We are pleased to welcome a new member to the Eurhonet community: Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn, Germany. We spoke to CEO Dominik Buchta to find out more about one of the oldest active municipal housing providers in Germany…
Dominik Buchta, CEO, Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn
“When it comes to the future of cities, housing takes top priority. This means that in the expanding urban landscape, special attention must be given to housing alongside ecological and cultural needs. Affordable housing is a precondition for every individual and, in particular, for societal cohesion.”
A warm welcome to Eurhonet, Dominik Buchta! Can you first tell us a bit about the goals of Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn?
“Since we were founded in 1856, we have been committed to providing people in Heilbronn and the surrounding area with a home. Our aim is to create modern and affordable living spaces. With our portfolio of nearly 4,130 apartments, we are not just limited to the housing market. We are also active in the areas of project management and commercial development, making a comprehensive contribution to urban development.”
Our members will be looking forward to meeting you at our upcoming events. What is your background and how did you start working in the public and social housing sector?
“I am a civil engineer, and I began my career at a globally active industrial company, Freudenberg. Initially, I held the position of a planner and project manager there. During my professional journey, I pursued a part-time MBA degree and subsequently took on responsibilities for international project developments.
My entry into the housing industry was rather coincidental. As I was ready for a new professional challenge after more than 10 years in my previous role, I had the opportunity to take on the role of Technical Director for the housing company of the city of Heidelberg.”
What motivates you in your role?
“I have never regretted my transition to the housing industry, not for a second. On the contrary, working in the housing sector, which serves as an economic engine and a reliable employer with a clear socio-political mission, is something I find highly motivating, challenging, and fulfilling.”
What are the current challenges and priorities at Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn?
“It is of high importance for us to successfully complete our ongoing projects within the increasingly challenging operating conditions and offer them at affordable rents. With our 2025 strategy, we have set a clear goal to expand our housing portfolio up to 4,500 units by 2025.
However, there have certainly been more favourable times to create affordable housing.
The biggest challenge is facing rising credit and construction costs. Heilbronn is a growing metropolitan region, but its rental prices are not comparable yet to those larger cities like Stuttgart or Heidelberg. This is why the profitability of many construction projects unfortunately proves to be challenging. Furthermore, the gap between various income brackets is widening, making it increasingly challenging to offer affordable housing for families with low incomes.
Achieving climate neutrality by 2045 also represents an immense task for us. At Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn, this entails an annual reduction of approximately 300 tons of CO2.
Nevertheless, challenges always come with opportunities. Personally, I always find great satisfaction in making things happen and advancing large and rewarding projects. It’s always a significant milestone when a project idea becomes a reality, from the initial drawings through many, possibly demanding, months.”
Many of our other members are facing these same challenges. So, it will be useful to share experiences and work on strategies together.
Is there a recent project that you are particularly proud of?
“We take immense pride in the SKAIO project – the first wooden building above the high-rise threshold. SKAIO, a 34-meter high, 10-story timber-hybrid structure, serves as an example for future construction projects in Germany. For this project, we won the German Sustainability Award for Architecture 2021.”
Sharing this kind of best practice is what Eurhonet is all about! What made you want to join our network?
“From our perspective, Eurhonet stands for international networking, collaborative strategy development from diverse perspectives, cross-border knowledge exchange, and employee development within a European framework. For us, these are compelling advantages.
We are happy to participate in the topic groups and collaborate on developing fresh ideas, enhancing professional performance, and learning from each other through best practice examples. We hope that the diverse approaches across different countries enable our employees to broaden their horizons.”