PHOENIX West is an area of 115 hectares in Dortmund, Germany. For over 160 years, the industrial complex of PHOENIX West was an icon for both the city and the region of North Rhein-Westphalia, whose local economy was based on coal and steel. Profound fluctuations in these industries affected the local economy for decades.
Steel production in Dortmund ended with the closure of the PHOENIX West factory in 1998 and of the neighbouring Phoenix East area in 2001. Most of the machinery and buildings were dismantled and sold off.
Remaining today as a standing monument to the history of PHOENIX West are just a few halls, the blast furnace complex, a gasometer, and two cooling towers.
Recognizing the important role of these landmarks for the local identity and the incredible potential of their reuse and repurpose to relaunch local economies, the World of Walas group has developed an holistic concept for the redevelopment of the area.
In the second half of 2018, Walas acquired the blast furnace complex and the Schalthaus hall, making manifest the commitment of the Walas team in supporting this district and city in the process of transition.
Walas will work in close collaboration with the city of Dortmund on the retrofitting of the historic building complex and on the redevelopment of the PHOENIX West area. In the first months, the Walas team has been engaging with stakeholders and working further on the development concept.
The area will be redeveloped gradually and organically for its community. The reactivation of the historic hall, called Schalthaus 101, and the progressive reopening of the blast furnace complex will bring back life in the ensemble at first stage.
The Schalthaus will be used as structure and the box-in-box system will create room for creatives and businesses.
Around and within the parts of the steel mill complex and on the closed free plot, new revolutionary and landmark buildings will come, and will host, amongst others an innovation center, a future home to new ideas in technology, services, farming and entrepreneurship, and a centre for Earth Charter Cities.
This development is supporting the transition of PHOENIX West into a place where people want to live, work and play. This is the first step towards the fourth industrial revolution.
Walas wants to bring together talented entrepreneurs, artisans, scientists and artists to create new urban environments. To create economies.
We know that when creative communities cooperate with universities, vocational schools and traditional trades; new business ideas and innovative business models can be generated.
We are convinced that we can bring new energy into local economic cycles and thus become a model on a global level for sustainable development. Global thinking, local action.
How can Walas in Dortmund and in particular on the PHOENIX West site support the local development process and promote the strengths, talents and potential of the citizens?
In collaboration with the city council and local politicians, we want to better capture, connect, coordinate and advance citizens’ activities, initiatives and innovations. This can be the new harvest for Dortmund.
The focus of the local economy was once the coal and steel industries, however these industries have been undergoing a profound structural change for decades.
For the City of Dortmund, there is a vision that promotes change to a more modern local economy based on service, knowledge, technology and logistics. This is the first step in the direction of the fourth industrial revolution.
A tour through PHOENIX West with Walas CEO, Gerben van Straaten