curved and elongated.
Back to Triebwerk: Eight buildings have been fully leased. Who else should move here? Anybody who doesn’t want to pay to be directly downtown, but who wants a well-connected, extremely attractive location. Spaces can potentially be used as an office, lab, or production facility, for storage, logistics and wholesale, and even as a showroom.
Triebwerk’s got an ever-growing mixture of businesses. After all, the relaxed, spacious and charming atmosphere has fascinated almost everyone who has experienced it.
In a few years, a large industrial park for business, creativity and leisure will emerge where weeds once grew and buildings fell into disrepair. With historical industrial architecture, cool new buildings, lots of naturally greenery, lizards as neighbors and a location in the heart of Munich.