Image default

Lilly creates a good atmosphere in Alzey

The US pharmaceutical giant Lilly is building a high-tech production facility in Alzey, Rhineland-Palatinate. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place in the afternoon. Life in the small town is turned upside down.

Sandra Biegger

Alzey is a tranquil little town in Rheinhessen: located south of Mainz, surrounded by vineyards. An idyll with half-timbered houses, wineries, but also good transport connections. The A61 and A63 intersect here, and huge motorway bridges pass to the west and east of the town. The people who live in the region like to claim that life is easier here than in other parts of the republic. Traditionally this is explained by the lovely landscape and the wine.

Since it became clear that the US pharmaceutical giant Lilly wants to invest billions in the city, the mood of many people in Alzey has been even better. Conversations on the market square, in cafés or pubs often involve Lilly settling in the East Industrial Area. For most people, enthusiasm predominates – as was the case with Ruth Hammer.

“Sure, you're proud when Alzey becomes famous because such a global investor settles here,” says the Rhine-Hesse native. “And that the city has also managed to meet the requirements for this.” Hammer's acquaintance Siegfried Schwarz nods in agreement. He hopes that Lilly's settlement will create many jobs and the city will collect more taxes. So far, Alzey has also been chronically clammy.

Project of superlatives

The news that Lilly, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, was setting up shop in Rheinhessen made waves last fall. 2.3 billion euros investment, 1,000 new jobs. According to its own information, Lilly primarily wants to produce medication in Alzey that is injected. This could include, among other things, a so-called weight loss injection. This drug for people with diabetes and obesity is currently in high demand worldwide. A growth market.

There is also great enthusiasm among politicians about Lilly's investment decision in Germany – at local, state and federal levels. We hear again and again: “Finally something positive in economically challenging times!” Lilly wants to start production in Alzey in 2027. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach will also be present at the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony.

A lot of honor, a lot of work

For the mayor of Alzey, Steffen Jung (SPD), the Lilly settlement not only brings with it a lot of praise and attention, but also a lot of work – on very different levels. The East industrial area, in which Lilly will build on 30 hectares, was expanded a few years ago; However, the development plan had to be repeatedly adapted to the needs of the pharmaceutical giant.

Coordinating with an international company is completely new territory for Jung and most of his employees. Not only because a lot of things are in English and video switching – even with top German politicians – often has to take place at night due to time constraints. Added to this is the high time pressure. Lilly would like to start production in Alzey as quickly as possible. The first discussions between the city and the company took place less than a year ago.

Alzey's mayor Steffen Jung (right) has had his hands full for a year.

Living space and daycare spaces

And then Jung and his team also have to ensure that additional daycare and school places are created and new living space is created. Ultimately, the 1,000 employees and their families targeted by Lilly have to live somewhere; their children are looked after and taught. Not an easy undertaking, as there is already hardly any vacancy in Alzey. The city lies between the urban centers of Rhine-Main and Rhine-Neckar.

The big challenge for Jung and his team at the moment is to set the course without knowing how much additional living space is really needed. The local politician assumes that many Alzeyers who currently work in Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, Mainz or Frankfurt, for example, will also work for Lilly in the future.

Jung says that at the moment it's a bit like looking into the crystal ball as to how much additional living space will actually be needed in the end. Nevertheless, considerations are ongoing as to which areas could be designated as new development areas. Not only in Alzey, but also in neighboring communities.

Citizens' initiative cheers

What Mayor Jung currently has less to do with are protests against Lilly's settlement. And this despite the fact that a few years ago, due to the expansion of the East industrial area, citizens came together to form an interest group: the IG Holzweg. The initiators feared, among other things, a disfigurement of the landscape, a lot of noise and problems with flood protection due to the sealing of areas. Another concern was that the residents would have to live with the negative consequences of the expansion, but that only companies would settle in the industrial area that would hardly create any new jobs.

The citizens' initiative monitored the expansion plans critically for years. However, she sees her main concerns as having been dispelled by the establishment of the pharmaceutical company Lilly. IG Holzweg member Christoph Meurer even describes Lilly as a “stroke of luck” for Alzey. The large and financially well-positioned company could bring great benefit to the city and the entire region – not only economically, but also in terms of flood protection, for example. In addition, it is now clear that there will be larger renaturation and compensation areas than originally planned.

And so harmony and confidence currently dominate in Alzey when it comes to the Lilly settlement – a situation that is rather rare in connection with large-scale industrial projects. To ensure that it stays that way, the US pharmaceutical giant and the city want to do a lot. There will be a festival for everyone in the fall, and a citizens' office will also be set up in the city center where those interested can find out about the progress of the work.

Jan Plate, HR, tagesschau, April 8, 2024 3:00 p.m

Related posts

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.