The starting signal for a new future
A very intensive phase began for the site manager. "We had to find buyers for the machines, because they were all still functional. However, Markus Künzle knows that the focus was not only on achieving the highest possible proceeds. "It was also essential that the machines be dismantled professionally and quickly by the buyers." In the meantime, the three up to 300-metre-long paper machines have been sold and dismantled. One last machine is still in the hall. The buyers are from Bangladesh and are still organising the dismantling and transport to the destination. "This is a supercalender, a machine that smoothes paper," Künzle explains. And becomes almost a little nostalgic in the process. "The factory used to have a production capacity of 420,000 tonnes for graphic papers." His gaze wanders through the huge hall in which the metre-high machine almost disappears. What will happen to these halls now? "They will be deconstructed, because they were built especially for the paper machines and cannot be converted. One of these halls is 359 metres long and over 20 metres high. As a result, they can hardly be heated and an energetic refurbishment would swallow up vast sums."
Except for a few buildings of historical value that are protected, most of the buildings will be demolished to make room for new ones. The objects worthy of protection or the buildings predestined for conversion are included in the site planning. Currently, the deconstruction of an approximately 20,000 square metre construction site is taking place; after a common pollutant clean-up, the actual deconstruction could begin in spring 2022. But in all that time, the site has not lain fallow, but has been used in a variety of ways. Ensuring this is the result of a wide variety of considerations, Markus Künzle explains: "The site developers and asset managers involved and I as site manager form a team that has to bring together all the factors for the site to function as well as possible. Operations have to be maintained even though demolition is going on elsewhere at the same time." It is a good sign that some tenants have hardly noticed this deconstruction.
"We have started the deconstruction from the back, that is, from the inside of the buildings. This way, business on the circulation areas was not hindered."
High use already during development
Although the Papieri site is in the middle of development, many parts of it are already being used. Covered areas, for example, are rented out as storage space for various businesses, but also as parking spaces for the mobile homes that boomed during the Corona period. In addition to these interim uses, which only ever last until the corresponding part of the site is developed further, there are also long-term tenants. One of them is the logistics company Sieber. The company employs around 100 people in Biberist. "Sieber Transport AG is an anchor tenant," says Markus Künzle. "In 2016, HIAG converted the existing high-bay warehouse for the company with a storage capacity of over 20,000 pallets and 7,500 square metres of logistics space." The building remains in HIAG's possession, but Sieber AG has a longer-term lease. For the further use of the site, attention must be paid to a good mix of industries and economic sectors, says the site manager. "The problem is that many companies want to rent storage space here, but we want something to be produced here and create an attractive, innovative workplace area.