Bringing New Life to the Allerheiligenviertel
The Project Developer of the MAIN YARD René Reif in Conversation
The MAIN YARD, a new quarter with almost 300 apartments, a hotel, serviced apartments, gastronomy and retail, is being built on the edge of the eastern city center of Frankfurt. The Allerheiligenviertel, which has been somehow forgotten for a long time, is to be revitalized and experience a noticeable upswing. There are a number of challenges for city districts of the future to consider. The topics of sustainability, neighborhood networking, inner-city recreation areas and affordability of the apartments are playing an increasingly important role both in municipal procurement procedures and for the future users of the quarter.
SKYLINE ATLAS: Dear Mr. Reif, thank you for taking the time to talk to SKYLINE ATLAS. We’d like to talk to you about the MAIN YARD project in East Downtown. In your words: what characterizes this new district?
René Reif: The centrally located Allerheiligenviertel offers great opportunities for a new lively district in Frankfurt. We want to use these opportunities and breathe new life into the district. Right from the start, we approached everyone involved in the project, opened up to the district and its surroundings and thus created trust. This was more than important to us.
The MAIN YARD upgrades previously unused areas and makes them usable. This creates urgently needed living space in a central city location. Particular value is placed on the mix of uses and diversity of the district. We want to create a unique, identity-establishing quarter, which at the same time opens up to its surroundings and helps to shape them. Our goal is to use the MAIN YARD to close the gap between the city center and the increasingly popular Ostend with the new ECB location.
SKYLINEATLAS: The Allerheiligenviertel has been forgotten over the past few decades. What added value will the new quarter create for its surroundings?
René Reif: With the MAIN YARD, a cultural melting pot is being created in Frankfurt. Even before the development, a temporary placemaking cosmos was created by the free space provided. It is important to continue this heritage in the MAIN YARD by enabling the art and creative scene to be involved during the construction phase. We are sure that the MAIN YARD will also have a positive effect on the surrounding area. For example, the redesign of the Allerheiligenstraße will probably be based on the project.
SKYLINE ATLAS: The MAIN YARD is being built in the Allerheiligenviertel, right on the edge of the city centre. What requirements does the design of a quarter close to the center entail?
René Reif: One requirement is to reintegrate a forgotten and at the same time discredited neighborhood into the Frankfurt cityscape. The more stakeholders, the more interests: our aim is to take up the diversity of opinions and incorporate them into the planning process. The MAIN YARD will be a mixed-use, lively district in which everyone can get involved.
Another challenge is of course project management. In such a dense and central location close to downtown Frankfurt, it is very important that the neighborhood and the surrounding area are affected as little as possible.
“…to reintegrate a forgotten and at the same time discredited neighborhood into the Frankfurt cityscape.”
René Reif on the challenges of developing the MAIN YARD
SKYLINE ATLAS: What does inner-city living mean to you and how can a space be created with the MAIN YARD in which both urbanity and deceleration are possible?
René Reif: The mix will make all the difference: modern living space, hip cafés and innovative restaurants make up the urban core of the MAIN YARD, the many green spaces and planted roof terraces invite tenants and users of the quarter to slow down. Inner-city living in the MAIN YARD means contemporary living. The focus will be on one- to two-room apartments – our target group are singles and young professionals.
SKYLINE ATLAS: More and more people want additional greenery in the city center. What concepts does the MAIN YARD envisage in this regard?
René Reif: With the Grünen Gaß’, we will create a diagonal private road that will have an absolute ecological focus: from flower beds to various plants and trees. Urban gardening and completely designed building facades are also planned for the MAIN YARD.
SKYLINE ATLAS: Within the quarter there should be many opportunities for exchange and strong networking between residents. How do you try to open up the MAIN YARD to the outside world and connect it with the surrounding neighborhood?
René Reif: Our community is very important to us. Even before the construction process, we succeeded in promoting networking through various temporary uses. Due to Corona, our social media channels in particular are currently helping us to keep our community up to date on current developments and events. As soon as the situation permits, we will again invite you to exciting events around the MAIN YARD.
SKYLINE ATLAS: The MAIN YARD should be a neighborhood for everyone and characterized by tolerance and openness. How do you try to promote these values in the neighborhood?
René Reif: We will ensure a balanced mix of tenants with a wide variety of providers, especially in the retail and catering sectors. Space could also be created for art projects that actively demand tolerance, anti-racism and openness. We are currently also writing a book about the creation of the MAIN YARD, in which, among other things, various groups of people have their say about the project. In this way, we also want to document the active participation and create even more connection to the district.
Sonja Teichner and René Reif
SKYLINE ATLAS: Let’s have a look into future: How do you see the long-term development of the area and the MAIN YARD?
René Reif: The goal is to turn the district development into a brand. We are already working on that today. The term MAIN YARD should stand for a place of well-being and experience between Breite Gasse, Allerheiligenstraße and Lange Straße.
SKYLINE ATLAS: Thank you very much for the interview and good luck for the development of the MAIN YARD.
The interview was conducted in March 2022.
René Reif, Sonja Teichner (OrT Group), Dean Vukovic, Jakob Schickedanz (SKYLINE ATLAS)
The MAIN YARD makes it's mark
March 2022: In Frankfurt this house wall was designed by the artist Justus Becker as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine.
“I think the current remaining wall on the MAIN YARD site speaks for itself – we are sending a message of solidarity with Ukraine and all the people who are tirelessly fighting for their freedom and for democracy these days. This wall has become my place of solidarity. I represent a strong opinion: against exclusion, hate and violence and for tolerance and diversity. For this I set strong signs here in Frankfurt in the Allerheiligenviertel, visible to all.”
René Reif on the war in Ukraine
About René Reif
René Reif is managing partner of the project developer ORT Group. He is also a lecturer in the field of real estate financing and project development at the Chair of Construction Process Management and Real Estate Development (integral Center for Construction and Real Estate) at the Technical University of Munich and Chairman of the Academic Advisory Board of the Academy of Real Estate Management, ADI Munich.