Design & Development

Football-specific future recommended for Max-Morlock-Stadion

Featured image credit: Max-Morlock-Stadion

German 2. Bundesliga football club FC Nürnberg (FCN) and the City of Nürnberg have presented a feasibility study for the redevelopment of Max-Morlock-Stadion, recommending the elimination of the current athletics track in an up to €200m (£170.6m/$220.4m) revamp that would seek to retain its octagonal design and other historic elements.

PROPROJEKT, a consultancy service for the construction sector, was appointed by the City to carry out a feasibility study for the redevelopment of Max-Morlock-Stadion back in November. Max-Morlock-Stadion has a capacity of 50,000 and first opened in 1928. Plans were announced in January 2022 to explore a potential redevelopment of the stadium, which was last renovated 30 years ago.

The presented study intends to form a key base for a city council decision on July 19 with regards how to proceed on the project. In summary, the study recommends respectful further development of the entire area as well as the conversion of the stadium into a football-specific venue.

A separate facility is being eyed for other sports such as athletics and American football. A stadium redesign would take place integrating its octagonal shape and the main grandstand facade in line with monument protection laws. 

Project stakeholders have said Volkspark Dutzendteich, in which the stadium is located, will be treated with “care and respect” during any redevelopment. The Nazi regime used the site as the location for their Rally Grounds project, with this area to be “guaranteed respectful treatment”.

The study resulted from the identified major requirement for renovation of the stadium, with Nürnberg’s failure to be selected as a host city for Germany’s staging of UEFA Euro 2024 reinforcing a need for action.

If the city council grants its support next week, the project group will create a financing concept in cooperation with city and private partners, as well as FCN. The city council is to decide on further steps in winter 2023-24. Until then, various working groups will deepen and build on the initial study findings.

Mayor of Nürnberg, Christian Vogel, said: “It (the study) shows us exactly where the path of the popular stadium and the unique environment can lead. Because our stadium doesn’t get any better over the years and the worst thing would be to watch and do nothing. 

“With the completed feasibility study, we have taken a very important step and not only explored what is feasible, but also what makes sense. I am extremely happy with the results. They give us a solid but at the same time innovative recommendation for action on how to proceed. 

“Even if it’s not easy in this area, we can use it to combine the requirements of sport, ecology, leisure use, history and economy.”

Niels Rossow, commercial director of FC Nürnberg, added: “We would like to thank the City for the extraordinarily cooperative and trusting cooperation, which has led to a very sustainable result. 

“With its infrastructure, the new stadium quarter creates economic and social added value far beyond football. We all benefit from this project, with which we bring people, companies and institutions together behind a concept that sustainably advances our club and our city.”

Project stakeholders are targeting 2030 as a realistic target for completion of a new-look Max-Morlock-Stadion.

Vogel said: “We want to design something new and at the same time integrate tried and tested elements. Such a project, which means setting the course for the next few decades, can only succeed if we work together. That’s why working together is important to me at this point, too.”