PRESS RELEASE

European Central Bank buys Grossmarkt site

5 March 2002

On 5 March 2002, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the City of Frankfurt am Main signed a notarised purchase agreement for the site of what is now the Großmarkthalle, Frankfurt's wholesale fruit and vegetable market.

At this meeting of the contracting parties, Dr. Willem F. Duisenberg, President of the ECB, said that the ECB's intention to build its permanent headquarters on the site ­ an intention which had taken concrete form with the conclusion of the Urban Framework Agreement in July 2001 ­ had now become fact. After careful consideration and detailed study of alternative locations, the ECB had come to the conclusion that the site offered by the City of Frankfurt provided the best possibilities for building permanent headquarters that met its requirements and standards. He said that the newly acquired site of the Großmarkthalle offered the ECB space for expansion and the potential to meet the needs of the future.

Lady Mayor Petra Roth said that the City would do everything in its power to accommodate the ECB's justified interest in improved transport connections and the structural enhancement of east Frankfurt. In terms of city planning, the ECB's construction project would provide a further major stimulus to the overall development of this part of the city. In the long term, it was a chance to reduce the imbalance between the west and the east of Frankfurt and to improve the utilisation of land and infrastructure in the city as a whole.

The ECB's new site covers almost 12 hectares, and its development will be the subject of an international architectural design and urban planning competition to be launched by the ECB in the second half of 2002. The aim of this competition is to find the best solution for the development of the site, which will start in 2004/2005. In parallel, the City's planning department has started to draw up a development plan under the name "Sondergebiet Europäische Zentralbank", according to its Head, Councillor Edwin Schwarz.

Councillor Schwarz added that the ECB's purchase of the site would put the historical Großmarkthalle building to a new and lasting use. On the southern side, the site would feature a broad riverside promenade, 40-50m wide. This alone was a benefit for the city, said Councillor Schwarz, who is delighted that the people of Frankfurt will regain access to a large area of the river bank. He also hoped that the ECB would open parts of the site to the general public, but recognised that the security needs of the ECB would take priority. Furthermore, it would be possible to reach the Main from the Ostpark and the Ostend area via Holzmannstraße and an extension of Rückertstraße.

The Lady Mayor and President Duisenberg emphasised the intention of both parties to continue their successful working relationship.

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