Q&A.

By acquiring the traditional industrial site, the municipality of Basel has secured vast potential for the development of Basel as a centre of commerce and industry. Rosental Mitte represents a transformation from manufacturing site to business hub and integrated district where people can both live and work.

The usage concept focuses on high-quality workspaces for value-adding industries and operations such as company headquarters, various business services and research facilities. These types of use depend on a central, easily accessible, visible location and an appealing working environment. Rosental Mitte is part of the Basel North innovation axis, which also includes the Stücki Science Park and will later incorporate the klybeckplus site. At the same time, Rosental Mitte will also offer cheaper temporary spaces.

The canton aims to retain the existing companies and educational institutions located on the site, while creating spaces for new companies and institutions to take up residence. The urban development plan envisages scope for 3,000 to 5,000 new jobs, in addition to the 3,500 currently based here. Whether this potential is realised will depend on future market demand. Rosental Mitte is designed not just for work, but also to meet the whole gamut of inhabitants' needs, thereby becoming an attractive residential neighbourhood that offers great quality of life. Shops, restaurants, cafés, leisure options and sports facilities will offer opportunities for social encounters and bring the newly opened paths and green spaces to life.

The development will open up in several stages. The first partial opening will take place in summer 2022. The existing site fence will be moved, linking Sandgrubenstrasse with Riehenteichstrasse and creating a public gathering place. The opening of Building 6 will open the development up further. This process essentially depends on various technical and legal factors. The opening needs to be careful and gradual, complying with statutory requirements and the needs of existing tenants and neighbours. Issues relating to development and logistics also need to be resolved in relation to the urban setting.

In the Cantonal Structure Plan, Rosental Mitte is described as a “working hub”, so the focus is clearly on business-related uses. The creation of living space and establishment of service businesses will promote the integration of the site into the existing Rosental neighbourhood, thereby creating an appealing, diverse and vibrant district with great quality of life. The expansion of urban housing stock is also intended to reduce commuter traffic.

A diverse range of apartments is planned for the site, which has the potential for around 1,100 to 2,200 residents. With that in mind, there is a choice of apartments in different price segments, with a third of the residential units planned for the affordable segment.

The building stock is being surveyed. A number of notable buildings that bear witness to past eras will be preserved and put to a new use. Other buildings on the site are in poor condition or unsuitable for repurposing, so replacing them makes economic sense. Contemporary workspaces will be created in appealing replacement buildings that are suitable for various sectors.

Demolition works will get under way around the end of May/beginning of June 2022. The first major demolition operation will centre around construction site A. Building 6 and the future Rosentalplatz square are to be located on the perimeter of construction site A, together with other buildings and underground spaces for technical infrastructure for an integrated energy network. The former laboratory and auxiliary buildings 1038, 1030, 1037 and 1065 will need to be demolished to so that Building 6 can be erected. It’s difficult to avoid noise and dust during demolition work, but every effort will be made to keep emissions as low as possible. Demolition will go on until around 2024/2025, after which the construction of Building 6 will begin. Once complete, it will have around 14,000 m2 of floor space and incorporate public uses such as a café or shops on the ground floor.

Building 6 will be the first new building on the site. Karamuk Kuo Architects and HSSP won the project competition with their “PETRI” design. The proposed compact building is designed as a timber and concrete hybrid construction. The building is an investment in the municipality of Basel’s own financial assets. The primary tenant will be the University of Basel with its Chemistry department, while the remaining areas will be leased to other companies. Planning began in January 2022.

Yes, in future it should also be possible to offer building rights for entire building plots for private development.

Developing the site requires advance payments, which are approved by the cantonal council on an ongoing basis. The development of the site will enable the retention of existing jobs and the creation of new ones. It will generate additional rental/tax income and, in future, remuneration for building rights. Rosental Mitte is part of the canton’s financial assets, so it serves as an investment. The aim is to achieve an appropriate return, while taking account of policy objectives and public welfare.

As the site gradually opens up, so will new, direct, attractive and safe connections for pedestrians and cyclists. For instance, there will be a new route from the Erlenmatt neighbourhood to the Sandgruben school and the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel. The Rosental district,
which is currently fragmented, will be brought back together. New apartments will also increase the city’s housing supply
and help to reduce commuter traffic. New public open spaces, ground-floor facilities and roof areas will provide people with meeting places that are lacking in the neighbourhood today.

The basic concept for Rosental Mitte was formulated in the urban development plan that was presented to the public in January 2020. Public participation is taking place through proactive communication on key planning steps, such as development plans and zoning changes. The neighbourhood is being consulted in the planning of open spaces, ground floor uses and any interim uses of benefit to the district. Wherever possible, feedback is incorporated into future planning.

The aim is to achieve a certain level of building densification, which will take into account the type of buildings and the building heights and materials present in the neighbourhood, the district and the city. Smaller, medium and large-scale measures are planned for the site. Investments in existing buildings will bring new, contemporary commercial spaces onto the market. In the medium to long term plans include the construction of high-rise buildings with a mix of uses, which are yet to be defined.

Rosental Mitte is centrally located and has superb public transport connections. The Herzstück underground train project will improve connections even further in the medium to long term. Hence the goal is that in future most people will get around via public transport or by non-motorised means (by bike or on foot). However, the densification will also generate a certain amount of additional motorised private transport. The plan is for Rosental Mitte to have little in the way of motorised vehicles above ground once it is complete, so parking spaces are to be largely underground. Initial studies have shown that the efficiency of the existing road network can be guaranteed despite structural densification.

Although the ongoing development of Rosental Mitte is being undertaken in stages, a holistic view will prove essential as the project moves forward. The time line for development will depend on many factors, including the demand for commercial space and, above all, planning law and traffic and transport-related issues.

For buildings and uses that do not conform to today's zoning specifications, development plans are to be devised that are based on the urban development plan and are guided by the results of future calls for urban planning and architectural proposals.

Surveys to determine the site contamination status were completed in January 2017. Further soil surveys are currently being carried out. To date, long-term groundwater monitoring has not identified any issues in the current state. This monitoring will continue alongside the new demolition and construction projects, as contaminated excavated material is to be expected. More information will be provided on the rosentalmitte.ch website during the demolition of construction site A and the construction of Building 6.

Historic residential buildings on Maulbeerstrasse and Rosentalstrasse will be returned to residential use and the building rights turned over to cooperatives. The area will need to be subdivided to create building rights plots. The requisite processes have already been initiated and the submission procedure is expected to get under way from late 2022. Building 1080, at the heart of the site, has the potential for uses such as restaurants or cafés on the ground floor. Many of the existing buildings that are key to the site's identity will be retained in the medium to long term. Once the IWB thermal power station on Maulbeerstrasse is decommissioned, for instance, it may offer scope for conversion into a cultural and event space.

The existing industrial street spaces on the site will be opened up step by step through a range of minor and more major measures, and supplemented by new squares and other green areas. The new open spaces will create areas of greenery and places for people to meet. The restoration of historic thoroughfares through the district will ensure that the network of paths fits in perfectly with the existing neighbourhood.