Decommissioned in 2021, Berlin’s Tegel Airport will see a new lease of life as UTR (Urban Tech Republic), an innovation space.

UTR will provide the city of Berlin with space for industrial, commercial, and research activities. The innovation park will focus on those aspects needed to sustain the growing cities of the 21st century, such as efficient net-zero energy systems, environmentally-friendly transportation, clean water, recycling and use of sustainable materials in construction. Members of academia and researchers will meet here and start-ups will be able to connect with investors.

A number of technology companies have already signed leases at UTR, with around 17,222ft2 in offices and workshops and 64,583ft2of experimental space are in use today.

Berlin-based Vay Technology is workshops and garages as well as experimental areas on the former taxiway for its remote-controlled cars. BIT, a young technology company that carries out research and development projects on behalf of Berlin institutions in areas such as battery development and 3D printing, has also moved in. Team manager Benjamin Wette explained: "We were looking for larger experimental space for prototyping; we were very cramped at our old location. Here we have a better environment, and the research and industrial park under construction with its many new cooperation opportunities is just the right ambience for us."

According to Gudrun Sack, managing director of Tegel Projekt, the main constructer of UTR, these first companies show the importance of such a location. The Tegel airport will become a crucial hub for R&D in Berlin and will strengthen Berlin's business and scientific community.