New plans for diebsteich: music hall and soccer stadium

Hamburg is planning a music hall, a soccer stadium and commercial space near the Diebsteich S-Bahn station – regardless of whether the station is relocated.

A Saturday in Altona-Nord: Chief Building Director Franz-Josef Hoing defends the Diebsteich plans Photo: Sebastian Grundke

According to Urban Development Senator Dorothee Stapelfeldt (SPD), plans for Diebsteich will continue to move forward, even though a construction freeze is in place for the relocation of the Altona long-distance train station. Planning will continue "regardless of the duration of the court case," Stapelfeldt said.

The court case revolves around the planned relocation of Altona long-distance train station by about one and a half kilometers to the north, to the Diebsteich S-Bahn station: The new construction of the train station and two high-rise buildings had been stopped by the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) – because of the lack of planning for a new loading facility for car trains.

A decision in the main proceedings could be issued this summer. Against this background, Finance Senator Andreas Dressel (SPD) has been negotiating with Deutsche Bahn and the plaintiffs since the spring to sound out how the project could still be realized. This is because the relocation of the station is also linked to further residential construction on land over which tracks still run.

The urban development authority then also presented the outline planning to the citizens at an on-site meeting on Saturday. Chief Building Director Franz-Josef Hoing reiterated the senator’s position: "We’re not waiting for the decision on the long-distance train station in Diebsteich, but think all the other building blocks there are right." When asked, he acknowledged that the plans are still imprecise: "What we have developed is a corset and not finished architecture or designed space."

Critics speak of misplanning

According to the authority’s information, a music hall for a good 5,000 visitors is to be built on the so-called Thyssen-Krupp site near the S-Bahn station, along with commercial properties and a regional league soccer stadium. The city has already purchased the site. However, it is still unclear which investors will be involved.

The planning process began in May 2018 and, according to the authorities, more than 450 people took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the public consultation on Diebsteich, both in two ideas workshops and online. For example, the desire for "more social and cultural infrastructure" had been expressed. When asked, Stapelfeldt now said that the plans were flexible with regard to social infrastructure: "Of course, this will play a role in further considerations."

The complaint had been initiated by the Altona citizens’ initiative Prellbock together with the Verkehrsclub Deutschland, District North. The initiative is critical of the plans that have now been presented: "People act as if the entire political development – the talks with Mr. Dressel and the court case – had not taken place," Prellbock spokesman Michael Jung told the taz. He speaks of "misplanning." The neighborhood forum "Kein Diebsteich 23" (No Diebsteich 23) also criticized the plans: In a flyer and at the event on Saturday, they called for affordable housing and small businesses instead of a music hall and stadium.

According to the city development authority, the planning is partly in line with a "master plan" that the Chamber of Commerce had formulated for Diebsteich in 2017. For example, the commercial use there is to remain largely untouched. The paper at the time also includes sports fields, albeit on the roof of the building of the Metro wholesale group; an event hall for around 5,000 guests appears there as part of a convention center.

According to the authority, existing apartments, such as those on Isebekstrasse, will not be touched. The Diebsteich cemetery is also to remain – largely. In this matter, the city is negotiating with the church about a possible use of eliminated graves as green spaces. The Chamber of Commerce made a similar proposal in 2017.