This is how Tesla’s Gigafactory affects the place

This is how Tesla’s Gigafactory affects the place


Heidesee. When Tesla boss Elon Musk announced the construction of a new gigafactory in Grünheide at the end of 2019, he made the whole of Brandenburg happy. The mayor of Heidesee Björn Langner (BfB), however, was not sure how to assess the issue.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

At first there were more than a few numbers, he says. And only one thing became clear from them: Tesla is an economic giant. 10,000 workers will soon work in the factory. At a glance, there are conversations of up to 40,000 people. This would make the Tesla factory the sixth largest city in Brandenburg. And a special feature that everyone is always arriving and leaving there.

Heidesee is not a gigafactory

From Heidesee it is easy to travel to Tesla, and above all fast. It takes only 13 minutes by car from the capital Friedersdorf. There are few places that are close to the new central star of Brandenburg’s economy. But Heidesee is the exact opposite of what comes to mind when you hear the word “Gigafactory”.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The municipality has a rural character, most of the area has forests, lakes and agriculture. Heidesee has eleven districts. Friedersdorf is the largest, with around 2,000 inhabitants. In the smallest, the hedgehog and the rabbit say good night to each other. Those who live there are looking for peace and quiet, and not necessarily giga projects.

Björn Langner, Mayor of Heidesee.

So the question was what Tesla would do with Heidesee. “It was not visible at first,” says Björn Lagner.

Two and a half years after the announcement, the first Teslas rolled off the assembly line in Grünheide. Of the 10,000 targeted employees, around 4,000 are already working in automated workshops, and the procedures for further expansion are already underway. The working engine is screaming. The effects on Heidesee are not yet fully visible.

Environmental study of Tesla in the country

The country has tried to show the events. There was an extensive Tesla environmental study designed to show the impact on nearby areas. How much living space is needed, how will the traffic grow? But from Dahme-Spreewald only two communities were considered: Königs Wusterhausen and Heidesee. And the result left many in Heidesee in disbelief. Because according to the paper, only 60 apartments are needed for Tesla employees because some prefer to live in Frankfurt (Oder), Storkow or Berlin. So no big deal?

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Björn Langner does not want to evaluate the research. “We are glad that at least two congregations from the LDS were able to participate,” he says diplomatically. And the investigation will continue.

Heidesee has more inhabitants than in 2003

In Heidesee city politics, however, the number is generally no more reliable than the state’s usual population forecast, which predicts a rapid decline in Heidesee’s population, which never happens. In fact, Heidesee today has almost seven percent more inhabitants than in 2003, young families move to the community every year, property and housing prices have recently doubled in one year and more and more investors are knocking on Björn Langner’s door who want to build something. somewhere.

That started before Tesla, because after all, BER is almost within throwing distance. But for Tesla, now you can say that demand has increased. “Companies that want to build apartments for Tesla employees contact us frequently,” Langner says. His administration currently has about 40 questions on development plans. Most of these would be residential projects: single-family home sites, townhouses, apartment blocks.

A view of the production hall at the open day of the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide.

A view of the production hall at the open day of the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide.

It’s a flood of interested participants that you definitely have to protect yourself in Heidesee. “We have to keep a balance,” says Björn Langner. But the municipality could not allow many construction projects, even if they wanted to. Because the state’s current development plan puts Heidesee in a tight corset: by 2030, the municipality can only designate an area the size of eleven football fields as new construction land, almost two of which already do not exist. Some will be used in two or three years, says Langner.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Pressure on the Heidsee regime

Pressure on the administration is still mounting. Now you have to prepare a land use plan, which takes a lot of time. City hall also does its own population forecast because the state’s is unreliable. With this in mind, infrastructure must be planned, childcare centers, schools and everything else. At the same time, property prices are rising. A daycare that cost 25,000 euros a few years ago is now estimated to be less than 50,000 euros. “We can’t afford it anymore,” says Langner.

Therefore the municipality intends to share the costs with all investors in the future. But the government must also do something to ensure that development does not get out of hand, says the mayor. Public transport throughout the region was considered very tight. The disused Landstraße 39 will also have to be re-established. If at least one bicycle bridge were built over the Oder-Spree Canal, you could cycle from Heidesee to Tesla. That would relieve traffic congestion, which is likely to be a problem for the entire Tesla Airport area in the medium term anyway.

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In general, says Langner, one has to look at the area more holistically to be able to evaluate the results of the development. Because it is not only the Gigafactory that demands from its neighbors. There is also BER, which the study ignored. There is Berlin. There are tropical islands. Giga, wherever you look. And right there in the middle, Heidesee tries to calm down.