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Planning history

Main freight station 1959, © Institut für Stadtgeschichte Stadt Frankfurt am Main

History of the area
The construction of the freight station and switching yard in the second half of the 19th century was an important factor driving the development of the area at the time. Adjoining it to the north, the Frankfurt trade fair complex was laid out around the Festhalle, which was the event venue. North of the shunting yard the Kuhwald dwellings were built, and in the south the turn-of-the-century urban design of Gallus. Between 1929 and 1930 the Hellerhof dwellings were erected on Frankenallee and Idsteiner Strasse on behalf of Hellerhof AG, the planning directed by the architect Mart Stam.


Planning history
In connection with the first stage of the privatization of the German railroads (Deutsche Bahn) in 1994, the successor companies developed an increasing interest in an economically meaningful use of areas that were not necessarily needed for railroad operations. On the back of the ideas proposed by the planners at Hamburg’s gmp for a “renaissance of stations”, which were specified in a study for Frankfurt/Main (Frankfurt 21), urban planners first began focusing on the land previously used for the freight station and the main station’s railroad tracks.
Whereas the conversion of the main station’s tracks was not pursued any further on account of the considerable financial outlay, the conversion of the main freight station could be advanced, as in this case the entire site was being given up.
Based on a design by the AS&P planning team, the owners and the City of Frankfurt devised a framework plan, which was adopted following a resolution passed by the assembly of city councilors in the year 2000. With regard to the future use of the approx. 100 hectares of abandoned railroad land, the concept in the framework plan envisaged 25 % residential, 25 % greenery 25 % extension to the trade fair grounds, and 25 % mixed usage and core area.


Main freight station 1997, © Stadtvermessungsamt Frankfurt am Main

Planning history – the east of the Europaviertel district
Operations at the main freight station ceased in 1998. As a result, the land (east of Emser Bridge) could be swiftly decommissioned and thus come under the planning authority of the City of Frankfurt. As such, as early as March 2001 development plan no. 556 “Messeviertel / Hemmerichsweg” was passed as a resolution. Hall 3 at the trade fair complex, the “Neue Dependance” and the Mövenpick Hotel were the first edifices to be built here. In 2006-7 building activity increased considerably and in the meantime large areas of the planning zone have already been developed. For the most part, the development work for expanding the eastern section of Europaallee has already been concluded.

Switching yard 2000, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Planning history – the west of the Europaviertel district
Despite the freight station having been vacated, the switching yard (west of Emser Bridge) continued to operate and until mid-2005 was used for though journeys. Here again the dismantling of the railroad facilities has been concluded and a large part of the development facility is already in place. With development plans no. 826 “Europaviertel West - Teilbereich 1” and no. 850 “Europaviertel West - Teilbereich 2” now legally binding, the requisite planning rights covering the entire western section of the Europaviertel district for converting the former switching yard into a new mixed-usage, urban district are now in force.