The HÜBNER Group is handing over its original plant location to the Kassel Public Transport Company (KVG) and the documenta world art exhibition

Kassel, Germany (2 September 2021). "Kassel-Bettenhausen – a location midway between industry and culture": Confident that it is placing its original, tradition-steeped company site in good hands, the HÜBNER Group is leaving Kassel's eastern district (Bettenhausen) after almost 50 years' presence there. The approximately 20,000 square meter site, where the company took historic steps to become the world's leading manufacturer of gangway systems for buses and rail vehicles, has now been sold to the Kassel Public Transport Company (KVG). The municipal transport company will significantly expand its presence in Bettenhausen with this new location.

From left to right: Dr. Sabine Schormann (Managing Director of documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH), Reinhard Hübner (Owner HÜBNER Group), Christian Geselle (Lord Mayor Kassel), Iswanto Hartono (ruangrupa, artistic director documenta fifteen), Dr. Michael Maxelon (Chairman of the Executive Board KVG AG), Ingolf Cedra (HÜBNER Managing Director) / Photo: Uwe Zucchi - © HÜBNER

Approximately 7,500 square meters of the site, representing a large portion of its original production facilities and the surrounding outdoor areas, will be made available to the documenta fifteen exhibition for interim use in 2022. "We have been supporting the documenta for many years. That we are now able to provide the largest exhibition space for documenta fifteen in addition to the ruruHaus and the traditional locations of the Fridericianum and the documenta Hall makes us very happy – also for the Bettenhausen district of Kassel," said HÜBNER General Manager Ingolf Cedra as the new use of the HÜBNER property was officially announced.

In addition to its support for the documenta, HÜBNER will also be providing major funding for the conversion of the neighboring Agathof Bunker into a cultural center adjacent to the former HÜBNER location. Cedra: "This way we can leave Bettenhausen with a nice parting gift. That was important to us. After all, this part of Kassel was our home for many decades and it is close to our hearts."

Kassel's Lord Mayor Christian Geselle, who serves as chairman of the KVG supervisory board as well as of the supervisory board of the documenta and Fridericianum Museum gGmbH, expressed his pleasure at the future prospects for the Kassel district: "Here in Bettenhausen, you can see how Kassel institutions are successfully working together for the good of the city in order to provide a decisive impetus for the positive development of an entire quarter of the city." During the documenta exhibition, Bettenhausen will become a centerpiece of the world's most important exhibition for contemporary art, which will bring a great deal of attention to the neighborhood. Geselle continued: "The fact that after the documenta fifteen exhibition, the e-bus fleet of the KVG will be based here is an important and also a sustainable step into the future. This is all very good news for Bettenhausen and the east side of Kassel as a whole."

From mobility to art and back to mobility again

By making use of the HÜBNER site among others, the documenta fifteen world art exhibition will be making the eastern section of Kassel a focal point. "The fact that the transformation of HÜBNER's former mobility production site into a mobility logistics hub for the KVG happens to coincide with the scheduling of the documenta is a real stroke of luck," remarks Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of the documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH. "With this location, the documenta fifteen exhibition can realize its vision of building a bridge across the Fulda River to the industrialized east of Kassel." Dr. Schormann recounts that after a tour of the area by the curator collective ruangrupa, it was immediately clear to them that the documenta fifteen belonged at this location. "The HÜBNER production halls provide fascinating testimony about the development of this district of the city with its many facets, which are there like an open history book. This is an aspect that ruangrupa will integrate this into their work for the exhibition."

Following documenta fifteen, the KVG will develop the premises into a local transportation hub starting in the fall of 2022. The KVG already has a depot close by. "For the KVG, the acquisition of the HÜBNER site offers a unique opportunity to expand at the Bettenhausen location and to open a new chapter in the history of the company – and to take this step efficiently and sustainably," said Dr. Michael Maxelon, Board Chairman of the KVG. "Here at this historic location, the KVG will provide an impetus for new initiatives in mobility and the further development of Kassel's public transport system. In particular, we are reviewing plans for the use of the two properties in connection with the development of an e-bus fleet for the KVG, as we're expecting to be fully committed to electric bus transport by 2023," said Maxelon. 

A special customer relationship

"The relationship between HÜBNER and the KVG has always had a special character. Kassel's public transport company is without doubt the customer in the bus segment that has received the most and the most innovative new developments from us, and it also has sometimes taken a role in testing them," emphasized HÜBNER General Manager Cedra. The KVG has made use of HÜBNER gangway systems, HÜBNER rubber profiles for windows and doors, and most recently a new corona driver protection system that was jointly developed by the two companies. "The fact that KVG is now taking over HÜBNER's first plant in Bettenhausen on a long-term basis rounds off a special customer relationship."