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Fechenheim - energized town center

Urban revitalization process as per the Federal/States "Energized Town and District Centers" program

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

Mr. Timo Szuczynski
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 30418
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30761

Project description

Reason for planning
Fechenheim’s center was included in the “Aktive Kernbereiche in Hessen” (Energized Town Centers in Hessen) urban development scheme by decision of the State of Hessen of October 31, 2008.
Fechenheim as a district that is predominantly characterized by industry has for some decades been grappling in particular with structural changes in its economy, demographic and social fabric. Deindustrialization and the associated downsizing of jobs provided by local employers are the main causes of what is an above-average unemployment rate.
Shopping malls and major chain-store outlets are predominantly stiff competition for the specialist stores traditionally located in city centers and districts. A growing number of vacant commercial premises at the heart of Fechenheim along with the emergence of unappealing bargain stores and amusement arcades bear witness to this trend.
This situation is further exacerbated by the short supply of residential space for young families from among the middle to high-income brackets, the lack of green and recreational spaces, and the congestion of roads in the center by commuter traffic.

Development district
The zone in question comprises an area of some 31 hectares, is located around the high street, Alt-Fechenheim, and includes the adjacent streets complete with all the relevant retail, commercial and potential construction sites. In the west it is bounded by Konstanzer Strasse and Fachfeldstrasse, in the east by the River Main. The other boundaries: the entrances to the main shopping zone on Alt-Fechenheim (from the streetcar junction in the north to the the cemetery wall in the south) cascading along Einbiglerweg, Starkenburger Strasse and Sedanstrasse as far as Fachfeldstrasse.

Planning objectives
Fechenheim’s potential as regards retailing and utilities, living, culture, leisure time and as a place to work has not been sufficiently exploited to date.
The development project has a favorable influence on Fechenheim’s future advancement and, by activating and connecting protagonists and initiatives, strengthens the district’s competitive edge.
Further objectives aside from rejuvenating the main shopping zone and the associated improvement in the provision of basic services/utilities are the creation of new dwellings, the refurbishment of buildings characteristic of the district’s appearance, along with the urban upgrading of streets and free spaces. The district has marvelous potential thanks to its direct location on the Main waterfront.

Project progress
In September 2009 the development of the integrated action concept, which forms the planning basis for the implementation of the development scheme, was commissioned for the heart of Fechenheim. The concept outlines the strategy for energizing the center and serves as a working schedule to accompany the full period of operations. It is moreover intended to communicate the plans to citizens, investors and other protagonists in the center. The City Council passed the Integrierte Handlungskonzept on September 30, 2010 (section 8811).

On March 25, 2010 the City Council passed the resolution (section 7871) in accordance with section 171 b of the Town and Country Planning Code (BauGB) to formally declare the development area an urban redevelopment zone in advance. This is the requirement to secure approval for future funding, while at the same time emphasizing that all the City’s political committees back the program.

The integrated approach of the redevelopment scheme in public-private partnership and the high quality requirements of the development scheme hinge upon dedicated management as regards the implementation processes. A key aspect of this is the “center management” which aims to integrate the relevant protagonists and ensure program implementation. In the line with the guidelines on the development plan, the center management will be provided not by the administration but by an external firm. An EU-wide call for tenders was launched to appoint a suitable company.

Frankfurt’s City Planning Department has commissioned DSK Deutsche Stadt- und Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & co. KG with the management of the redevelopment of the center.

Neighborhood offices


More informations

Current measures

Community Center and Local Partnership

Local partnership, © Nassauische Heimstätten

The center management’s first task in May 2011 was to set up and open a community center. At the center, on three days a week the staff of urban and property development association DSK are available to answer questions and give advice.

The center management provides information on a host of different measures and topics in relation to the Energized Town Center’s urban development and seeks to involve local inhabitants in the various stages of planning. It also offers expert knowledge on the Fechenheim-Süd preservation statute, the planned extension of the Fechenheim greenbelt, and the land-use plan proposal for the Dieburger Strasse.

Other subjects of interest to visitors include street cleanliness in Fechenheim, street lighting, private housing conditions, or the housing market. Requests for civic involvement on topics such as green space design, urban gardening, multi-generational living or sponsoring of poop bags have likewise been voiced.

From the time it opened until August 2015, more than 1,500 visitors of all age groups used the consulting services provided at the community center. Moreover, a great number of citizens got involved by approaching one of the mobile information stands set up at community festivals or information events.


The Local Partnership continues to be the central body for bringing on board local residents, entrepreneurs, property owners, as well as representatives of cultural and social facilities, initiatives and associations. In October 2015 it convened for what was already its 50th meeting, demonstrating the high level of personal commitment by all those involved.

The Local Partnership is the body that brings together all relevant town center protagonists with the municipal administration to develop and implement concepts and projects destined to buttress the center. The Local Partnership’s mandate: to support the town center’s development and steer things in the right direction.

The members of the Local Partnership act as experts who communicate their special knowledge of Fechenheim and the town center. In addition, each in his or her special field act as an advocate for the scheme’s goals and measures. The third function is that of a supporting organization which prepares and performs independent private and civil-society initiatives and projects intended to drive the development of the town center.

The principles guiding the methodology and composition of the Local Partnership have been specified in a resolution by the City Council and are therefore “binding” in character.

At present, the Local Partnership comprises 16 persons designated by name, with representatives from Wirtschaftsförderung Frankfurt GmbH and the administration completing the team. Working parties were established for special topics, such as the gateways to Fechenheim or creating a Website, for development and implementation.

Integrated action concept

Front page: integrated action concept

The Energized Town Centers urban development scheme pursues an integrated approach, which means that the main tasks from the fields of business and commerce, living and culture are not considered in isolation but developed together. For this reason the integrated action concept, on the basis of which investment projects and those preparing investment are developed and implemented, is a deciding element in the contents of the program. As such it is the working program for the duration of the process and serves to familiarize citizens, investors and other players with the projects. Individual measures are only eligible for promotion inasmuch as they correspond to the integrated action concept and are derived from it.

In April 2010 the draft was agreed with the Hessen Ministry of Economics, Transport, and State Development, and on September 30, 2010 the City Council passed the corresponding resolution. In the City of Frankfurt’s parliamentary information system (PARLIS) the Frankfurt-Fechenheim integrated action concept appears as an appendix under M 130.

Preservation statute no. 30

A whole host of buildings in Fechenheim’s center tell a vivid tale of the history of this district. They include, for example, erstwhile agricultural farmsteads, houses from working class estates dating back to the early Industrial age as well as multi-story buildings from the turn of the 20th century. In a bid to ensure the permanent preservation of these unique examples of architecture in Fechenheim, on January 27, 2011 the City Council resolved preservation statute no. 30 (Fechenheim-Süd). Following its enactment on March 22, 2011, the statute and its objectives have since always obtained for planning or building endeavors in Fechenheim, something that may cause conflicting interests, especially where the conversion of properties or the implementation of energy-saving measures are concerned.

The publication Baustein 04/12 provided a concise overview of Fechenheim’s characteristic urban design. The articles and scope of the statute can also be found here.


Town Center architect – free consulting Service

One area of activity in the “Energized Town Centers in Hessen – Frankfurt/Main-Fechenheim” urban development scheme is concerned with improving overall urban conditions. To this end, it promotes restoring and modernizing buildings that are instrumental in shaping the overall appearance of Fechenheim’s town center. In addition, efforts are being made to preserve the characteristic look-and-feel of the zone in question in line with the applicable preservation statute no. 30 “Fechenheim-Süd”.

Since January 2015 a so-called “town center architect” has been offering free consultations for home owners, tenants and leaseholders resident in the Fechenheim development zone. The service involves urban and architectural advice on comprehensive restoration measures, modernization efforts and renovations of residential and commercial buildings. Design aspects can also be broached during such discussions. These include, for example, façade design or removing hard surfaces from courtyards and open spaces to introduce green areas in their place. Help with tenders for job offers and applications for public subsidies is likewise provided. Consultancy is in accordance with the specifications made in the preservation statute. 

Logo for Fechenheim

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

In June 2012, Fechenheim’s citizens were offered the opportunity to cast their vote on a new logo for Fechenheim. Polling booths were the “Aktive Kernbereiche” (Energized Town Centers) information stand at the Linnefest festival and the plaza outside the “Kita 27” daycare facility for children.
The working party on “Eingangsbereiche Fechenheim” (Fechenheim Entrance Areas), an initiative proposed by the local partnership group as part of the “Aktive Kernbereiche in Hessen” urban development scheme, came up with the idea for a logo for Fechenheim. In the future, the new logo will provide a clear visual identity for Fechenheim’s citizens and visitors, give the district a greater presence and make it known in the broader municipality and region.
During the process, 377 people expressed an opinion on Fechenheim’s new logo. Citizens were not only able to cast their vote at the “Aktive Kernbereiche” information stand, but were also able to use the voting postcards distributed in downtown Fechenheim and available from retailers, the post office, Volksbank, hospitality outlets, parishes, the Heinrich Kraft and Konrad Haenisch schools as well as club houses and galleries. One third of the overall 1,200 voting postcards distributed was returned, manifesting the great public interest and the campaign’s success.

Citizens were able to choose between three attractive logos, all of which were designed by Fechenheim-based design studio Lie and inspired by statements made by visitors to the 2011 Fechenheim Fischerfest. On that occasion the “Energized Town Center” center management interviewed Fechenheim’s citizens, asking them to highlight distinctive aspects of their district that made it special to them. The majority of those polled gave as their top choices being close to nature and recreational areas.
Voting on Fechenheim’s new logo, some 40 percent of the citizens decided in favor of the logo featuring the slogan “Stadt. Natur. Ganz Nah Frankfurt Fechenheim” (City. Nature. Right by Frankfurt Fechenheim).
The winning logo first made a public splash at Fechenheim’s Fischerfest on September 1, 2012. The citizens were commended for their involvement in the voting campaign in a prize giving ceremony.

The Fechenheim logo can be downloaded at www.logofechenheim.de. Private individuals and business owners are free to use the logo for presentation on their homepages, letterheads or flyers.  
Information on this and other projects under the umbrella of the sponsorship scheme is available from the “Energized Town Centers” neighborhood office, Alt Fechenheim 80. Opening times Monday from 3 – 7 p.m., Wednesday from 2 – 6 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tel.: +49-69-40893735, or email: frankfurt-main@dsk-gmbh.de.

Augmenting the gateways to Fechenheim

A Local Partnership working party undertook an in-depth review of the gateways to Fechenheim’s town center. Together they identified the locations that Fechenheim’s residents and visitors to the town both use alike. As “gateways into the district” these leave a lasting impression. However, at the time some of these locations were dominated by containers, which impaired the otherwise appealing quality of the streetscapes.

As a first step on the way to improving the situation, in 2013 the bottle banks and recycled clothing collection points on the corner of Jakobsbrunnenstrasse and Willmannstrasse as well as at the Alt-Fechenheim streetcar stop were relocated with the help of the German Red Cross and Veolia Umweltservice GmbH. Since implementing this measure, the small square on Jakobsbrunnenstrasse has been restored to its former quality as an attractive open green lined by mature trees.

Container with artwork, © Pat Vanhöfen

In close consultation with the Local Partnership, in the fall of 2013 Fechenheim artist Pat Vanhöfen set about giving the recycled clothing bank opposite the Alt-Fechenheim streetcar stop an artistic makeover. Further such facelifts followed in the course of 2014. The bottle banks on Fechenheimer Kleedreieck, in front of the JUZ youth center on Starkenburger Strasse, and on Konstanzer Strasse were upgraded thanks to Pat Vanhöfen’s artistic projects. The people of Fechenheim were very enthusiastic in their involvement in the campaign.

Open-air gallery along Fechenheimer Leinpfad

Fechenheimer Leinpfad is one of the key gateways to the district. It is here that many residents and visitors arrive and depart by streetcar. There are in total three stops in the Fechenheim town center. Now that the embankment of the River Main has been given a facelift (the project received funding from the City) the character of the entire area has been markedly improved. On the downside, following the enhancement the unsightly quality of the walls and façades facing the River Main embankment, the majority of which is untreated or defaced by graffiti, became all the more obvious.

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

In 2013 the team at Das Kunstbüro was commissioned with a design masterplan for the embellishment of the walls and façades on the Leinpfad. From the overall concept presented, the wall at Arthur von Weinberg Steg streetcar stop, which is approx. 40 meters long, was selected as the pilot project. Following detailed discussions within the Local Partnership, the members agreed on the following decoration: a color scheme in black-and-white or reduced colors, impressions of life in the quarter, caricature style. With this brief Das Künstlerbüro went to search for a suitable artist, and eventually decided on Klaus Puth. Prior to implementation, Mr. Puth’s proposals were once again discussed by the members of the Local Partnership. From mid-March 2014 onwards, the wall was given a new coat of plaster and whitewashed to prepare a kind of “canvas” for the painting. In a first step of the process, which took four weeks overall, the contours were outlined in black and the picture subsequently completed step by step. Many interested residents seized the opportunity and glanced over the artist’s shoulder as he worked on the painting and exchanged a few words with him. The result is an illustrated panorama that has close links to Fechenheim, indeed the one or other Fechenheim local claims to have spotted himself in the picture. On July 2, 2014 Frankfurt’s first open-air gallery was officially inaugurated. In his address Mayor Olaf Cunitz praised the district’s activities as exemplary. There are plans for further artworks following the idea of the open-air gallery.

Redesigning the Fechenheimer Kleedreieck

"Kleedreieck" Fechenheim, as seen from Willmannstrasse, © raumwerk

The enhancement of the northern gateway to the Fechenheim Energized Town Center, known as the “Kleedreieck”, is closely bound up with the structural development of the adjacent properties. The plots of land, the majority of which are brownfields owned by the City, are earmarked for residential and commercial buildings. In addition, the unbuilt and unused green space offers excellent potential for new developments in the spirit of upgrading the town center. In the past, there have been attempts by several investors to introduce new developments, however none of the proposals made it past the planning stage.

"Kleedreieck" Fechenheim, view of Alt-Fechenheim, © raumwerk

The planners at Büro Raumwerk performed two development studies on behalf of the City. Alternative I is based on maintaining the public green in its present size and situation. Alternative II includes the green in the structural development and therefore allocates public spaces in relation to the new development. The two alternatives were subject to the same specifications, examples included accounting for existing public parking spaces in a car park, examining the range of different types of housing, and expanding retail premises to an economically viable scale.

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

The site in question can only be restructured and redeveloped in agreement with the neighboring property owners, who have been involved in drawing up the two alternatives to this end. In view of restructuring measures, the property at Alt-Fechenheim 72 was purchased using funds from the scheme. The outcome of the debate on the two alternatives held in the district, in the Local Partnership, and in the town administration was that Alternative I should form the basis for implementation. In conjunction with the realization and the search for an investor, further details are currently being fine-tuned and supplementary studies prepared.

Kindertagesstätte 27 - redesign of the forecourt

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

Usage of the public green in front of the heritage-listed building that houses the daycare center “Kindertagesstätte 27” on the main thoroughfare of Frankfurt’s Fechenheim district was far from optimal. Often the square was littered with trash or misused as a public urinal. Members of the Local Partnership and the public have been complaining about the sorry state of the site for quite some time.

Frankfurt-based landscape architects Beuerlein / Baumgartner were commissioned with the redesign of the premises as part of the urban development scheme. The planning process was backed up by in-depth debate and discussion with members of the Local Partnership and affected residents.

In spring 2013 interested citizens had the opportunity to view the proposal for the redesign of the public green during a meeting of the Local Consultative Council 11. In the period following the event the design was displayed in the “Energized Town Centers” community center.

Building work under the management of Frankfurt’s Greens and Parks Authority commenced in the fall of 2013. Following its facelift, the square, which Mayor Olaf Cunitz officially opened in July 2014, presents itself in a whole new guise. 

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

The sandstone elements used in the makeover reference the materials of the heritage-listed building housing the children’s daycare facility. An acoustic device known as a humming stone and an undulating bench (offering seating and also something to try balancing on) serve to embellish the southern half of the square. In the northern section a bronze tablet has been laid commemorating the achievements of famous gymnast “Turnvater Jahn” in Fechenheim. The memorial was implemented at the suggestion of the Fechenheim “Heimat- und Geschichtsverein”, the local heritage and history society. In the future an interactive display panel will be installed on the right-hand side of the square at the request of the Local Partnership.

Network of connecting lanes between the River Main embankment und Alt-Fechenheim

“Alt-Fechenheim” shopping street and the Fechenheim River Main embankment are linked by a network of six lanes. Five out of the six, however, do not meet the requirements of a thoroughfare in terms of their design and perceptibility – and their state of repair. The plan is to redesign and enhance these lanes (Lappengasse, Plessengasse, Löhnunggasse, Leinwebergasse and Am Mainbörnchen), including their T-junctions, in a move to augment relations between the town center and the recreation and activity space that is the River Main embankment, designing them to form one coherent zone. 

Connecting lanes on the drawing board - Linnefest, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The City Planning Department commissioned the landscape architects at Wiesbaden’s exedra Müller & Jansen with the design of a masterplan for these lanes. In an avid exchange with the members of the Local Partnership the resulting concept was fine-tuned and in 2015 debated at the meeting of the Local Consultative Council 11 and at the Linnefest.

The concept envisages the use of a uniform concrete pavement for all lanes. At the T-junctions leading into Alt-Fechenheim and Leinpfad the pavement will feature additional natural stone elements to emphasize special situations here. A guiding pattern made of large concrete slabs is set to direct people’s attention and view to the opposite end of each lane. The slabs have the same surface structure as the pavement slabs laid on the Zeil.

The contract for the makeover of these five lanes will be awarded in 2015.


Redesigned lanes to the River Main embankment, visualizied using the example of Plessengasse, © exedra Müller & Jansen