Design & Development

Max-Morlock-Stadion recommended for €290m overhaul

Featured image credit: FC Nürnberg

Nürnberg City Council has been recommended to approve an estimated €290m (£244.4m/$311.8m) project which will see the complete redevelopment of Max-Morlock-Stadion.

A joint project group made up of the City of Nürnberg and FC Nürnberg (FCN), the 2. Bundesliga football club which calls the stadium home, has made the recommendation ahead of a City Council meeting scheduled for June 19.

Stakeholders are hoping that next week’s meeting will allow further concrete planning for the complete reconstruction of Max-Morlock-Stadion based on results from a feasibility study and continue to drive forward the development of the stadium’s surroundings.

After an intensive review of the study results by all departments of the city administration involved, there are now concrete proposals on how the results of the feasibility study should be handled.

The planning office AS+P has drawn up a basic functional plan. After weighing up construction costs, revenue potential and other factors, the project group said it has reached the clear recommendation of planning a stadium with 40,000 seats. In competitions and events that permit safe standing, this corresponds to a capacity of 46,000 to 50,000 seats.

Mayor Christian Vogel said: “We have had the study’s recommendations on the table since last year. Now we are one step further and can say with conviction: the new stadium should be planned under these conditions.

“It should be of a similar size to the current one, but without a running track and with more standing room, but also with more places for wheelchair users and people with physical disabilities and also for VIP customers.

“We have a clear recommendation and the city council will decide whether we should take the next step on this basis and start further planning.”

He continued: “We now also know that preserving the listed façade will cost money. Many discussions still need to be held about how we deal with this knowledge.

“Monument protection is very important and we will take it into account as far as possible, but in the end it must not call into question the economic viability of a project. It must therefore be carefully weighed up and discussed with the responsible authorities in the state.”

FCN and the City in October 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 Germany.

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 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. 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.

Based on the functional planning, a cost framework has now been calculated for the complete renovation of the stadium. Based on today’s construction cost level, this amounts to around €290m. Officials state that the cost increase is due to a larger stadium capacity than the figures in the feasibility study accommodated.

Niels Rossow, commercial director of FC Nürnberg, said: “1. FCN has a long tradition and an eventful history, but 1. FC Nürnberg wants above all to shape the future successfully.

“This also requires a competitive infrastructure for game operations. The complete reconstruction of the Max-Morlock-Stadion would be a big step in this direction. A place is to be created on this historic site that serves not only top-class sport but also grassroots sport and would thus enhance the city and the region.

“The cross-party cooperation for the stadium’s complete reconstruction project is characterised by goal-oriented action, collegiality and solidarity. We would like to thank them for this.”