‘At MARK 51°7 we see change as an opportunity’

An interview with Enno Fuchs, Director of Bochum Perspektive 2022 GmbH, on the development of the former OPEL site

Once home to a 70-hectare car manufacturing plant, in the future MARK 51°7 in Bochum is set to bring together between industry and cutting-edge research in close collaboration, while also providing a venue for knowledge transfer for innovative business ideas. Enno Fuchs is putting his energy into a vision of modern workplaces within liveable, green surroundings. He can clearly remember a time when cars came off the line here, to be worked over in the enormous hall. As such, he is delighted that despite the closure of the city’s biggest employer, a few years from now the site will serve as a workplace for even more people than before. Estimates indicate that over 2,500 jobs in science, business and industry will be based here.

 

A forward-looking location with innovative infrastructure

This location is significant not only for Bochum but for the Metropolis Ruhr as a whole, as it is one of the largest industrial locations in North Rhine-Westphalia. The issue of energy supply is also hugely important when looking at whether a site is suitable for development. ‘We build the future into our planning. Not only have we developed a fast fibre-optic infrastructure with connections to the European network hubs in Amsterdam and Frankfurt, but we have also devised an innovative energy concept, including e-charging stations for electric vehicles, which will cover 70 per cent of the power supply at MARK 51°7 through renewable forms of energy. This will primarily come from geothermal sources, on a scale that is unprecedented for Germany,’ says Fuchs.

Great conditions for companies with new technologies

Some 40 per cent of the available MARK 51°7 sites have already gone on the market. Fuchs is opening up fresh prospects and looking ahead to 2022, by which time the site should be completely renovated, redeveloped and ready for investors. Together with DHL and DEKRA, the IT security companyESCRYPT GmbH, a Bosch Group company, is set to relocate there soon. Ruhr University Bochum is set to transform the former, heritage-listed Opel office building into the O-Werk, an innovation campus with co-working spaces and lecture halls. Research centres for smart production and neural systems are also in the pipeline. The multifaceted nature of these newcomers augurs well for productive interactions between industry and science. For all his emphasis on industrial development, Fuchs is still concerned with urban planning: over 160,000 square metres of green space with 517 trees are planned as part of the open space concept for MARK 51°7.