Westbahnhof becomes an it campus

Westbahnhof becomes an it campus

Braunschweig-based IT company Netzlink Informationstechnik GmbH has invested around 7.5 million euros in its new headquarters directly at the Westbahnhof train station. After the client had already moved into the building in January and further companies had followed as tenants in the new building by the beginning of April, the complex has now also been officially handed over to its intended use.

The new building at 11 Westbahnhof Street, consisting of two red-brick office cubes with a connecting wing, is located at a key point on the western ring track. It gives the Buchnerstrasse industrial park, which can only be reached via Pippelweg, Broitzemer Strasse and Westbahnhof, a whole new look.

The building offers around 3200 square meters of usable space on three floors. Around 90 employees of Netzlink and 60 employees of eight companies use the infrastructure of the new building.

The entire site is called IT Campus. It includes the new office building with landscaped outdoor lounging areas – 479 trees and shrubs were planted – and the former headquarters of the Sauerkraut Factory W. Paulssen Wwe. The freshly renovated old building is home to craft enterprises. The entire campus area is about 10,000 square meters in size.

Everything should revolve around digitization

The three managing directors of the IT service provider, which has been based in the Bussinghof since its founding 20 years ago, Tamara Ostermann, Sven-Ove Wahling and Harald Lies, selected the new tenants in their new building "in such a way that synergy effects between the companies are created and used," ared Wahling.

Suitable companies were found more quickly than expected, Ostermann explained. The prerequisite was that these companies, such as Netzlink, are themselves active in the field of digitization. There is still room in the campus for these tenants to expand, "that's part of our concept," said the managing director. A building expansion within the campus is possible, but not an ie at the moment. "After all, our core competence is the IT industry, not the real estate industry," Wahling clarified.

The concept developed for the new building envisages that companies or individual entrepreneurs can also rent so-called co-working spaces for a limited period of time, for example for temporary collaboration with one of the companies located on the campus. Five conference rooms between 24 and 145 square meters can also be rented.

Unusual for a company building are the balconies attached to the offices – which are expressly not primarily intended for comfortable cigarette breaks, explained the convinced non-smokers Wahling and Ostermann. Short distances to the outdoors, he says, are a carefully chosen way for employees to get fresh air and the wide-angle vision needed in the industry. IT experts sitting on the balcony with their laptops or looking for a place to work in the green outdoor area will probably be seen more often on campus, weather permitting.

Each floor also has "lounge rooms" with kitchens where employees can – and should – meet for coffee or meetings. "Even though our work mission is the progress of digitalization," said Wahling, "people will not be virtualized in the future, but will continue to benefit from personal interaction."

The connection to the streetcar and bus was important to the developers when choosing the location. For the first time in the company's history, there is ample parking; bike racks are available, as are charging stations for e-cars. The building was designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.

Netzlink deliberately chose a site on the former fallow land at Westbahnhof, which has been in a state of flux for some time now. Two of the three managing directors are members of the Kontorhaus am Jodebrunnen development association, which is located in the neighborhood. As new residents, they have also been committed to the neighborhood for some time. In return, local historian Klaus Hoffmann has provided them with industrial photos of the Westbahnhof site, which can be seen on the walls in the recreation areas.

Work and leisure facilities in the immediate vicinity

"We fit in well here with our company, because society is also undergoing a change toward digitalization. And despite attractive offers from other cities, we didn't want to leave Braunschweig for the sake of our employees," affirmed Managing Director Wahling. "We have many young people in the team. There are many sports facilities here, such as climbing, a basketball court and a soccer field. We have therefore set up rooms with showers and lockable lockers on the first floor so that leisure and work can be closely interlinked," Wahling continues.

During the opening ceremony, city building councilor Heinz-Georg Leuer spoke of the importance of commercial areas close to the city center. He emphasized that the city alone had invested five million euros in the Westbahnhof site, including subsidies, since 2009, including in an exercise course and a youth square. In addition, the long-awaited socio-cultural center will open directly opposite in the coming year. "The neighborhood will then really come alive," predicted Leuer.

Streiff criticizes the complicated access to the industrial park

Helmut Streiff, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, praised the charm of the building's architecture, which is based on old industrial buildings. He was quietly critical of the complicated access to the site. Other, less financially strong businesses on Buchnerstrasse have been complaining about this for some time now. They hope that the arrival of the innovative IT company will finally change the awareness and signposting of the business park.

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