An attractive business location in need of even more attractive areas

Several recent studies have confirmed once again: Fortunately, the Canton of Basel-Stadt is well-positioned to provide companies with outstanding location benefits and an excellent economic development framework. Given the ongoing limitations of spatial resources, the objective to keep developing additional economic areas remains a top priority for the Office of Economy and Labour.

An attractive business location in need of even more attractive areas

The Canton of Basel-Stadt is currently experiencing some of its best times ever. Value creation of companies located in the Canton and their total number of employees have continued to grow in recent years. When the cantonal electorate voted for the implementation of corporate tax reform (Federal Act on Tax Reform and OASI Funding) in the spring of 2019, Basel-Stadt effectively created additional legal stability and security that in reality function as growth incentives. This has already had a direct impact on the attractiveness of the business location. According to a study published by Credit Suisse in October 2019, the Canton of Basel-Stadt currently has the most attractive business framework and location benefits of all Swiss cantons on offer.

The eminent attractiveness of the business location of the Canton of Basel-Stadt has already left its mark in the real estate market, in particular for economic and business areas, and commercial properties. In the past couple of years, corporations have exhibited a consistently high demand for properties and areas related to inbound investments, founding of new companies, expansions and relocations. In its current survey of the development of economic areas in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the Office of Economy and Labour noted that the number of economic areas on offer in 2018 has decreased compared to the previous year, and that the overall availability of areas and lots for a diverse array of economic uses remains stagnant at relatively low levels.

According to an assessment by the Economic Development of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the present shortness of available business spaces is for one a welcome consequence of a surprisingly strong growth of the economy and local business. It also sends a clear message to investors and local authorities to develop and ready suitable economic areas and properties, along with the required regulatory framework respectively.

Development areas offer both long-term visions and short-term opportunities

While the Canton of Basel-Stadt fits neatly into an area of a mere 37km2 (a little over 14 square miles) and thus occupies the smallest territory of all Swiss cantons, the construction of Basel-Stadt is by no means near completion. Much to the contrary, a number of large development areas within the confines of the city (for instance Klybeckplus and Rosental) hold great potential and opportunities for further development in the Canton of Basel-Stadt for years and decades to come.

The executive government (“Regierungsrat”) of the Canton of Basel-Stadt has united behind a plan of high urban density development focusing on economic key projects in these development areas, which it also furthers by increased regulatory attention to land policy and control of land use within such economic areas. Add to this the initiatives from private property owners to create new areas for economic uses and trade, it is reasonable to expect a significant increase in the availability of suitable new business areas for companies in the mid to long term.

In the immediate future, well-advanced development projects such as Baloise Park (opening scheduled for 2020), the expansion of the Stücki Park (two annex buildings slated for opening in 2020, two more in 2023) or Werkarena (under construction since September 2019) are set to soon create an additional, diverse range of listings in the commercial real estate market. Furthermore, the Office of Economy and Labour is lending support to several entrepreneurs and initiators dedicated to the short-term creation of economic areas and business spaces, for instance by repurposing vacant buildings and floors in the large developmental areas in transition.

This diversified range of properties and areas on offer are an important contribution to increasing the flexibility of the economic area and commercial real estate market. They are key to expanding the quality and appeal of the business location Basel-Stadt, and perhaps even more importantly, to create a solid basis for healthy growth of the economy and employment in the future.