2023 report
Participation – Districts

Having an impact. With creative teamwork. The “Carlswerk”.

A theatre on a commercial campus, and not just any theatre, but the Schauspiel Köln – that’s very special. But by no means everything. After all, Lukas Podolski, a football world champion, is a tenant. And all this is in perfect harmony with other tenants such as REWE Digital and Bastei Lübbe. These are the key features that make the “Carlswerk” so unique: the multifaceted tenant mix of commerce, gastronomy, leisure and culture. People don’t just work here; they climb, play football, eat and relax. It’s been 15 years now, just as long as BEOS has been based in the city on the Rhine – a double anniversary in other words.

Interview with the project team

How does it feel to have a world champion as a tenant?

It goes without saying that it’s pretty special. With the opening of STRASSENKICKER.BASE, former German international Lukas Podolski expanded his wide-ranging commitment in 2020. Here, he wants to bring to life the flair for street football that he grew up with. That the space is being used in such an interesting way also underlines its flexibility and helps make the district more attractive. The fact that Podolski chose the “Carlswerk” for his project feels – figuratively speaking – like another star on the BEOSphere shirt. Podolski was more than impressed when he saw the space for the first time following nine months of renovation. And we have seen that visitors are equally enthusiastic and flock to these halls in great numbers.

Which other tenants are you pleased to have?

All of our tenants in fact – we provide them with the ideal location for their business, but we also listen to their ideas and help put them into practice. These are above all large tenants such as Bastei Lübbe, REWE Digital, NKT and several others who have found and are making use of the perfect place to work here. With Tesla, we have a showroom that puts e-mobility in the limelight. In the Stuntwerk there is a bouldering hall, which attracts visitors with different climbing routes and varying levels of difficulty. The Schauspiel Köln divided its hall into two rooms which can both host performances at the same time and are equipped with rows of seats and technology, rounding off the theatre. The WellNest, which offers a day spa experience with sauna and whirlpool without having to book a hotel, is brand new. In this respect, the “Carlswerk” is an experience for visitors in every way and almost around the clock – both from a visual perspective with its varied architecture from different eras, as well as in terms of what it has to offer thanks to its wide range of commercial offerings and culinary options.

So the area is very much alive during the day as well as in the evening?

Exactly! The Schauspiel Köln is also a good example of this. While most performances take place in the evenings, those interested can find out more about the history of the theatre or what goes on in the individual workshops during the winter season as part of the “Behind the scenes” programme. Generally speaking, there is a lively, urban flair here. Anyone who remembers the purely industrial site from when we bought the property sometimes rubs their eyes in amazement even today. Every day, people flock to the area. Some to work, many to spend their free time there – whether in the wellness oasis, in restaurants, doing sport or at a theatre performance. This is the BEOSphere at its best, showing how the idea of participation works. All the people who visit the “Carlswerk” become part of the campus. And we watch and respond to their preferences – where they spend their breaks, have some quiet time or meet up for a chat. This could involve providing additional seating or shaded areas, for example.

And where else is participation celebrated?

We have two neighbourhood squares with green areas, deck chairs, table tennis tables and connected restaurants and cafés – for many people, these are their favourite places to relax and network. The feeling of togetherness can be felt especially in the CARLsGARTEN: it is the result of a spontaneous initiative by neighbours, employees of Bühnen Köln and third parties, who wanted to create space for self-sufficient living. This saw them plant the first raised beds for growing climate-resistant heirloom vegetables. In turn, this led some to the idea of offering educational courses on the subject. The workshops on cooking, but also on topics such as biodiversity and recycling, were so well received that a seed library was set up as a logical next step. In this way, one thing led to another, simply thanks the creativity and energy of everyone involved. With numerous flower and vegetable beds as well as thousands of birds, insects and microorganisms, the 3000 square metre CARLsGARTEN is an intact inner-city ecosystem that invites people to interact with it at any time.

Do you have any other favourite places in the “Carlswerk”?

In fact, I have several. The neighbourhood squares have developed an urban charm that can compete with inner-city locations. The football hall is the most popular place. Another highlight for us is of course our office – an industrial hall converted into a loft. It even served as a showroom and source of inspiration for many of our tenants when they were developing their own loft offices.

We are also in the process of creating more places for our tenants to enjoy. We will revitalise and upgrade around 5000 square metres of space, and a completely flexible new build is also planned. This will offer a wide variety of uses which are already established in the “Carlswerk”. As you can see, the site is gradually developing and particularly benefits from our day-to-day presence in this lively district. You could not get more participation, or more BEOSphere.

Inspiring football fans: the STRASSENKICKER.BASE by Lukas Podolski.

E-mobility in the limelight: Tesla’s showroom in the “Carlswerk”.

“The stage that means the world”: Schauspiel Köln has been inviting visitors to its theatres for over ten years.

Whether cafés or restaurants: the “Carlswerk” offers its visitors a wide range of dining options.

“Looking at the way in which people here live as part of a community and exchanging ideas, the “Carlswerk” shaped the beginnings of the BEOSphere. This sense of togetherness has given the district its own distinctive character. Simply by the way in which users have helped shape the site. As a place of action for entrepreneurs and creatives, its openness to new things makes it unique.”

Jochen Butz
Deputy Branch Manager, Rhine-Ruhr
On the way to the district

The 6 most important milestones

purchase of site
arrival of publishing house Bastei Lübbe
curtain raises at the Schauspiel Köln
launchpad for REWE Digital – from 1,000 sqm to 15,000 sqm today
opening of Tesla showroom
first match at Lukas Podolski’s football hall

The varied architecture from different eras shapes the overall image of the “Carlswerk”.

Every day, hundreds of visitors give energy to the Stuntwerk and other leisure facilities.

Green areas and raised beds such as in the CARLsGARTEN invite you to linger.

Loft offices and creative space concepts increase the quality of the time tenants and visitors spend there

“Carlswerk” – urban meeting spaces for Cologne

Key figures

sqm plot size
sqm total area