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Fechenheim - Vibrant Centers

Urban renewal process as per the Federal-State Program for “Vibrant Centers – Preserving and Developing District & Town Centers” (formerly Energizing Centers – Fechenheim”)

Urban revitalization
District: Local district:
Size of area:
31 ha
Project management:

Ms. Heike Kuhn
fone: +49 (0)69 212 30572

Project description

Reason for planning
Through a resolution adopted by the State of Hessen on October 31, 2008 the district center of Fechenheim was included in the “Energized District Centers in Hessen” (new name: “Vibrant Centers”) urban development support program.

As a district defined by industry, Fechenheim has been especially affected by economic, demographic and social structural change for decades now. In particular, on account of deindustrialization and the loss of local employment opportunities in which this resulted, the district has an above-average unemployment rate.

Development area

The area for which the funding has been designated for covers approx. 31 hectares and extends from the main commercial district on the road called Alt-Fechenheim. It contains the surrounding roads with all the relevant retail and commercial spaces, as well as those with potential. In the west it is bordered by Konstanzer Strasse and Fachfeldstrasse, in the east by the River Main. The entrances to the main commercial district on Alt-Fechenheim, from the streetcar turnoff in the north to the edge of the cemetery in the south, and from there via Einbiglerweg, Starkenburger Strasse and Sedanstrasse to Fachfeldstrassee, are further boundaries.

Planning objectives
To date the possibilities that Fechenheim offers in terms of retail and supply, housing, culture, leisure time and as a place to work has not been sufficiently exploited. Getting local players and initiatives actively involved and networking them will have a positive impact on development and strengthen Fechenheim’s competitiveness.
In addition to strengthening the main shopping street in the district center, thereby improving the supply of basic needs, further objectives are to create new housing, modernize buildings that define the district’s appearance, and enhance roads and open spaces. In this context, the location directly by the River Main harbors enormous potential.

Project progress
Adopted by the City Council on March 25, 2010, a resolution in accordance with section 171 b of the German Building Code (BGB) formally determined the development area to be an urban restructuring area.
The integrated action plan forms the planning basis for implementation of the “Energized District Centers – Frankfurt Fechenheim” support program. It is the strategy for breathing new life into the district center and also forms the work plan for the entire duration of the process. It serves to communicate the projects to citizens, investors, and other players in the district center. The City Council adopted the integrated action plan on September 30, 2010.

“District center management” constituted a crucial element of the integrated approach of the public-private partnership rejuvenation program; the scheme included the relevant players and provided the population with information about various measures and issues associated with the “Energized District Centers” support program..
Between April 2011 and the end of 2019 Deutsche Stadt- und Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (DSK) was responsible for the district center management in Fechenheim. The neighborhood office on Alt-Fechenheim opened in May 2011, and on selected days employees of DSK were available for contact by citizens.

During this time numerous measures were implemented, for example the redevelopment of the forecourt in front of Childcare Center 27, the makeover of the alleyways leading to the banks of the River Main, the development of a district logo and the open-air gallery, and played a considerable role in improving the district’s image. Explanations of the individual projects and further information is available under “More information – measures and individual projects”.
The new project included is the playground and leisure area on Konstanzer Strasse, a hitherto unbuilt zone located on the corner of Bodenseestrasse and Konstanzer Strasse. The project has been registered with the Support Office and is therefore not included in the integrated action concept. Since the area lies outside the section covered by the support program thus far, the City Council had to agree to the expansion of the zone covered by grants; the resolution was passed on March 26, 2020 (see the current map of the area covered by the support program).

With the “Energized District Centers – Frankfurt Fechenheim” program having run for over ten years, the period of active support for the measure as a whole has come to an end. However, implementation of the support program has not yet been concluded. Further projects will be conducted as part of the program, and the relevant information will be announced here. In future too, meetings with the Local Partnership participation committee to discuss measures will still be held in the neighborhood office (former district management office) or as an online session. The “Energized District Centers” program in Fechenheim is expected to run up to and including 2024.

With a view to keeping the “Stadtteilbüro” neighborhood office open after the end of the district center management team’s project, the premises have now been taken over (financed by Frankfurt’s “Active Neighborhood” program) by the successor organization, the “Nachbarschaftsbüro Fechenheim” and Programm „Aktive Nachbarschaft“) and as of February 2020 remain open to citizens.

To the district management page

To the district management page

More information

Integrated action plan

Front page: integrated action concept

The Energized District Center program pursues an integrated approach and aims in the long term to strengthen and develop urban life in town and district centers. This involves taking all relevant urban aspects such as retail, housing, open space, culture, transport, leisure time and recreation into consideration and then coordinating how they interact. For this reason, the integrated action plan is a decisive element in structuring the EDC program; on its basis, pre-investment and investment projects can then be developed and realized. As such it is the working program for the duration of the program and serves to communicate the projects to citizens, investors, and other EDC players. Individual measures are only eligible for a subsidy if they are in line with the integrated action plan and are derived from it.

In April 2010, the draft plan was agreed with the Hessen Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport and Regional Development, and on September 30, 2010 it was adopted by the City Council. in the City Parliament’s information system (PARLIS) the Frankfurt Fechenheim district integrated action plan is attached as Annex 1 under the submission by the City Executive of June 25, 2010 and is available for download on this page as a PDF file.

Local Partnership

The Local Partnership is the main committee for the inclusion of local residents, entrepreneurs, owners of plots of land, representatives of cultural and social facilities, initiatives and associations in consultations. In December 2019 the Local Partnership convened for what was already its 75th meeting, a fact that in itself is a reflection of the high level of personal commitment on the part of all those involved.
The Local Partnership is the committee in which together with the municipal authorities all relevant players in the center develop and realize concepts to strengthen the downtown area. The Local Partnership’s brief is to adopt a steering function in accompanying and supporting the development of the district center.
The members of the Local Partnership act as experts, bringing their own particular knowledge of Fechenheim and its center to bear. They also act as multipliers in their own particular spheres of influence and promote the scheme’s objectives and measures in the district. Third, they functions as sponsors who prepare and conduct private and civic initiatives and projects to support the development of the district center.

The Local Partnership is currently made up of 16 named members as well as representative of Wirtschaftsförderung Frankfurt, the city’s business development agency, and the local authorities. Working groups were established to handle specific issues such as the gateways to the district and setting up a district website.

Contingency funding from the City of Frankfurt
With a view to encouraging commitment geared to the common good, the City of Frankfurt makes available to those areas undergoing urban renewal a budget (contingency fund) with which to carry out minor local projects and implement measures. The fund is destined to make independent civic activity possible with little or no red tape specifically in areas that do not otherwise attract investment.

Preservation by-law no. 30

Fechenheim has at its heart a number of buildings that clearly illustrate the history of the district. There are, for example, former farmsteads, workers’ houses dating from the early industrial era and multi-story buildings from the end of the 19th century. In order to be able to ensure these structural peculiarities of Fechenheim are preserved for posterity, on January 27, 2011 the city councilors adopted Preservation By-Law no. 30, South Fechenheim. This came into force on March 22, 2011, meaning that its objectives must now be taken into consideration in all structural measures.

The 04/12 issue of Baustein clearly portrays the characteristics of the district; it also features the text of the by-law and the area to which it applies.

Contingent fund

City of Frankfurt Contingent Fund for Areas that come under Urban Development Promotion, © City of Frankfurt Planning Department

With a view to strengthening its commitment to the common good, the City of Frankfurt is making available to those districts undergoing urban renewal a budget (contingent fund) for the execution of minor local projects and measures. In an unbureaucratic way the fund will enable independent civic activity in the non-investment field.

Do you have an idea that could be used to play an active role in your neighborhood? The City of Frankfurt will be pleased to reimburse you for your efforts.

Initial ideas for projects can be discussed informally with the neighborhood management team.

Click here for the neighborhood office.

Logo for the district of Fechenheim

The new logo for Fechenheim "Aktive Kernbereiche" in Fechenheim, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The idea for a project to design a logo for the district of Fechenheim came from “Entrances in Fechenheim” working group, a Local Partnership initiative that is part of the “Energized District Centers in Hessen” urban development support program. The new logo is intended to accompany s residents of and visitors to the district of Fechenheim, make it more visible, and position it beyond its boundaries in the city and indeed the region.
On the basis of a civic participation measure, in 2011 Fechenheim-based design studio Lie produced three logos. For this the “Energized District Centers” management team asked residents what they appreciated about Fechenheim and what makes he district unique for them. For the majority of those questioned this was the proximity to nature and local recreation.

In the summer of 2012, the residents of Fechenheim were able to vote on the new logo at several locations and by means of a postal vote. Almost 400 interested parties took part in the vote on the new logo for Fechenheim. 40 % of them voted for the logo with the slogan “Stadt. Natur. Ganz Nah Frankfurt Fechenheim” (City. Nature. So close). The winning logo was presented to the public for the first time at the Fechenheim “Fischerfest” festival in 2012.

Measures and individual projects

Current measures

Playground and leisure-time space on Konstanzer Strasse

The rejuvenation of the playground and leisure space on Konstanzer Strasse is a new project. To date, this area was classified as lying outside the scope of the funding but thanks to a City Council resolution to expand the area covered by the grant and the relevant application to the State of Hessen has been included in the funding coverage (see Project Progress section above).

The area in question is located in the very center of the district and thanks to its overall size of some 5,800 m² and total open space of about 4,400 m², it offers sufficient potential to be redesigned as a place for leisure, games, and sports. It is a place that can be used as the quarter’s social meeting point and where people and families can gather, across the generations and social milieus. This first requires a fundamental reorganization and design of the grounds, as these hardly feature any facilities and the area is not subdivided in a way that meets such specifications.

In order to develop an appropriate design for the outdoor area, an inclusion event was carried out in Winter 2020-1 together with both schools. Given the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, in addition a questionnaire was prepared and distributed to children, young people and adults. In a further participation phase in spring 2021, everyone interested was then able to submit suggestions and criticisms of the draft planning. Participation was supported by the district management through Frankfurt’s “Active Neighborhood” program.

With its present proposal, Stuttgart planning practice KuKuk Freiflug GmbH has now completely rearranged the site. It will feature a protected area for infants, a close-to-nature themed section with many new types of shrubs and a large open meadow for picnicking, framed by newly planted trees. The climbing frames between the molded hills provides for lots of action as does the training circuit with the “Climbing Cheese” the kids designed. Tried-and-true elements such as swings, table-tennis tables and sandpits are of course also included. The multipurpose games pitch has been completely redesigned. Moreover, there will be a new plaza for the quarter that can be used for various activities, such as theater, for the Games Truck, or simply to meet up and enjoy tending the raised plant beds.

Plans were presented at the meeting of District Council 11 on July 5, 2021. Subsequently, the building and financing application was put to the City Council and approved by resolution on May 12, 2022 (M_48_2022, § 1700_2022)

After the tender phase in fall 2022, in early 2023 the contract to realize the redesign was awarded to gardening and landscaping company Johannes Werner GmbH from Limeshain. Frankfurt’s Götte Landschaftsarchitekten have been commissioned as site managers. The entire project will be supported and managed by the City of Frankfurt Parks Dept.

Construction work started at the end of January and is scheduled to continue until fall 2023. The playground area will then open for use.

Draft planning for the Konstanzer Strasse Games and Leisure Space, design: KuKuk freiflug GmbH, Stuttgart; © City of Frankfurt

Redevelopment of Fechenheim’s Clover Triangle

"Kleedreieck" Fechenheim, birds-eye view of the plaza, © raumwerk

The enhancement of the northern, triangular entrance to the center of Fechenheim, which the locals term lovingly the “Clover Triangle”, is directly linked to the structural development of the adjoining plots of land. It is intended to use the predominantly urban sites for the construction of housing. Furthermore, the unused area of greenery here offers potential for an open space that could be activated in line with the development of the center.

Initially, a combination of residential and commercial buildings was envisaged for the sites, and the company Raumwerk conducted two development studies on behalf of the City of Frankfurt. Version 1 assumed that the public area of greenery would be preserved in its current size and location. Version 2 included the area of greenery in the development and created public spaces allocated to the new development, which could then be put to alternative use. The parameters for the development of both versions were identical. Discussion of both versions in the district, the Local Partnership, and the by the municipal authorities concluded that version 1 was preferable.

The purchase of land, as well as the agreement to the plans of owners of neighboring plots of land was of significance for the redevelopment of the area. In line with this, the real estate at no. 72 Alt-Fechenheim was then acquired with public funds.

With regard to realization of the project and the search for an investor, more detailed planning and further studies were conducted. As a result, the space the Clover Triangle offers will in future be made available for a communal residential project, while the idea for integrated retail outlets has since been shelved.

The City’s Executive Council has assigned KEG, Konversionsgesellschaft mbH the task of eeveloping the Clover Triangle. The plan to acquire additional land has not yet been successful so that at present no specific date can be set for construction.

Completed measures

View from Baumertstrasse to Löhnunggasse, planning: FAAG Technik GmbH, rendering: ARGE Dreisbusch/Czerny, © City Planning Department, City of Frankfurt/Main

Upgrade of the paths to the Main riverbank
2nd Construction Phase
Im Kammerdorf, Löhnunggasse westwards

In the 2nd Construction Phase, two additional alleys running between Baumertstrasse and the Alt-Fechenheim road were completely modernized and thus attractively upgraded as part of the urban fabric. The design of the two alleys – Im Kammerdorf and Löhnunggasse – makes use of the same principles as those deployed in the 1st Construction Phase, namely to harmonize use of the same materials. Paving for the alleys therefore now features the same, beige-red square concrete paving stones, with the entrance areas marked by sections in basalt. The only difference: The large-format slabs were not used. These are reserved for alleys leading to the riverbank as a special element to indicate the direction. Moreover, in Löhnunggasse problematic carparking conditions that made no traffic sense were eliminated. They were replaced with planted areas with trees with slender crowns, rosebushes, and a bench.

In the run-up to the construction work, the power lines were comprehensively renewed, existing street lighting brought up to the new standard and the number of lights significantly increased. The construction measure took place in March-June 2020 and the trees and rosebushes were planted in fall 2020. City Councillor Josef officially opened the new alleys on Oct. 16, 2020 in the presence of the local inhabitants and the local partners.

Making a Quarter: WORK/SHOP, © Robin Klussmann

Making a Quarter

With a view to providing a creative, long-lasting stimulus for the development of the center district, in 2016 the vacant-site agency “RADAR - Kreativräume für Frankfurt” (RADAR – creative spaces for Frankfurt) developed a concept for the interim use of vacant shops in the area covered by the scheme. Financed by the City of Frankfurt and with the involvement of the local population, during the implementation period from June 2017 until November 2019 artists temporarily made use of the vacant shops in the center. The focus was not on commerce and instead on creative interaction. The erstwhile stores’ doors were open to all Fechenheim residents during the WORK/SHOPS and opening hours.

To kick off, Robin Klussmann and Marco Poblete offered courses in book binding and silkscreen printing in their “Work/Shop”. Taking as its motto “Play with Clay”, Jérôme Alsoufi and Isabella Zeiss’ pottery studio “Hartmud” offered pottery courses and used th shop as an open studio.

Whereas the two “Making a Quarter” projects were intended to be hands-on, the third project was more about striking up conversations: Artist and designer Harald Brörken developed a floating object for the River Main. Known as the “Wellenpendel” (wave pendulum) it is made of pontoons and movable rods, which bobble in the bow waves of passing ships. The temporary installation was launched in the summer of 2019.

District center architect – free advice service

An important thrust of the “Energized District Center – Fechenheim” urban development support program was specifically to enhance the existing urban fabric, as well as ensure repair and modernization of prominent buildings.
For this reason, from January 2015 through late 2019 a free urban development and architecture advice service was made available in the district center. Ms. Tine Göllner from the firm of architects Göllner GmbH in Frankfurt provided the advice locally, which interested building owners, as well as tenants and leaseholders in the Fechenheim development zone.

Areas in which advice was provided included maintaining, modernizing and converting residential buildings and commercially used premises, as well as design aspects such as the design of facades, removing concrete or asphalt from courtyards and open spaces and greening them. Help was also provided with decisions relating to costs and applications for public funding. The advice was always provided taking the stipulations of Preservation By-Law no. 30 into account. Information events for special topics such housing for the elderly were organized. In total advice was provided on around 30 premises.

As of 2020, Fechenheim property owners can avail themselves of “modernization advisers”, an advice service offered by the City Planning Department’s housing scheme that is part of the “Frankfurt Housing Modernization Scheme”. The advice is provided by the firm of architects Ammon+Sturm. Click here for the relevant contact details and for further information about the financial support Arrangements.

Open-air gallery along the road Fechenheimer Leinpfad

Fechenheimer Leinpfad is one of the most important points of access to the district, as many residents and visitors travel to and from Fechenheim by streetcar. With the banks of the River Main having been redeveloped with municipal funds, the quality of the area as a whole has improved. The walls and facades overlooking the river bank, most of which were unstructured or smeared with graffiti, subsequently formed a real eyesore.

For this reason, as of 2013 the studio “Das Kunstbüro” was tasked with devising an overall concept for the walls along Leinpfad. The artwork was to feature the following characteristics: Be in black-and-white or use a reduced amount of color, reflect life in the district, and be caricature-like. Ultimately two large walls were embellished with art.
In 2014, illustrator and cartoonish Klaus Puth agreed to do the artwork at the approx. 40-meter long wall at the Arthur-von-Weinberg-Steg streetcar stop. This first had to be given new rendering and a fresh coat of paint; over a period of four weeks the contours were then sketched out in black before being finished step by step. Lots of people took the opportunity to look over the artist’s shoulder as he was creating his work of art and to strike up conversation with him. The result was a picture puzzle with many references to Fechenheim, in which one or two local residents claim they can discern themselves.

Open-air gallery along Fechenheimer Leinpfad, Entwurfsskizzen, © Klaus Puth

In May 2017 a further mural, painted by Frankfurt artist Guido Zimmermann, who made a name for himself in the street art scene, was added to the open-air gallery. The picture, which is 37 meters long and 3.5 meters high, has as its motto “Sport in Fechenheim” and features various themes relating to soccer and tennis, walking, cycling, and water sports, among others. These are sports which can be practiced in Fechenheim in the numerous clubs or on one’s own.

Open-air gallery along the road Fechenheimer Leinpfad, sections of the mural, © Guido Zimmermann

Upgrade to the footpaths to the banks of the River Main – 1st construction stage

Lappengasse, Plessengasse, Leinwebergasse, Löhnunggasse, Am Mainbörnchen

The center of Fechenheim is to a large extent defined by the main shopping street Alt-Fechenheim and by the banks of the River Main. In 2012, the City of Frankfurt redeveloped the adjoining promenade along the riverbank, and since then it has been an attractive place where passers-by like to linger. Six alleyways (Lappengasse, Plessengasse, Löhnunggasse, Leinwebergasse, Ankergasse, Am Mainbörnchen) lead from the shopping street to the riverbank, making them an important link. By way of contrast, the state of the alleyways (lots of different materials and a dilapidated standard) meant that they were only perceived as insignificant, dark side alleys. There were neither clear structures nor guiding elements. For this reason, in 2016 five of the alleyways were given a complete makeover, the mix of different materials was made harmonious, and the linking character emphasized. The new pathways are friendly and indicate openness.

Before and after: Lappengasse, © City Planning Department, City of Frankfurt/Main

The overall concept devised by landscape architectural practice exedra Müller & Jansen envisaged a design featuring corresponding paving that gave a sense of direction as well as harmony through the use of the same materials. The choice of materials and colors is based on the existing situation, but also introduces surprising elements. The paving in the alleyways relies on beige red, square paving stones, which take their cue from the numerous brick buildings to be found in Fechenheim. Where the alleys meet the main road the surface changes to basalt paving, which is also used for the sidewalk. To help passers-by find their way instinctively, direction-creating paved stripes became the fundamental idea; these take the form of large, light concrete slabs that are 1.20 meters long, in two different widths, and in each case cover a total length of approx. 13 meters. At the points of intersection with the main road they are initially placed together, before gradually being positioned further apart, while at the other end of the alleyway the configuration is taken up again in reverse order. This way the two areas correspond with each other.

Before and after: Plessengasse (with rendering in the middle), © City Planning Department, City of Frankfurt/Main

The planning process was closely monitored by the Local Partnership’s participation committee and was discussed by the Local Consultative Council. Further planning and implementation of the measure was conducted by FAAG Technik GmbH with professional support from the City of Frankfurt’s Department of Road Construction and Development. The work took a total of 12 months from March 2016 through February 2017. The pathways and carriageway of the alleyways were redeveloped to the same standard. The complete makeover involved the removal of the old surfaces including the substructure, laying down the new base layers, installing the new drainage and completing the surfacing. The lighting was likewise totally renewed in terms of type and amount. Apart from Leinwebergasse, all the alleyways are now traffic-calmed areas. The new alleyways were officially opened on September 8, 2017.

Childcare Center 27 – Redevelopment of the Forecourt

Plaza in front of Childcare Center 27, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The small, public area of greenery in front of the heritage-listed building housing Childcare Center 27 on Fechenheim’s main commercial street of Alt-Fechenheim was insufficiently used; in fact, the plaza was often full of garbage or used as a public urinal.
The urban development support program enabled this unsatisfactory situation to be rectified. Frankfurt landscape architects Beuerlein/Baumgartner redeveloped the small plaza in an attractive way. The Local Partnership and residents living in the immediate vicinity were involved in the planning process, which also saw enormous civic participation. The City of Frankfurt Parks Department realized the redevelopment work as of fall 2013, and the new plaza was officially opened in July 2014.

Humming stone and undulating bench, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The plaza was designed to provide playground opportunities while at the same time being a pleasant place in which to linger. The sandstone elements used are based on the materials used for the heritage-listed building that is home to the childcare center. The southern half of the plaza boasts an acoustic feature – a humming stone – as well as a wave-form bench for sitting and balancing on. At the suggestion of the Fechenheim Homeland and Historical Association a bronze plaque serves as a reminder of the work in Fechenheim of Friedrich Jahn, who is credited with having founded the German gymnastics movement. The benches positioned around the plaza are surrounded by herbaceous borders.

Enhance the gateways to the district

Redesign of collection containers

Bemalter Container, © Pat Vanhöfen

A Local Partnership working group put enormous effort into addressing how to improve the appearance of the gateways to the center of Fechenheim. Locations were identified which are frequently used by Fechenheim residents and visitors alike, and which make an important impression as “entrances” to the district. Hitherto, the cityscape at these locations was defined by bottle banks and secondhand clothes containers and failed to present the district at its best.

With a view to improving the situation and in collaboration with the operators, in 2013 bottle banks and secondhand clothes containers that were a particular eyesore were relocated. In addition, at the request of the Local Partnership, from fall 2013 through summer 2014 Fechenheim-based artist Pat Vanhöfen painted several containers. These can be found at Fechenheim’s “Clove Triangle”, in front of the youth center on Starkenburger Strasse, and on Konstanzer Strasse.

Fechenheim – Local Economy(ERDF)

In addition to the urban development program named “Energized District Centers in Hessen”, Fechenheim was also included in the “Operational Program for the Support of Regional Competitiveness and Employment in Hessen” which relied on financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ran from 2007 through 2013.

In addition to the area that was included in the “Energized District Centers” scheme, the funding was also committed to the commercial zones to the north and east of the district center. As such, the area extended as far as Carl Benz Strasse in the east and Birsteiner Strasse in the north. The key underlying objectives that the project hoped would be achieved through inclusion in the EU program: the renewed use of vacant stores in the district center and the revitalization of unused land in the commercial zones adjoining in the north and east.

To this end. a resolution adopted on April 13, 2010 approved EU subsidies totaling 500,000 euros. The program was applied between 2010 and 2014 in line with EU stipulations. Click here to find further information about this project.