Design & Development

Consultation process commences for reimagining of Max-Morlock-Stadion

Featured image credit: City of Nürnberg

German 2. Bundesliga football club FC Nürnberg (FCN) and the City of Nürnberg have launched a public consultation process over the proposed redevelopment of Max-Morlock-Stadion, with officials stating that the project intends to make the venue the most inclusive stadium in the country.

The consultation process commenced with an open day at the stadium on Saturday and is due to run through to November 19. In July, FCN and the City presented a feasibility study for the redevelopment of Max-Morlock-Stadion, recommending the elimination of the current athletics track in an up to €200m (£173.9m/$210.6m) 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 2022. 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 majority of the grandstand structures date from the late 1980s and are now deemed to be in need of renovation. This, along with outdated stadium technology, means that the City currently has to spend around €2.5m annually just to maintain its current condition. 

The feasibility study recommended 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.

Following Saturday’s open day, Mayor Christian Vogel said: “The great response to this open day shows once again how much the people of Nürnberg care about their stadium. 

“Seen this way, what the feasibility study shows is all the more beautiful: that the complete conversion into a modern football stadium is compatible with the preservation of the listed areas and the shape of the octagon.

“We are now very excited to see what feedback we receive online about the ideas for the stadium area. We are currently working on ways to finance the project. Because one thing is clear: the city will not go it alone.”

Niels Rossow, commercial director of FC Nürnberg, added: “The shared interest of the city, citizens and the club in the future-proof development of our unique stadium area was very noticeable. On this common basis, I am confident that we will be able to positively shape the next big challenges such as financing and partner acquisition.”

Speaking further to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Rossow spelled out how, in the future, wheelchair users will have dedicated facilities in every stand, not just in one part of the stadium. “We are aiming for the most inclusion-friendly stadium in this republic,” he said.

Efforts will also be made to address FCN’s current second-to-last ranking in the 2.Bundesliga when it comes to VIP and hospitality seating. While Max-Morlock-Stadion is expected to be scaled back to a capacity of 45,000, hospitality ticket provision is set to rise from 1,300 to around 4,000. “The stadium should no longer only be relevant on 17 (home game) days, but on 365 days a year,” said Rossow.

Feedback from the consultation phase will be evaluated and then presented to city council in spring 2024. Officials hope that work can commenced on the project in 2026, with a view to completion in 2030.