It was a historic moment in July this year. A part of the industrial history that had strongly shaped Offenbach until the 1990s came to an irrevocable end after 178 years at the former chemical site when Clariant handed over the keys to the city. At the same time, this symbolic act represented a new beginning: a fundamental change in the destination of the area from a classic chemical site to an innovative technology site for a wide range of industries, which is to become an interface of research, development and business, innovative founders and future-oriented users.
The gradual withdrawal of the chemical industry from Offenbach, like the loss of thousands of jobs in the leather goods industry, mechanical engineering and steel processing before it, marked a deep caesura in Offenbach's economic and social history. Mayor Dr Felix Schwenke has learnt the lesson: "Offenbach's economy must be broadened and diversified and hence made more robust in order to be better equipped to deal with crises in individual sectors." The head of the economic department therefore sees the acquisition of the Clariant site as a "unique opportunity for the diversification of Offenbach as a business location".
"revitalisation of this key location is of central economic importance for the city"
With 36 hectares, the industrial wasteland, which is centrally located in the metropolitan region, is the largest contiguous inner-city development area in the region for commercial use. Mayor Schwenke: "The revitalisation of this key location is of central economic importance for the city of Offenbach. Once again, Offenbach is placing its trust in the Stadtwerke Group and the experts from its real estate companies, above all OPG Offenbacher Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft, which, together with its sister company Mainviertel Offenbach, has already successfully revitalised the harbour into a lively urban district.
Similar to the Mainviertel-Gesellschaft for the harbour, the public utility company has now also founded a project company for the former Clariant site. INNO Innovationscampus GmbH & Co. KG, headed by Daniela Matha and Peter Walther, has acquired the property. They will eliminate contaminated areas, develop it, parcel it out and market it.
For the challenging task of developing the industrial wasteland into a future-oriented commercial location with supra-regional appeal, INNO has commissioned OPG with the operative service tasks. INNO and OPG will work closely with the business development and urban planning departments.
development horizon of ten to 15 years
The Economic Development Agency, the Offenbach am Main Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the state company Hessen Trade und Invest and the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) are already contributing first ideas to this process for an important feature of the campus: a design park, in which companies from different technology sectors can network in terms of the content and develop new products and innovative business fields together with research departments and scientific institutions.
Furthermore, Mayor Schwenke has commissioned the preparation of a development and marketing concept for the Innovation Campus. On behalf of the city planning office, a feasibility study is to clarify the possibilities of transportation infrastructure. OPG is developing a remediation concept for contaminated sites in coordination with the regional council.
"The preparation for the development of the site alone will take three to five years," Daniela Matha estimates. According to the managing director of INNO and OPG, a development horizon of ten to 15 years in total can be expected.