The Zeil project has entered a new phase. On 29 May 2002 documents for the so-called multiple commission awarded by MAB, the Dutch developer of real estate projects, were sent out to a total of seven internationally renowned architectural firms: Mario Bellini (Mailand), Coop Himmelb(l)au (Wien), Massimiliano Fuksas (Rom), KSP (Frankfurt am Main), Langhof (Berlin), Richard Rogers (London) and Christian de Portzamparc (Paris). Altogether, over 300 firms had applied to MAB.
Apart from representatives of MAB and the City of Frankfurt, the 11-man assessment panel also consists of urban planners and independent experts. The procedure is based on the framework conditions set out in the Urban Development Agreement and MABÂ's preparations for the former central post office site, including the Thurn und Taxis Palais. In addition, project aims and content have been coordinated with the acting representatives of the City of Frankfurt. 'The architectural firms involved will have the opportunity of presenting their plans to the panel in three colloquia, thereby ensuring that the clientÂ's wishes and approach to town planning are already incorporated in the design phase of the project', was how Professor BÃ¤cher explained the procedure for the coming weeks.
The architects have to submit their plans to the assessment panel by the end of August 2002, which will evaluate these over the following month. Once the assessment panel has made its decision, the next step is the optimisation phase: a further, detailed version of the winning plan will be developed for the end of 2002, after which preparations shall immediately continue with plans for completion in compliance with local building regulations. The first applications for planning permission should be submitted by mid-2003, with the starting date for construction work on the Zeil project scheduled for mid-2004.