The topic of « conversion projects » is attracting more and more attention and deserves it. This refers to the conversion of obsolete office buildings primarily for residential purposes. This is not new. Some time ago, old factory buildings were predominantly in demand. They were transformed into sought-after loft flats. Converting offices into flats is usually more challenging architecturally.

Frankfurt am Main is a nationwide pioneer in this field. This is obvious when you look at the situation in Germany’s banking centre: The total office vacancy rate has risen by around 10 % since the beginning of 2023 to 1,510,000 m², with the available supply (including projects under construction) currently totalling around 2 million m². This corresponds to around 20% of let space. Overall demand has been flat and sideways for 10 years. The situation is the opposite for flats: « The flat gap is largest in Frankfurt, » JLL Research recently stated.

This makes the article by Günter Murr in the online edition of the FAZ on 24 May « Conversion of office buildings: double bed instead of desk » all the more pleasing and important. The author knows his stuff. From 2018 to 2022, he was the press officer for the City of Frankfurt, where he was responsible for construction projects, among other things. He is now responsible for urban planning, architecture and property at the FAZ Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

The article focuses on our « HAVENS LIVING » project in Voltastrasse as a current pioneering example. The building, formerly known as the Carat office centre, was completed a few weeks ago for International Campus. Günter Murr quotes Benjamin Albrecht on behalf of the client: « Our development shows how vacant office stock can be converted into a modern residential concept quickly, to a high standard and in line with demand … Demolition and new construction would have taken considerably longer. »

The article provides good information on the situation in Frankfurt, which calls for the buildings outside the city centre in particular to be converted into flats or schools, as has already been done in Niederrad with the « Lyoner Quartier ».

The author fails to mention Frankfurt’s most famous and central redevelopment project – the former police headquarters. Everyone in Frankfurt is rubbing their eyes: the building has been ready for a new use for 22 years now and the project is still blocked. What is the reason this time? Project developer Gerch went bankrupt in August 2023, like so many others in the past year.