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Papieri Site
Biberist

Type of use
Industry / Business / Offices / Leisure / Apartments
Area size
310’000 m²
Useful area
220’000 m²
Building volume
2’000’000 m³

The Papieri site is considered one of the most significant development areas in the canton of Solothurn. Thanks to its strategically advantageous location and extensive infrastructure, it offers excellent conditions for industry and commerce.

Site overview

HIAG took over the industrial site of the former paper mill in Biberist in July 2012. The site has an excellent location in terms of transportation and more than 2 million cubic metres of building space, the redevelopment of which is targeted to bring in new companies. The site of the former paper mill of Biberist is composed of approximately 310’000 m² of industrial area and offers almost unlimited possibilities.

The industrial site stands out for its large, flexible-use halls and office buildings, which were built for the former paper mill. The first buildings were constructed in the middle of the site when the mill was founded. Additional buildings were then created that now stretch all the way to the north-eastern part of the site. In the 1990s, a logistics building was built with a state-of-the-art high-bay warehouse. Heavy-duty infrastructure composed of power, fresh water, gas, steam and compressed air provide optimal conditions for manufacturing and innovative companies. Railway tracks that were used for the rapid delivery and removal of materials lead onto the site.

The master plan signed in June 2015 regulates overlapping issues such as housing, transport and land management. The master plan, which allows for the transformation of the site into an open, lively and multi-functional quarter, forms a binding but flexible foundation for future projects.

Site

The municipality of Biberist is located in the water authority of Solothurn, not far from the city of Solothurn. Due to its central location, up to 1 million inhabitants or approximately 480’000 employees can be reached within a 40 minute radius of travel time. This corresponds to about 12% of the Swiss population or 15% of the entire domestic workforce.


A light rail stop is located directly in front of the Papieri site. In only 5 minutes, passengers can reach the Solothurn train station, from which the economic centres of Basel, Zurich and Geneva can be reached directly. A dense network of bus lines connects Biberist with the surrounding municipalities.

The A1 and A5 motorway entrances are equally close to the Solothurn traffic junction. The Papieri site is located about 2 km as the bird flies from the A1 motorway and 4 km from the A5 motorway. The agglomerations of Bern, Basel and Zurich can be reached by car in one hour.

Because of its central location on the Swiss Plateau, the economic catchment area of Solothurn is the ideal site for manufacturing industries and industrial companies and is considered to be an important development area in the canton.

Papieri site Biberist Papieri site Biberist

Facts

Uses

Industry / Business
190’500 m²
Offices
7’500 m²
Retail space
0 m²
Apartments
0 m²
Covered outside areas
22’000 m²

Basic parameters

Site area
310’000 m²
Building zone
Industrial zone 1
Floor space ratio
no restrictions
Max. building height
20 m (> 20 m requires design plan)
Sensitivity level
IV
18’000

l/min of fresh water as well as steam, electricity, gas and compressed air are available at the site

150

years of rich history and industrial tradition

Vision

The Papieri site is to be converted from the former single-use paper factory into a multi-use site for various stakeholders. In addition to the extensive commercial and industrial usage, spaces will be created at the site where work, art and culture can coexist with residential and leisure uses. The site will be opened up and made more accessible in several steps and based on specific identified requirements. This opening-up process has already begun: the first users have already moved into the site.

The quality of the outdoor areas will also be improved through the site's redevelopment. The existing avenue will act as a central "green axis". Additional open areas and gaps between the historic hall structures make good sense for urban planning reasons: they ensure the independent functioning of the new industrial cluster and build up a clear identity. The historic buildings on the canal are slated to take on uses that will supply and support the site. Examples include canteens, cafés or shops. 

History

The 19th century was an era of industrial revolution in Switzerland. The massive progress in mechanical engineering gave rise to many new and efficient factories. Among them was the Biberist paper mill, which shaped the history of the municipality for 150 years. Because the paper mill was the biggest taxpayer and employer in the canton of Solothurn, it was a focal point of public interest.

Hydraulic power was an essential source of energy. In 1859, the Solothurn Canton Council granted the concession for the building of the factory canal to the Zurich construction company Locher & Co. The paper mill was officially founded in 1862.

All over Switzerland, paper was in great demand. Production volume rose nationally from 3’400 tons in 1853 to 60’000 tons of paper in 1911. Hard times came to the paper mill when World War I broke out. The Biberist mill’s management was confident, however, and invested in new machines. After World War II, four paper machines were in operation in Biberist that were able to produce up to 24’000 tons of paper annually.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the competitive environment of the Swiss paper industry changed considerably due to the progressive opening-up of Europe. In 1995 it had to be merged with the Utzenstorf paper mill due to the lack of orders. However, the merger could not prevent it from going bankrupt shortly thereafter and changing owners twice. In 2009 the South African paper group Sappi operated the mill until it was closed permanently in 2011 – a paper era in Biberist spanning almost 150 years came to an end.

 

Redevelopment undertaken so far

HIAG developed a master plan in collaboration with the municipality and canton that was adopted and unanimously approved in June 2015. The goal of the master plan is to form a sustainable and multi-functional quarter at the Papieri site and to coordinate the needs of the municipality, canton and tenants. The master plan forms the basis for the downstream development plan and the zoning plan revision.  It is therefore the first milestone in the redevelopment of the site.

FAQ

Who can move into the Papieri site?
Existing buildings and halls with different characteristics can be rented in Biberist. We are primarily looking for large tenants who are interested in renting 1’000 or more square metres of business or storage area. If possible, added value and job-intensive companies should settle here.
How important is the residential use?
HIAG considers the long-term option of residential use at the Papieri site to be meaningful. It would allow the site to be just as lively in the evening hours, which is seen as an asset for the future quarter.
Can the railway tracks be used?
HIAG considers the railway tracks to have potential as well as significant added value. HIAG has also taken over the railway siding contract with the BLS. The equipment is serviced and maintained continuously. The railway tracks can therefore be recommissioned immediately.
What does the site redevelopment timeline look like?
HIAG will continue dismantling the paper machines and promoting the settlement of companies and thus the revival of the site. Projects are planned and carried out in collaboration with each user. The infrastructure is thus continually renewed or extended in a way that is geared towards the user. HIAG estimates that the redevelopment of the entire Papieri site will take 15 to 20 years.

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