One of Frankfurt's property 'eyesores' has finally been bought for redevelopment - the old police presidium, well known by thousands of trade fair visitors as they trudge toward the main station past a long, deserted edifice. The catch: work doesn't start until 2022 and completion is expected only in 2026.
The German state of Hesse this week signed the sale of the property with Düsseldorf-based Gerch Group, which won the re-development site with a bid worth €212.5m. "In the coming years, a modern ensemble of buildings with apartments, offices and a hotel will be constructed," said state Finance Minister Thomas Schäfer. "Life arrives, instead of a disused building: Frankfurt has earned it. The standstill has been in place long enough due to many long years of resistance to change."
Gerch expects to invest about €800m, and in the coming weeks will coordinate further procedures with the City of Frankfurt which has been running an urban planning and architectural design competition for the property. Due to pending legal issues however, start of construction is not expected before 2022, with completion of the overall project scheduled for 2026.
Gerch CEO Mathias Düsterdick said the group is pleased to be able to realise another project in the city on the Main river: "A project in such a prominent location in Frankfurt is naturally a great thing for any developer. We are happy that we were able to prevail over numerous well-known competitors but we are also aware of the responsibility that such a diverse project brings with it."
The site of the old police presidium comprises 15,000 sqm on the intersection of Frankfurt's Friedrich-Ebert-Allee and Mainzer Landstrasse. Located centrally at the junction of Frankfurt's West End, the banking quarter and the newly-developing Europa Quarter it is one of the last major development areas in the city centre. Numerous buildings, vacant since 2002, occupy the property, and many are under heritage protection so that only part of the stock may be demolished.
Gerch is an inter-investing project developer founded in October 2015 by Düsterdick and Christoph Hüttemann, now co-CEOs. The group currently manages a total project development volume of some €4.9bn.
BIE COMMENT : Given demand for German commercial space in general, compounded by increased interest sparked in Frankfurt by the UK's Brexit intentions, it is very difficult to see why this project should be held up for so long. The redevelopment is years overdue and the holdup, both in the sale as well as the project start, is frankly a disgrace for a city that has ambitions to grow its presence as an international city.