From industrial site to upbeat neighborhood

From industrial site to upbeat neighborhood

A playground for site developers is how the former 16-hectare Attisholz industrial site on the edge of the city of Solothurn in the Greater Zurich Area could be described. The Halter AG real estate company bought the premises in 2016 and wants to develop it as an urban neighborhood with apartments, workplaces, services and gastronomy options.  

The building housing the gravel oven, and the cooking acid silos, freight tunnel and other specific architectural features of the Attisholz site are a testimony to its industrial past. At its peak, around 2,000 people were employed in the former cellulose factory to manufacture paper. Halter AG plans to preserve and repurpose some of the historical architectural witnesses. One example: The old freight tunnel is intended as an important link for non-motorized traffic within the premises. The tunnel’s roof will be opened up to illuminate the passageway and create a gallery effect. This will also make the tunnel suitable as a venue for exhibitions or markets.

Halter AG wants to retain the character and history of the Attisholz site, or as concept developer Andreas Hänsenberger puts it: “We incorporate our vision into the existing site. Sometimes this doesn’t require that much effort. All you have to do is carefully evaluate the inventory you have and then put it to good use.”

The vision encompasses the plan to transform the Attishold site over the next 20 to 30 years into a lively and multifaceted district of Riedholz with over 1,000 apartments, workplaces, services and restaurants. So, if you go for a stroll down the Attisholz boulevard in a couple of years’ time, you may pass by street cafés, small stores or even art studios. You will be able to attend music concerts and sporting events in the Attisholz arena, and children will have lots of room to run around at the large playground.

The project promises to be a full-blown success. With Halter AG, the project has a site developer on board that takes the necessary time to implement an ambitious development project and is particularly focused on raising public acceptance. Halter AG already opened up the Attisholz site for the large-scale “Kettenreaktion” art project in 2016, making it available to a wide audience. Similar events are planned and form a vital component of the development strategy.

The Attisholz site possesses tremendous potential solely based on its location, with the city of Solothurn and its attractive cultural and leisure activities just a few minutes away. In addition, the site includes almost 3,300 feet of riverbank on the Aare and offers extremely exciting development possibilities. The Attisholz site – urban yet idyllic. The neighbors are also worth mentioning, such as the US biotech company Biogen, which is building a cutting-edge production facility on the opposite bank of the River Aare in Luterbach. Around 600 employees will be hard at work there as of 2019. The future Biogen employees will be able to look forward to an attractive offering of both restaurants and housing options.

Header picture: After: Construction work on the attractive arena has already started.


The Attisholz site will receive a complete makeover during the next 20 to 30 years.


Before: A central meeting hub for the Attisholz site will be created here.


About the author

Karl Brander was joining Solothurn Economic Development Agency SEDA over eight years ago. Before this, he got his PhD degree in Molecular Biology, Immunology and Allergology followed by several years of product and business development positions in Swiss companies and a position as director of sales of a US company. Karl Brander is executive director of the international and national investment program at SEDA, attracting and securing investment projects to the Canton of Solothurn.

Leave a Comment