“Some of the largest construction projects in the heart of Strasbourg have been shaped and realized by our company,” points out Managing Director Eric Fullenwarth. “Take the Zénith concert hall, the European Parliament building or other striking buildings in the European quarter, which itself was one of the largest building sites in Europe at the time – we were involved in all of them first-hand.”
It is indeed an impressive record of building sites and construction projects that have been realized by SERS. The semi-public company that was founded when reconstruction was the sign of the time in the 1950s and is partly owned by public bodies of the region, including the department Bas-Rhin, Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the City of Strasbourg.
Since December 2015 the Alsace region, the Grande Region Est with Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne and Ardenne, has joined in. Amongst its shareholders are the Caisse de Depot et de la Conseignation and various financial institutes as well as the Chamber of Commerce. “As a semi-public company, we have to operate economically like any other private company, and we have to comply with the public code of conduct that is binding for public bodies,” explains Mr. Fullenwarth.
The company’s main focus is on project development for urban planning and general building projects as well as on the management of public property, urban quarters and even two golf courses. However, the latter responsibilities are assigned to the subsidiary CEGIP.
Over the years, SERS has built up an impressive record of references, among them ZAC Étoile, a vast area with a concert hall, apartment buildings, the Parc Étoile and the Rivetoile shopping center, covering an area of 50 ha with 140,000 m2 of built area.
“The majority of our customers are municipalities from the Alsace region,” points out Mr. Fullenwarth. “While in the past the City of Strasbourg was able to assign projects directly to us, we now have to take part in tender processes, getting into direct competition with private companies active in urban planning.”
Most large buildings in and around Strasbourg clearly bear the signature of SERS, as the company has been involved in various landmark construction projects. As it is able to manage even the most complex projects and has a close eye on quality and sustainability, it is often the first address to turn to.
“We are not just concept-oriented, but we manage to translate plans into reality,” says Mr. Fullenwarth. “We aim to give meaning to new urban quarters and are able to provide all aspects of a project, incorporating technical realization, legal and administrative issues as well as financing, and we even enter into partnerships to share the risk with reliable partners. We always go the extra mile.”
The new eco quarter Danube might be seen as an example of a new sustainable building quarter that boasts energy-positive apartment complexes. “In order to save energy, the entire block is taken off the grid for at least one hour every day, with the loss of energy being temporarily compensated by an energy storage system that enables autonomy for at least one hour,” explains Mr. Fullenwarth. “Sustainability in all its aspects will become the guiding issue in the future.”
The next major project has already begun, as SERS has acquired the 1.5 ha area of the old tobacco factory in Strasbourg that gradually will be transformed into a new living space for Strasbourg University, a new youth hostel and Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts HEAR. The company’s keen staff members have begun to develop a new vision for this old building complex.