Defining the Skyline and Community in Frankfurt

Community|08 Jan 2024


Florian Reiff, Regional Director of Germany, discusses Tishman Speyer’s dedication to innovation and creativity and the impact we’ve had on Frankfurt as a city and community. With insight from Dr. Petra Roth and the team behind the thriving, local brand, Elaine's World, learn about how Tishman Speyer has approached building key cultural institutions in Frankfurt, and how we continue to be a key part of the German city’s growth.

Every city skyline tells a story. In Frankfurt, Germany, the skyline speaks to a historical project, spanning decades into the past and many years into the future.

In partnership with Tishman Speyer, the city of Frankfurt’s cultural development exemplifies the connection between community and development to transform the skyline and strengthen community ties in the city.

Rethinking the city

For more than the past three decades, Tishman Speyer has been a partner in the city of Frankfurt’s progress.

“Jerry Speyer visited me in my office when I was a mayor,” recalls Petra Roth, who served as Frankfurt’s mayor from 2005 to 2012. In those meetings, Speyer explained how he envisioned the city could partner with Tishman Speyer to transform the way residents interacted with their city.

By the time Roth met Speyer, his work in Frankfurt was already well underway. Tishman Speyer’s work in Frankfurt began in 1988 with the creation of MesseTurm, a 61,700-square-meter office tower. It was also Tishman Speyer’s first project in Europe.

Working with the architecture firm Murphy/Jahn, Jerry Speyer and his team helped create not only a state-of-the-art office facility but also a signature building for the Frankfurt skyline and Europe at large. Once completed, the impressive 63-story building was the tallest office tower in Europe. MesseTurm set the tone for Tishman Speyer’s future endeavors and collaborations with Frankfurt, becoming a point of pride for a changing city.

Tishman Speyer set about completing its next Frankfurt project. Breaking ground in 2007 and completed in 2009, OpernTurm is a 42-story tower and seven-story low-rise building, a combined total of 79,000 square meters.

Creating community on the street level, OpernTurm houses high-quality office spaces and public retail in the heart of Frankfurt.

With a mind toward the future, next came TaunusTurm, perhaps Tishman Speyer’s most ambitious Frankfurt project yet.

Most recently comes the OmniTurm, the crown jewel of Tishman Speyer’s Frankfurt projects. Delivered in 2019, the OmniTurm was the first high-rise in Germany to merge office, residential and commercial space into one building. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, the tower stands 190 meters tall, cutting a unique silhouette in the skyline with its stack central swing.

From the ground up

Cultural development in Frankfurt means more than just buildings; it means creating a community around them, which Tishman Speyer prioritized with every project.

“What’s so important to our cities nowadays is that we think about our ground floor levels, so that we activate them, that they’re open to the public, that they really are a win and a benefit for local communities,” explains Florian Reiff, Regional Director of Germany.

Tishman Speyer has always tried to be part of the conversation in Frankfurt. That includes its installation of “Hammering Man,” a 25-meter sculpture installed near MesseTurm. Created by Jonathan Borofsky, the large piece of public art has been a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike.

When building OpernTurm, the team at Tishman Speyer wanted to create not only an office and retail space but also an experience that felt like an oasis for anyone who passed by. That included the decision to expand the adjacent historical Rothschild Park by approximately 5,500 square meters, creating a space for the community to gather and relax.

Similarly, TaunusTurm’s efficiency opens the conversation around conservancy and eco-design. With its lobby facing the public park, it naturally welcomes the community. And, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the tower hosts a public branch of the Museum of Modern Art. Once again, design and function create a ground-floor experience that entices.

The decision to make OmniTurm a true mixed-use high-rise came out of necessity and design. In early research, it was clear that the core of Frankfurt’s Central Business District needed more residential space. It also needed more commercial space to cater to the populations moving into an area traditionally shut down on nights and weekends. But, could the team create a multi-purpose building, with each component feeling organic and unique?

It was a challenge the Tishman Speyer team was enthusiastic to take on, answering the question, “How can we design spaces efficiently, creatively and sustainably to coexist seamlessly?”

Welcome to Elaine’s World

“We have a long-term relationship with the city of Frankfurt and the local community,” says Reiff, pointing to a recent customer in a Tishman Speyer building. “We want to be seen as a really innovative, forward-looking and creative real estate company that attracts all the young and talented people into real estate.”

And when Reiff had a chance to meet the team behind local restaurant Elaine’s World, he knew the eatery would be a perfect fit.

“I think Elaine’s is a great example of how we look at our projects in cities,” Reiff says.

At first glance, the partnership feels like an odd pairing. The creative team behind Elaine’s World is hip, art-minded and a mix of cool and casual. Stepping into their first meeting with the Tishman Speyer team, their athleisure wear stood out from the suits in the room.

But it only took a few moments for the ice to break. Elaine’s World co-founder Guy Lamaye thinks it was his goodwill gesture, a box of cupcakes—a sweet and somewhat lighthearted offering that got the conversation going. “We think that was the key,” he jokes.

Reiff offered them a retail space in the TaunusTurm to work on their concept.

“They take the risk and give us a chance to prove that we can be the coffee spot of the future,” Elaine’s World co-founder Luel Mulugeta says.

Since opening their first concept, the Elaine’s World team has expanded across Frankfurt, opening additional locations in Tishman Speyer properties across the city. Through the partnership, they’ve grown the community from the ground floor up.

“Tishman Speyer is a developer for cities. One of the greatest, I would say,” reflects Roth.

Learn more about Tishman Speyer’s impact across communities and industries.

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