The Financial District of Frankfurt is an inner-city development area in which a large number of banks, law firms, and organizations (particularly from the financial sector) are located. The Financial District is not an independent district and has no fixed boundaries, and is also called Banking District (in German: Bankenviertel). Today, areas of the western city center, the eastern Bahnhofsviertel (lit. Railway Station District) and the southern Westend are considered part of the Financial District. Because real estate is now also being rented by companies from the financial sector in adjacent areas, the Financial District is constantly expanding in this way.
The Financial District was the city’s first high-rise cluster, as many tall buildings close to each other emeged here. The development as a high-rise area happened after the Second World War in particular because of the complete destruction of the historical cityscape of the inner city and the relocation of construction activity to the Financial District after the Frankfurt House Fights took place.
The namesake of the Financial District are the banks located here, which have their headquarters at this location. These include the major German banks such as Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DZ Bank and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen. There are also numerous representative offices of foreign banks in Frankfurt’s Financial District such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The aerial view of the Financial District was taken during a skyline flight in Frankfurt: The center of the Financial District is the area on both sides of the Gallusanlage and the Taunusanlage, along Neue Mainzer Strasse, Junghofstrasse, Neue Schlesingergasse, Große Gallusstrasse and Kaiserstrasse. In addition, the area on both sides of Mainzer Landstrasse from Taunusanlage to Platz der Republik and Bockenheimer Landstrasse to Opernplatz are also part of the district. The bordering residential areas of the Westend and Bahnhofsviertel districts as well as the European District at Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage also belong to the Financial District, while there are no formal borders in place for it.
The history of Frankfurt as a financial center goes back to the Middle Ages and has been shaped by political events to this day. In its present, prominent form, the banking quarter developed only after the events of the Second World War. Before the war, the capital Berlin had been the leading German financial center. The headquarters of the most important credit institutions were concentrated in Berlin’s Banking District. At the time of the division of Germany, Berlin’s historic Banking District was located in Berlin-Mitte and thus in East Berlin. In addition, the major banks located in Berlin were placed under forced administration and smashed. In the Soviet occupation zone, the banks were nationalised and business activities were discontinued; in the western occupation zones, successor companies were founded between 1945 and 1948 whose activities were initially limited to the respective occupation zone.
The Economic Council of the United Economic Area of the Bizone took its seat in the building of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 1947. The Bank Deutscher Länder (lit. United Bank of German States) was founded on 1 March 1948. It virtually became the successor to the Reichsbank and had its headquarters in the building of the former Reichsbank headquarters on Taunusanlage. In 1957, the Reichsbank headquarters became the Deutsche Bundesbank.
In 1956, the Law on the Area of Establishment of Credit Institutions of 24 December 1956 created the legal prerequisites for the reunification of the major banks. As a result, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank were established in Frankfurt on January 1, 1957. Commerzbank continued to have its legal domicile in Düsseldorf until 1990, but from the outset it conducted a large part of its business operations in Frankfurt.
Concentration of Building Mass
The density of building masses is the highest here of all places in Germany. The first skyscrapers in the Financial District were built during the German economic miracle (the “Wirtschaftswunder”). However, the skyline of the skyscrapers, which is well-known in the media, was primarily created in the 1980s and 1990s. Five new skyscrapers are currently under construction in the Financial District: the Global Tower and the four towers of FOUR Frankfurt.
New towers are currently being built in Frankfurt mainly in the European District (eight new skyscrapers will be built there by 2021).