By John Revill
ZURICH (Reuters) – Siemens <SIEGn.DE> went back to its Berlin roots on Wednesday as it announced plans to invest up to 600 million euros ($681 million) to create an industrial and technology hub in the German capital.
The investment will help to create a new Siemensstadt, or Siemens city, in the part of Berlin where the engineering group’s predecessor company set up factories at the end of the 19th century.
The new project in Spandau, which covers an area of 70 hectares, aims to transform the large industrial area into a modern, urban district of the future, to promote innovation and collaboration between sciences and business, Siemens said.
As part of the project, Siemens’ current property in Spandau is to be developed into a technology park and base for business start-ups by the end of 2030.
Activities in fields such as distributed energy systems and energy management, electric vehicle technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain are to be based in Siemensstadt, the company said.
Siemens said the investment signalled its long-term commitment to Germany as a business location. Hundreds of jobs are likely to be created, though Siemens said it was too early to give a precise figure.
Last month the company said it would cut about 2,900 jobs in Germany as part of a restructuring plan to achieve 500 million euros in cost savings.
The trains-to-industrial-turbines group also said on Wednesday that it will create an industrial and scientific campus on the Berlin site to look at conventional power plant technology.
Chief Executive Joe Kaeser said the new Siemensstadt would follow the example of the original Siemmensstadt by helping to shape future industry.
“The idea behind the founding of Siemensstadt in 1897 was to combine space for working, researching and living to cultivate a beneficial symbiosis for a successful future,” he said.
“Today, too, we need to rethink the future of work. Working, learning and residential living will be more integrated, and increasing connectivity among people and things will create new ecosystems.”
Berlin mayor, Michael Mueller, said new jobs would be created and the city’s status as a scientific centre would be boosted by the investment.
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David Goodman)