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Commercial real estate development program

On March 9, 2021, the Frankfurt City Council approved the Commercial Real Estate Development Program, laying the planning basis for an urban development concept as per section 1 para. 6 no. 11 of the plan. As a result of the City Council resolution of June 9, 2022, the Commercial Real Estate Development Program was updated as regards the urban-planning regulations for computer centers in commercial and industrial parks. These were adjusted to reflect the current social, economic, ecological, and urban trends in Frankfurt/Main and the related challenges. The concept lays the foundations for the long-term development and assured provision of zones for industry, commerce, and the trades. It also doubles up as the guideline for future decisions and planning.

The program is based on the Commercial Real Estate Register, the areas identified for commercial development in the Regional Land Use Plan, and the “Spatial-Functional Commerce & Industry Development Concept” outlined in the Industry Masterplan.

The site types defined in the Commercial Real Estate Development Program provide substantive and spatial specifications as regards the conservation and development objectives for commercial sites for development. They serve as guidelines for advisory services on relocation, construction, and urban development planning. The Commercial Real Estate Development Program distinguishes between eight site types:

•    Industrial parks (high emission levels)
•    Commercial properties (emission levels)
•    Ports / logistics (emissions / heavy traffic)
•    District commerce (limited emission levels)
•    Urban districts
•    Urban commercial / office properties (limited emission levels)
•    Trade (limited emission levels / heavy traffic)
•    Data parks (emission levels)

Commercial Real Estate Development Program  Site types and development goals © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.

The resolution specifies the following detailed points:

The updated version mentions a series of commercial parks. The intention is to prepare or alter the zoning plans for these with a view to securing the development of these locations. They include both existing zones within the city limits and those that are designated for growth.

Going forward, the following shall apply to protection zones around the industrial and commercial areas: In the case of pending housing projects or housing projects still requiring authorization, these and existing industrial and/or commercial properties shall take mutual consideration of each other. For industrial sites, a protection perimeter of 500 meters to housing is set, for port and logistics sites 300 meters, and for commercial and/or data parks 100 meters. This serves to ensure healthy residential and working conditions and to secure existing commercial and industrial sites.

The plan is to devise dialog-based urban-planning concepts for specific development zones in Fechenheim, Griesheim, and Rödelheim. The objective is to activate potential commercial areas. The development zones bundle sites where there is a great need for action. On the one hand, they are characterized by very complicated problematic locations and, on the other, by having considerable potential real estate (including unused or under-used land).

Extensive potential real estate is available within the commercial areas in the Rödelheim development zone. One central obstacle to development is the already very high volume of traffic on the surrounding road network. For this reason, the City Executive has been tasked with persuading the State of Hessen and, if necessary, the federal government with significantly improving the connections between the commercial parks in the Rödelheim/Sossenheim development zone and the federal interstates in the location of the Frankfurt northwest cloverleaf junction.

Gewerbeflächenentwicklungsprogramm - Massnahmen © Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt am Main

On the basis of experience garnered with the model project to develop a sustainable commercial park at North Fechenheim / Seckbach, new sites will be evaluated and explored with a view to managing new zones. Likewise on the back of experiences gained, plans to develop a “Zero Emissions Commercial Park” will be assessed with a view to initiating a pilot project.

One special role stipulates that upon the sale or leasing out of properties owned by the City of Frankfurt, the new owners or tenants must uphold the existing use. The same applies to municipal operations and companies located in sites that are classified as Industry and Commercial or Port and Logistics site types: Only in justified exceptions will it be permitted for them to be used for exceptionally approved usages in the city’s own interests.

To meet the need for commercial real estate, in Frankfurt at least one new commercial park will be developed. As one possible location for it, the plan is to evaluate the suitability of the area “North of Züricher Strasse” as a commercial park.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Program also envisages the development of a uniform business zone concept. Moreover, it also sets out plans for strengthening regional cooperation in FrankfurtRhineMain. Finally, it specifies that a development company be established to acquire, develop, manage, and market properties, real estate, or complete commercial zones.

Contact partner(s)

Mr. Thomas Hickmann

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 34930