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Residential High-Rises, Downtown

Developing downtown as a residential center

District: Local district:
Size of area:
1 ha

Project description

Reason for planning
When Deutsche Telekom discontinued use of and sold part of its site on Stiftstrasse, the chance arose to create a new residential area in downtown Frankfurt. The 2008 high-rise development plan thus recommended erecting a residential high-rise at this location. There is likewise an opportunity to spatially link up a new tower with the neighboring Nextower, Hotel Jumeirah Frankfurt, and Skylight residential high-rise) to create a new small high-rise cluster.

Development district
The plot is located in northern downtown on Stiftstrasse and constitutes slightly more than half of the area covered by Legal Zoning Plan no. 845 Ä “Formner Main Post Office / Zeil – 1st Amendment”.

In recent years, the surroundings of the area covered by the plans have changed. Two high-rises have been erected in the Palaisquartier as has the MyZeil shopping mall, while the Thurn-und-Taxis-Palais has bene rebuilt. A residential property and a hotel complex have been erected on the plot used in the past by the Frankfurter Rundschau. The quarter to the east has been upgraded among other things by modernization of the former Diamond Exchange building. In the northern block between Stiftstrasse and Bleichstrasse the urban design has been highlighted by the addition of TurmCarrée.

Planning objectives
The site is being developed in order to construct residential high-rises. These will supplement the Frankfurt skyline and the cluster of towers in the urban fabric of north downtown. To create housing for different segments of the population, the intended mix of apartments will include differing sizes and will cater for households that likewise vary in size, with some being rent-capped facilities. Stores and hospitality outlets in the podiums will bring greater life to the streets in the vicinity and buttress retailing there.

Project progress
The project was initially developed by Corpus Sireo, under commission to Deutsche Telekom. The developers then held a competition, won by architect Max Dudler, to plan the site. The project was named “Drei Schwester” and the area then marketed. In the interim (between 2016 and 2018) it was owned by Becken Development GmbH from Hamburg, which also led to a change in the architectural practice doing the work. In a second competition process, Frankfurt architectural practice Magnus Kaminiarz & Cie. came out winners. The project has since been renamed “High Lines”. Since mid-2018, Rock Capital Group GmbH, based in Grünwald nr. Munich, has owned the site. Architectural practice KSP Engel has been contracted to handle planning going forward.

Change to the legal zoning plan
Since the existing zoning plan at this juncture permitted neither the corresponding type of use nor the extent of built usages, the legal zoning plan was changed to lay the legal planning foundations for realizing the construction of high rises on the site. The resolution to file Legal Zoning Plan no. 845 Ä “Former Main Post Office / Zeil 1st Amendment” for approval was taken by the City Council in May 2015. The proposal for the development plan was then completed and put on public display in summer 2015. An urban design contract containing regulations supplementing the planning laws was signed in December 2015. The resolution on the change to the statutes was taken in September 2016. Legal Zoning Plan no. 845 Ä came into force on Nov. 1, 2016.

Usage structure
The zoning plans specify that the construction site shall be a mixed-usage area with the intention being to do justice to the idea of establishing more housing downtown. Hitherto, the area was defined as a core area and therefore only a minor proportion of housing was allowed. All in all, as many as 500 residential units could be created here, of which some will be subject to a rent cap. Among other items, this is also guaranteed in the urban planning contract attached to the legal zoning plan. The existing usage structure of Stiftstrasse, whereby the ground floors are used commercially, will be continued. Moreover, the intention is to bring more life to the street line running parallel to the Zeil in the north from Stiftstrasse to Vilbeler Strasse. Inclusion of a childcare center, realization of which is likewise stipulated in the urban planning contract, will mean additional services are on offer, too .

Building heights
If taken together with the existing neighboring high-rises, the specified maximum building height of 80 meters is a tolerable scale. With the creation of a high-rise cluster, the city’s skyline will be meaningfully rounded out. The two smaller high points of 40m and 52m respectively forge a link in the urban fabric between the lower podium building and the 80-meter-high residential tower.

Plaza and routing
The existing space on Stiftstrasse will be expanded further and rendered more attractive. The idea is to run a spacious corridor from here through to the inner courtyard. This link is actually part of what was once the Kleine Eschenheimer Strasse that ran between Stiftstrasse and Thurn und Taxis Palais on Grosse Eschenheimer Strasse. It is already set out in Legal Zoning Plan no. 845 as a linking route and has also been enshrined in the planning laws.