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Laura Caluori, assistant in site development

Setting the course for successful site development

Erika Suter, Editor, 08. November 2019

1 Laura, maybe you could introduce yourself?

Hello, my name is Laura Caluori. I am 26 years old and come from Bonaduz. I have been working in real estate for RhB in the Finances Division since June 2016. Over the last three and a half years, I have been able to gather practical experience in the development of real estate. I graduated in Business Administration and am currently topping that by doing a course to gain my Swiss Federal Professional Certificate as a real estate developer in Zurich. 

2 Urban sprawl is a focal topic in Switzerland at the moment. What is it about?

From time immemorial, the development of settlements has played an important social, economic and cultural role. In Switzerland, with its limited possibilities in terms of developed land, spatial and site development is a particularly pressing matter. The long-term development of our living space is detailed in the Swiss Federal Constitution and in the Federal Law on Urban Land-Use Planning (RPG). One goal that is being strived for in this planning is development ‘within’. 

3 Development ‘within’: what exactly does that mean?

The idea is to make more of badly used building zones, gap sites and layland before developing new building land or perhaps even creating new zones. Towns and villages should no longer develop on the edges of their current area but within the existing areas. The idea behind this is that uncontrolled suburban spread be slowed down and that cultural land and landscape be protected. The ongoing political discussions about the limitation of new growth areas and building in a more compact way illustrate two long-term trends: putting less strain on the land and using existing land in an intelligent and sustainable way. 

4 And so where does RhB come into it in this discussion?

The internal development I've just detailed helps make it possible to use the potential of settlement areas that are well connected to public transport. RhB owns various plots of land along the route which have just that kind of development potential due to their central location. Our aim is to manage the larger station sites with a central position in a sustainable manner to offer the rare commodity of land in a way that suits contemporary needs. 

5 What exactly does that mean?

The sites should be enhanced and made to be attractive, bustling and well connected service centres – totally in line with the owner strategy of the canton of Graubünden. Alongside Rhaetian Railway as owner of these sites, towns, municipalities and business are also usually interested in the way these properties are used. 

6 How is RhB proceeding in the planning of the further development?

The first and central step in deciding on whether a particular property should be developed or not is a site and market analysis. It forms the basis of further strategic planning. This is where the course is being set for successful development. 

7 What is the current status? Where are there specific changes?

RhB is currently in different project phases in around 15 locations. According to the project and stage of the procedure, important milestones could be achieved in the last year. 

8 Could you maybe describe two or three projects in more detail?

The ones that are most advanced are the site development projects Domat/Ems, Ilanz and Pontresina. The municipality of Ilanz/Glion is having a new, attractive station building built at Ilanz station. Today's station with the adjacent little kiosk is very much in need of redevelopment and no longer fits in with the newly created surroundings. We are planning a new, multi-storey station building encouraging public use of the ground floor with flexible use of the upper storeys as business and training premises and even residential properties. It's very much the same picture in Domat/Ems. Here too, the plan is to construct a new, multi-storey station building. At the same time, the station site is to be comprehensively redeveloped and feature an improved arrival and waiting area as well as parking spaces. For the site development project in Pontresina, we are currently working on a superstructure and development concept. The special thing about this site is that part of it lies in the municipality of Pontresina and part in Celerina.

9 9What are the prospects for future site development at RhB?

We are very aware of the fact that land in Switzerland is an extremely limited commodity and that we therefore have to act realistically and in a sustainable manner. We don’t just have lots of areas with considerable potential at our disposal for possible development. The sites RhB owns today are valuable and we have to make the best we can of them. 

10 Thank you for your insights, Laura!

You’re welcome. 

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