With competition between regions intensifying, planners and economic development advocates at both the city and regional level have a new priority: create conditions that sustain an area’s appeal and continue to support companies on their path to success. One essential element of this process is providing commercial property and businesses premises that businesses can actually use. The Steinbeis Consulting Center Regional Development and Economic Development partnered with Pan Geo, a Stuttgart-based urban planning agency, to investigate the current state of commercial property in Regensburg and compile a recommended course of action for future city growth.
Many cities and regions in an economic upturn are finding that in just a few years, local companies will have few – or zero – spaces on which to expand. These cities and regions must “re-designate” commercial properties or play an active role in converting fallow land.
This is the challenge facing Regensburg. Situated in Germany’s Upper Palatinate, the city boasts a dense concentration of technology and industrial companies, making it an epicenter of growth in Bavaria. In 2007, the city commissioned Steinbeis and Pan Geo to devise a “commercial property model.” Drawing on an extensive analysis, the city would then use this model to accomplish two things. The first: specify the guidelines on how commercial property would be developed in the future. The second: redefine which industries would use these properties in the greater Regensburg area.
Steinbeis and Pan Geo thoroughly reviewed the existing data and conducted a written survey of Regensburg-based companies. They also interviewed selected experts and key players in the community. Using the information from the questionnaire, the duo was able to provide real information on what commercial properties would be needed by 2015, and why. These findings were checked and confirmed using GIFPRO, a forecasting system accepted by scientists everywhere.
During the second stage, the “needed” space already calculated was juxtaposed with the results of an on-site mapping exercise. As well as helping the consultants identify and assess potential premises, this compared the results to companies’ requirements. The results of the analysis were included in an overall course of action that set out the guidelines on how to develop commercial property. One finding stood out: cities and regions must work with their neighbors in developing planned commercial properties. Thanks to its extensive analysis and recommended measures, this model for commercial property development will prove highly valuable to Regensburg city planners and give urban developers and economic growth advocates real guidance on what steps to take.
Dr. Johannes Feifel
Pan Geo Stuttgart