In 2018, the Innovation Park Zurich Foundation worked through various fundamentals preparing for the start of the Innovation Park: 10,000 sqm of land in a public building zone were taken over and the area made accessible to the public by setting back the perimeter fence. The construction, and in March 2018 the opening of the information pavilion, its public café and the administrative office, gave the generation project its first face. The teams of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the associated start-ups have moved into the existing buildings and initial research activities are taking place on site. The usable area on the premises is not yet available to businesses. Therefore 600 sqm of office space have been made available at Stettbach station for a decentralized Innovation Park. This “waiting room” is increasingly filling up. Furthermore, HRS, the area development partner, is now on board to plan construction in 2019.
The continuing work of the Foundation and the Canton is characterised by fundamental issues in area planning, real estate, organisation and the settlement of users.
- The Canton of Zurich and the Federal government have negotiated the land contract for the first stage of 36 hectares. The three-part contract which governs the site transfer will be signed in December 2018. The Canton is subsequently scheduled to subcontract the building rights.
- Via the WTO tender procedure the Foundation has evaluated HRS as site developer. This company takes on responsibility for the real estate tasks (overall planning, renovation of the existing buildings and new buildings on the construction areas), and also develops and administers the future park ecosystem together with the Foundation. This co-operation is planned to start in the beginning of 2019.
- On 28th November 2018 the Zurich cantonal government applied for a CHF 217.6M credit commitment from the Cantonal Council, the larger part of which will be paid back to the Canton over the operational life of the park. Click here for the press release from 28th November.
- Companies who wish to relocate to the Innovation Park in the medium to long term, have set up in the decentralized park „waiting room“ on the Maagtechnic site near Stettbach Station.With VRMotion AG, NewGreenTec Gmbh, Matternet and the Sino-Swiss-Innovation Center (SSIC) top-class companies have moved in.
- The park orientation and profile has been sharpened to focus on sector clusters in robotics, space flight and material sciences – clusters that are useful to the economic and scientific Zurich region.
- In 2018 the park brand has been developed with over 100 events and tours with a total of more than 6000 visitors as well as over 50 presentations introducing the park concept and roll-out.
- The Foundation has worked through a feasibility study on future test infrastructure for all forms of mobility (drones, self-driving vehicles, robots, hyperloop technology etc.)
- In 2018 there were a number of complaint procedures and appeals against the Cantonal Design Plan as well as the rezoning of the perimeter development and the conversion of Hall 3. A process was brought to conclusion : The ETH application for conversion is final. The administrative court gave a green light for the interior construction. In October 2018 the Building Complaints Tribunal rejected the appeals against the Cantonal Design Plan (press release from 2nd November 2018). It is still unclear if the complainants will take their action further at the next instance. On 18th November Dübendorf Local Authority also made public the rezoning of the perimeter which was blocked by five appeals to the district council. In a referendum on 26th November Dübendorf voted to approve the rezoning with a close on 60% majority.
- An alternative start-up scenario was developed, in which the Innovation Park will be demerged from the military operation so that a simplified development can be ensured. This is a precaution in case the political decision about the new airfield operator takes longer than expected.
- An association process has been started with the possible locations in the Tessine (Bellinzona) and Central Switzerland (Rotkreuz) with the aim of networking both Innovation Parks with the local Zurich authority. This process has to be newly developed as it is the first time that Switzerland Innovation is looking at expanding the network.
- The Foundation Board is to be restructured to best meet the challenges of the next period (2019 – 2021). The panel should be disentangled from politics to ensure the governance of the canton. Furthermore the orientation of the park towards the private sector should be promoted.
With this preparatory work the Foundation can take on the expansion stages strategically and operatively from 2019. A delay can be expected due to the appeal proceedings. Resources must be secured for the Foundation’s operative unit as well.
November 28th 2018 / René Kalt, Director Switzerland Innovation Park Zurich