Background

Techn'hom, creating business since 1872

Exit of SACM workers

Techn'hom has been a business and production centre for 130 years. Following the defeat of 1870, France lost Alsace, with the exception of Belfort and its territory, which formed the south area of the Upper Rhine. This small part of Alsace which remained under France underwent an extremely swift industrialisation process.

Its special status as a victorious town that remained French endowed a certain prestige that attracted both Alsatian populations who moved in order to remain French and businesses from Mulhouse that wanted to avoid the new customs barrier that cut them off from their original markets. This was the case for SACM, which subsequently became Alsthom in 1928 and DMC which intentionally set up its operations along the Basel-Paris rail link.

The space available was vast, located close to the city centre, yet outside the urban boundary, thus enabling a large factory area to be built along with employee housing estates, churches and schools. The context was extremely favourable for these developing companies, one of which was SACM, which constructed locomotives for the French railway, in full expansion at the time. The site and the factories continued to grow throughout the first half of the 20th century.

 

DMC Overview - 1946

However, from the 1960s onwards, the textile industry began to suffer from cheap foreign competition. DMC decided to recentre its activities at Mulhouse and sold its Belfort factory to the Bull Machine Company, which produced computer terminals. In 1973, the oil crisis sent shock waves through the world economy. For Alstom in the Territoire de Belfort, this energy crisis has unexpected, positive consequences: the TGV (high speed train) relinquished its gas turbines for electric motors that were manufactured at Belfort. At the same time, the civil nuclear programme was stepped up and Alstom also benefited from this development. Belfort's premier company was in good shape at a time when the economy was not favourable.

Bull at Belfort in the 70s

From 1984 onwards, Alsthom's Belfort factory witnessed a major drop in business as production of the first TGV equipment and that of the French nuclear park came to an end. To compensate for this setback, all hopes were pinned on the expanding computer industry, with BULL which was located in the area. However, this did not last long as from 1986 onwards, Bull's business slowly started to decline, ending in 1991, with the closure of the factory.

It was in the 1990s that the traditional development and organisational dynamism was totally upset, first of all with the closure of Bull in 1991 and then with the successive crises encountered by the Alstom group at the beginning of the 21st century.

The local authorities were fully aware of the consequences on employment and the future of the industrial structure in the Belfort region and they were convinced of the need to take determined, ambitious action in the area.
In 1993, the first impetus came with TANDEM's purchase of Bull's former premises with a total surface area of 55,000 m² - the Belfort Technopôle (technology cluster).
In 2005 and then in 2009, a new Alstom local purchasing policy opened up the way for the Techn'hom project.

Techn'hom - an urban requalification project serving business and employment

In the summer of 2005, the local authorities, backed by TANDEM commenced a major industrial development programme called Techn'hom. The aim was to develop two neighbouring business locations into a single 110 hectare site - Belfort Technopole (the converted Bull site) and the Trois Chênes site, Alstom's historic location.

2005: start of the Techn'hom project and creation of a ZAC urban development zone

This project brought together the local authorities, the State, Europe and TANDEM in an urban development project (ZAC). Requalification of the exterior areas was initiated as part of an urban development scheme designed by Reichen et Robert et Associés, town planners and architects.

TANDEM places great importance on the park's appeal

In addition, TANDEM has committed its own equity to a renovation and new building programme. It decided to set up a full range of services to improve company competitiveness and to facilitate employees' day to day life - Wifi, business centre, craft production facility, crèche, restaurant, gym, etc.