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Lyoner Quarter

From office district to Lyoner Quarter

Offices, Housing
District: Local district:
5, 6
Size of area:
88 ha

Project description

Reason for planning
The Bürostadt Niederrad district is faced with a gross figure of about 300,000 square meters of vacant offices. To combat this problem, in 2007 Frankfurt’s City Planning Department has devised a masterplan that illustrates ways in which the district’s mono-functional fabric can be transformed into a vibrant mixed-use urban district.  The first of its kind, this trailblazing project is attracting interest also among the experts.

Development district
Within the Frankfurt metropolitan region, Lyoner Quarter is centrally located between the airport and downtown and has excellent links to both interstate and LRT networks.
Its prime location in the city paired with the fact that existing developments alternate with extensive green zones, and the proximity to the municipal forest and the Main River mean that Lyoner Quarter is highly attractive as a residential location.

Planning objectives
Basically, there were three options to establish new utilizations in the office district’s core zone, which measure no less than 88 hectares:

1. Converting parts of the vacant office spaces for new uses,

2. Demolishing vacant office buildings that for structural reasons cannot be converted and building new residential complexes,

3. Creating greater built densities.

The result will be a fabric of high-density blocks and loosely interspersed standalones with generous parkland. The broad range of properties is in turn appealing for a mixed usage district with a broad range of housing offerings in a suitable setting between the Main’s south bank and Frankfurt’s municipal forest.

In terms of urban fabric, the objective is to improve links both to the neighboring Goldstein and Alt-Niederrad districts as well as to the river and the municipal forest, while extending the network of pedestrian paths within the district itself. Another goal is to augment the utilities and the social facilities.

Prevailing opinion was that the restructuring (as a modern business and residential district) will unleash substantial development potential. When it comes to upgrading and securing the future of “Lyoner Quartier" strategic private partners are required.

The present development clearly underlines the project’s success. Over 2,600 apartments have now been constructed in the development area: the result of conversions, new builds and increasing the built density of existing properties. A further 1,400 residential units are under construction. Given the existence of still available land, further growth can be expected.

Project Progress
A series of project feasibility studies culminated in 2007 in a framework urban development concept, which ultimately formed the basis for drawing up the new legal zoning plans for the office district. With the specification of mixed-use and core areas, the two legal zoning plans no. 885 “Hahnstrasse” (came into force on Nov. 11, 2014) and no. 872 “Lyoner Strasse” (came into force on Nov. 22, 2016) pave the way for the urban redevelopment of the Niederrad office district, which as of the middle of the year 2017 was renamed “Lyoner Quartier”. This laid the legal basis for converting vacant office spaces into housing, creating greater densities in little-used spaces, and the creation of the planned green link between the River Main and the City Forest.

In addition to the existing, expansive road system, an attractive, direct pedestrian and cyclist link via internal paths to the green center of the quarter on Saonestrasse and to the City Forest that abuts to the south is a conceptual element of the legal zoning plan. Inasmuch as these paths are on private areas of greenery they will be secured for the general public through pedestrians’ and cyclists’ access rights. With a view to enhancing the appearance and attraction of the public streetscape, trees will be planted wherever the numerous underground pipeline routes permit. Furthermore, the location of an elementary school and nursery neighboring the City Forest and extensive sports facilities has been given solid legal planning foundations by designating land for local authority use. In addition, around both Niederrad station (Hahnstrasse 45) and the district park on Saonestrasse the legal zoning plans allow for the gradual creation of plazas in line with the realization of the permissible development.

After legal zoning plan no. 872 came into force in 2016 the speed of development of the “Lyoner Quartier" once again increased significantly. In addition to the residential units that have already been completed, over 2,300 apartments have now been approved or are already under construction. As the development progresses, there are signs of an increase in the number of projects featuring a mixture of different-size apartments; with over 220 residential units, subsidized housing is also becoming increasingly important (Subsidy Schemes 1 and 2). On balance, it is now safe to assume that in the Lyoner Quartier a potential 6,000 residential units for approx. 12,000 residents can be realized through conversions and new builds. As such the original estimates have already been clearly exceeded.

Given this momentum, there seem to be good grounds for assuming that the former office district has established itself as a very promising location for residential real estate and offers sufficient potential demand for a range of housing-specific services and social facilities in the quarter.

Parallel to the urban development process, in April 2014, “Standort-Initiative Neues Niederrad e.V.” (SINN) was launched. Financed by local players, this network was founded in order to play a part in filling the planned change with life.