The foundation stone for today's Leitz Park was laid by Dr Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and majority shareholder of Leica Camera AG, with his vision of giving the optical industry a new home at the traditional location of Wetzlar. The starting signal was given in 2002 with the purchase of the former military site Schanzenfeld at the south-eastern gateway to the city. Here, an ultra-modern work and experience space for the Leica brand was to be created, where development, production, culture and history as well as architecture form a harmonious unit. The concept and design were put out to tender in a competition. The architectural firm Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg participated in the tender, was awarded the contract and is still responsible for the architectural design of the entire site.
From 2006 to 2009, the buildings of the optics companies Uwe Weller Feinwerktechnik GmbH and Viaoptic GmbH were built. This was followed in 2010 by the planning for the new corporate headquarters of Leica Camera AG, which was to represent a clear contrast in design to the first two buildings, which are still reminiscent of commercial buildings.
The aim was to design the Leitz Park as a city, with squares and buildings that form units and represent exceptional architecture. Following the Leica product portfolio, the shapes of a lens and binoculars became the central design elements for the company building, shaping the architecture of today's Leica company building. Together with Café Leitz, a modern version of the Barcelona Pavilion (1929) by Mies van der Rohe, the Leitz Park celebrated its opening in 2014.
The expansion of the unique location followed in 2016. The plans of the Frankfurt architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg now distanced themselves from the rectangular and circular shapes of the other buildings. Following the example of the architecture of the Italian Renaissance, four further buildings were constructed by 2018: the arcona Living Ernst Leitz Hotel, the Leica World with the Ernst Leitz Museum, the Leica Museum Shop, the Leica Archive, the Leica Store and the premises of the Global Leica Akademie as well as the company building of Leitz Cine Wetzlar. In addition, there is an office tower that houses the Ernst Leitz workshops as well as several smaller companies that have found an urban address and commercial space in the new quarter in the Leitz Park.