Berlin´s international airport (BER) to finally open in October 2020
Berlin´s international airport (BER) to finally open in October 2020 Berlin is approaching a remarkable milestone on 31 October this year. After 16 years of planning and construction works, the "Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport", or BER for short, is finally opening its doors to Berliners and city´s visitors. The airport´s initial opening in 2012 was cancelled and delayed several times due to various technical deficiencies. Now, eight years later, the big day is finally in close reach and the popular Tegel Airport (TXL) closes for good. The location around the BER airport is also developing at a fast pace transforming the district of Schönefeld into a key infrastructure hub and an attractive real estate location.
Image Source © Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH / Günter Wickery
From 31 October 2020, there will be only one major airport in Berlin. Berlin Brandenburg Airport "Willy Brandt" (BER) will be the point of contact for 27 million passengers a year who want to travel to or from Berlin. The airport was built in the immediate vicinity of the Schönefeld Airport (SFX), which is now a part of the BER with its own terminal. The new airport is also a place of work for more than 20,000 employees. And it is more than just an airport: with a 9,000 square metre marketplace, it offers a new place of gathering for shopping and gastronomy experience that is unique for German airports of this size.
A new railway station has been built at the airport, providing direct and fast connections to the city centre. In addition to an IC train, suburban and regional trains will stop here in the future, taking passengers to the city centre main station in just 30 minutes.
With the growth of Berlin and the metropolitan region, the need for higher transport capacity has increased over the years. After the reunification in 1990, the federal states of Brandenburg and Berlin began to consider a suitable location. Together with the Federal Government, they agreed on the site in Schönefeld in May 1996.
Following the planning approval decision in 2004, which included the closure of the two Berlin airports, Tempelhof and Tegel, the groundbreaking ceremony took place in 2006. At that time, the opening date was expected to be in 2011; in 2010, the date was postponed to 3 June 2012.
Only four weeks before the planned opening, the responsible persons had to admit serious problems with the fire protection system. As a result, further planned opening dates were set, but these had to be cancelled one after the other due to further safety-related deficiencies. After more than 3,000 days of delays, it is now considered as certain that the BER will start operating on 31 October 2020.
The role of the BER for Berlin
Due to its size, the BER has a significant influence on the further development of the Berlin-Brandenburg region. The managing director of the airport company expects that up to 60,000 new jobs could be created at BER and in the surrounding region within the next 20 years. For comparison: In the latest ranking from 2018, Deutsche Bahn ranks first among the largest employers in Berlin with almost 20,000 employees.
BER also plays an important role for tourism. Since the groundbreaking ceremony for the new airport took place 14 years ago, the number of passengers at Berlin's airports has almost doubled (from 18.4 million in 2006 to 35.6 million in 2019). It can therefore be assumed that the new BER will have to be further developed from the day it opens in order to cope with the capacity expected after the Corona period.
The attractiveness of the area near the new airport can also be seen in the population development forecast of the municipality of Schoenefeld, which is home to the airport. It reckons that the current figure of around 16,000 residents would more than double to just under 35,000 in the next ten years.
At the same time, the demand for residential and commercial real estate is continuously increasing. Some of development projects have already been realised and many more are in the development pipeline.
Overall, the region around BER is already an established business location with Germany's largest science and technology park, Berlin Adlershof (WISTA), only a few minutes' drive away. In addition, well-known companies such as Rolls-Royce, Mercedes or MTU can be found in the nearby district of Teltow-Fläming, one of the most important locations of the German aerospace industry. Tesla´s Gigafactory in Grünheide is also only 30 driving minutes away.
BER as real estate location
Where new jobs are being created, the demand for real estate normally increases – both commercial properties of all kinds as well as apartments and houses.
The area is meant to become a location of high quality of stay, with offices, co-working spaces, congress venues and diverse gastronomy offers.
While there has already been an increase in construction activity for flats in the area around BER between 2011 and 2016, the development is far from over: almost 27,000 flats are currently waiting for completion, a good two thirds of them as rented flats.
Directly adjacent to the airport terminal, the "Airport City" is being built. Next to offices on a total area of around 6.5 hectares, there will also be hotels, conference and congress spaces, restaurants and cafes as well as wellness and health offers in order to achieve an overall high quality of stay at the new highly regarded destination with excellent transport connections.
A second hotel is already in planning, as well as the two quarters "Airgate" as a gate to the airport and "Midfield Gardens".
The Airgate quarter will be characterised by predominantly office and hotel use, and there will also be catering facilities on the ground floors. The core of the quarter consists of two high-rise buildings, each with 15 storeys.
The Midfield Gardens quarter is located between Airport City and Airgate Quarter. It will reflect the contrasts between Berlin and Brandenburg (city and state). While a landscape park with solitary buildings is planned for the north of the quarter, urban densification is planned for the southern area.
Conclusion and Outlook
The long-awaited international airport in the German capital will clearly have a transformative character – a turning point for Berlin. Particularly the district of Schönefeld will transform into Berlins transportation and a new business hub. But also the districts that link the airport area with the city centre can be expected to benefit enormously from Berlin´s new landmark.
In order to adapt to the fast growing number of travellers, a large extension program has been set up by the airport company, the BER 2040 master plan.
The plan foresees a development of the site and of the local infrastructure links in five phases, so that the airport should be capable to serve up to 45 million passengers by 2025 and 58 million by 2040.
It includes a second terminal, creation of additional gates and pier extensions, the development of a central plaza at the existing site and an own passenger transport system. An airport city is also in the planning, it would extend from the terminal to the A113 motorway – the BER area is looking into a prosperous future as business and real estate location.
At a glance – Real Estate Projects around BER
These real estate projects near the new major airport are already in planning, under construction, or already completed.
- Schönefeld Tower; Schönefeld
GFA: ca. 70.000 sqm
Use: office, hotel, boarding house
- BRAIN BOX BERLIN; Berlin-Adlershof
UFA: 24.000 ssqm
Developer: PROFI PARTNER Projekt GmbH
- Commercial Quarter „The Walter“; Schönefeld- Waltersdorf
GFA: ca. 60.000 sqm
Use: office, hotel, gastronomy, congress space, logistics, light industrial
Developer: IGP Projekt GmbH
- Office campus with Business Hotel; Schönefeld-
UFA: ca. 50.000 sqm
Use: office, hotel
Marketing start: 2020
Developer: Alfons & Alfreda Management GmbH
- BB Business HUB; Schönefeld Airport
Rental area: ca. 35.000 sqm
Developer: Alpine Finanz Bau GmbH
- SQUARE 1, Berlin-Johannisthal, am Technologie und
GFA: ca. 132.000 sqm
Use: office, gastronomy, retail
Developer: BAUWERT AG
- Wohnen am Campus (Hermann-Dorner-Allee/Karl-Ziegler-Straße (am Technologiepark Adlershof):
11 residential buildings (micro apartments and apartments for rent), a children´s day care and 1.000 sqm of commercial space;
HOWOGE Wohnungsbaugesellschaft mbH
- Wohnensemble „Zaunkönige“ (Altglienicke): 8 city villas with 144 owner-occupied flats and shared gardens;
Developer: Streletzki Gruppe
- Wohnen im Ritterschlag (Schulzendorf): 300 terraced-, semi-detached and detached single-family houses.
Developer: Bonava (nördliches Areal) and Hanseatische Immobilien Treuhand
- 52° Nord, Wohnen am Wasser (Berlin-Grünau, Regattastraße): around 1.000 apartments, mainly owner-occupied and a children´s day care. Completion: 2024
Developer: BUWOG Bauträger GmbH
- Rathausvillen (Schönefeld centre): five buildings with a total of 154 rental apartments.
Developer: STRABAG Real Estate GmbH
Sources & References
• Berlin.de. Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg BER.
• Wikipedia. Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg.
• Welt. Am Flughafen BER könnten 60.000 Arbeitsplätze entstehen.
• IHK Berlin. TOP-100-Arbeitgeber in Berlin.
• MPW Immobilien. Wirtschaftstreiber Flughafen.
• Alegen in Immobilien. Warum der BER schon jetzt ein Glücksfall für den Berliner Immobilienmarkt ist.
• Immobilien Aktuell Magazin. Neue Quartiere am Berliner Flughafen BER.
• Immobilien Aktuell Magazin. Diese 12 Bauprojekte entstehen aktuell im BER-Umfeld.
• FBB Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg. Der Masterplan BER 2040 als strategisches Leitbild.
• Der Tagesspiegel. BER soll in fünf Etappen ausgebaut werden.