Frankfurt to explore new arena at Deutsche Bank Park

Frankfurt City Council has announced it has selected a site adjacent to Deutsche Bank Park, home of Bundesliga football club Eintracht Frankfurt, for a potential new 13,500-capacity arena.

The plot of land (P9) is currently used as a car park, with the Council to conduct an in-depth examination of its merits as a possible location for the construction of a multifunctional arena.

Mike Josef, head of the sports and planning department at Frankfurt City Council, said: “After we presented a feasibility study for the area in March, we have now been able to reach a consensus to conduct an in-depth investigation of the site.

“We’ve had building rights here since 2006. From my point of view, there is no alternative to this, since there is no planning right for the other locations discussed – and therefore no multifunctional arena can be built elsewhere in the city area in the foreseeable future.”

In March, Josef presented a feasibility study by architecture and urban planning practice Albert Speer + Partner (AS+P) for the area. The latest announcement follows years of discussions over potential sites for a new arena in Frankfurt.

In June 2019, plans were revealed for a new €300m (£255m/$305.8m) project that would result in the development of the second largest arena of its kind in Europe. The project centred on the development of a 23,000-seat arena entitled ‘The Dome’ on land owned by Fraport, the transport company which operates the city’s airport.

The project was reportedly set to be privately financed by Canada’s Katz Group, which specialises in sports and entertainment and real estate development, and was said to be looking to operate the arena after its then targeted opening date of 2023.

At that time, TheStadiumBusiness.com reported that a project that had stalled in recent years involving the City of Frankfurt and operator of Deutsche Bank Park was gathering momentum.

Located in Kaiserlei, between Offenbach am Main and the main city centre, construction company BAM was said to have been engaged for the project with business plans being discussed and financing in the latter stages of being arranged.

Basketball Bundesliga club Skyliners Frankfurt were said to have been backing an arena at Kaiserlei. Meanwhile, local newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) said the team behind The Dome project in March said it would present a new location for its scheme in May, only for no further news to develop.

The Council has now said that based on the present feasibility study, planning for a new arena for 13,500 spectators is to be advanced. The lead management lies with Sportpark Stadion Frankfurt am Main Gesellschaft für Projektentwicklungen mbH (SSF), which is 100% owned by the City.

Planning funds of €750,000 are being made available for this purpose, with the arena project currently projected to cost around €200m. The City said “appropriate decisions” of the city council are to be made shortly.

“It is important for us now to create the ecological and economic foundations, in particular, and to clarify the urban planning and traffic requirements so that the multifunctional arena can be built on P9,” said city treasurer Bastian Bergerhoff.

“At the same time, possible allocation and implementation models for the multifunctional arena are being examined. Our goal is the timely realisation of an arena for the Frankfurt professional teams as well as for national and international sporting and cultural events.”

The P9 site is owned by the city and is leased to SSF, which has concluded a commercial lease agreement with Eintracht on the use of the space. This lease agreement runs until 2035, with the football club therefore set to have an important say in the matter.

“An arena can only be built if Eintracht and the city agree on the model of use and operation,” Eintracht board spokesman Axel Hellmann told FR.

Image: Frankfurt City Council