Hertha Berlin has said the Olympiapark is its preferred location for a new stadium, with the German Bundesliga football club stating that Maifeld would be a “very suitable” site.
Hertha has been attempting to progress plans to develop a new home for several years and Klaus Teichert, managing director of Hertha BSC Stadion, provided an update on the project in an interview with the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.
He said: “Basically, the Olympiapark location is the most suitable. We continue to work on building at this location. I always see opportunities to talk until we dig the first spade into the ground.”
In November 2018, Hertha revealed it was targeting an opening date of July 25, 2025 for a new-look Olympiastadion, with a new stadium the favoured choice over redevelopment of its historic current home.
Built for the German capital’s hosting of the 1936 summer Olympic Games, the Olympiastadion has been Hertha’s home since 1963. However, with a current capacity of around 74,000, Hertha is seeking a more intimate stadium for football matches, and one without an athletics track.
Teichert said the 2025-26 season is still a realistic target for the completion of a new stadium, but added that the much-debated location of the venue would need to be settled on by the summer for this to happen.
The Berlin Senate has been keen for Hertha to remain at the Olympiastadion, but has proposed sites for a new stadium. An option to build a stadium on the site of Tegel Airport has been dismissed, but the nearby Zentraler Festplatz is currently being studied.
The Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that an “in-depth examination” into the suitability of the fairground site had been commissioned “together with Hertha”. The result of the investigation is expected to be disclosed in early March, but the club is not keen on this plan.
“The fairground was included in the 60 locations that we examined,” said Teichert. “Back then, it was all about the fairground area. It was too small. Now the Senate has said that we can also include areas all around it.
“A stadium fits on it, including the necessary parking spaces. One of the main problems is the connection of the fairground to local public transport. It won’t work only with trams. The number of visitors is too high. You would need a subway.”
Instead, Hertha has put forward Maifeld (pictured), the huge open-air site adjacent to the Olympiastadion that was developed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party to host the annual May Day celebrations and other propaganda events.
Teichert said: “There should be no ban on thinking. The Maifeld is of course a suitable location. It has approximately 100,000 square metres of space and once a year polo and a few other events take place, otherwise nothing happens. You can certainly find other spaces for these events, as they used to take place elsewhere.
“The Maifeld is simply a very suitable location. In terms of traffic, it is almost as well connected as the area in front of Rominter Allee, is underutilised in terms of sport and is idle for most of the year. I could imagine that a stadium could be built there, paying tribute to the historical context.”
Regarding Hertha’s overarching vision for a new stadium, Teichert added: “I am still convinced that a football stadium is good for the Olympiapark. The park needs development as it is still largely unknown to the public today. You could change that, our investment would be a building block.
“We build the stadium ourselves. It doesn’t cost the country money. We want to lease a property and pay rent that is customary in the market. We do not want any subsidies or funding, but instead build a stadium with our own money for €270m (£224m/$291.7m). The country benefits from this.”