Baloise to invest around CHF 200 million in its site in Basel

Basel, Baloise announces its “Baloise – Aeschengraben Replacement Buildings” project to the public, with a view to the application for planning permission on 14 January 2013. The extensive redevelopment will create 620 state-of-the-art workplaces for the Baloise Group and a new high standard business hotel for the city of Basel. Approximately 15,000 sq.m. of additional office and retail space will also be made available in an attractive location on completion of the final phase of the construction. The redevelopment of the site surrounding the Baloise Group head offices will enable the opening up of publicly accessible urban space, which will shape the character of the esplanade leading from Basel’s central railway station to Aeschenplatz square.

To mark the 150th anniversary of its insurance business, Baloise is making public its plans for a large-scale construction project and, at the same time, strongly endorsing the city of Basel, as a commercial centre and trade fair hub. The project involves a total investment of around CHF 200 million, which will see the head offices near the Centralbahnplatz redeveloped in several stages based on initial designs by the Miller & Maranta firm of architects.

As well as new buildings to replace the 35-year-old Hilton Basel hotel, the 60-year-old office building at Aeschengraben 25 and the building at Parkweg, the construction project will include the creation of new urban space for public use, which will shape the area around Centralbahnplatz in Basel. Commenting on the construction project, Andreas Burckhardt, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Bâloise Holding Ltd, said: “Baloise has maintained close ties to the city and its inhabitants for 150 years – a fact that is not just reflected in the company’s name. Baloise has always been proud of its local roots, despite its international orientation. With the creation of this publicly accessible urban space, we want to reinforce our local ties and offer the city’s inhabitants new areas to meet and work – benefits they will be able to appreciate as they go about their day-to-day business.”

The proposed major project will involve several successive phases of construction, which, on approval by the planning authorities, are expected to be completed in stages from 2014 onwards. The first phase will commence with the construction of a combined hotel and office building at Aeschengraben 25. The tower building, which will be limited to no more than 87 metres in height, will offer space for state-of-the-art and attractively designed offices and a high standard business hotel. Following on immediately, the next phase will see the dismantling of the Hilton Basel hotel building and the creation of a public square. The subsequent two phases will involve the new construction of the office buildings at Parkweg. These successive phases of the project will ensure the optimal continued use of the existing buildings.

The planned new construction and development of the site requires the submission on an urban development plan and a rezoning application. The plans and the environmental compatibility report will be on public display at the Basel City Planning Office at Rittergasse 14 for 30 days as of Monday, 14 January 2013.

The Baloise Group is more than just a traditional insurance company. The changing security, safety and service needs of society in the digital age lie at the heart of its business activities. The 7,400 or so employees of Baloise therefore focus on the wishes of their customers. The best possible customer service, combined with innovative products and services, makes Baloise the first choice for people who want to feel 'simply safe'. Located at the heart of Europe, with its head office in Basel, the Baloise Group is a provider of prevention, pension, assistance and insurance solutions. Its core markets are Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, with Baloise Bank SoBa, the Group also operates as a specialised financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. The Group offers innovative pension products to retail customers throughout Europe from its competence centre in Luxembourg. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares are listed in the main segment of the SIX Swiss Exchange.