ECB could abandon Eurotower
Frankfurt skyscraper has served as backdrop to single currency’s milestone moments.
FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank could abandon the Eurotower skyscraper in Frankfurt, along with its landmark Euro sculpture.
“We heard about a possible relocation of colleagues in the Eurotower to a different building, not necessarily in the city center,” the ECB’s staff committee said in an all-staff email Thursday. “We would have expected an early involvement of staff representatives via an official channel.”
The ECB declined to comment on ending or renewing its lease on the Eurotower, noting this was commercially sensitive information. However, a spokeswoman said the central bank “continuously monitors the Frankfurt real estate market and takes note of opportunities that might arise.”
Currently, the Eurotower serves as the headquarters for the ECB’s banking supervision arm, with around 1,400 employees working from the site. The ECB also rents a second office in central Frankfurt, hosting some 700 staff.
Should the ECB not extend its lease on the Eurotower, thought to expire at the end of 2024, it would mark the end of an era. The European Monetary Institute, set up under the Maastricht Treaty to help prepare for Economic and Monetary Union, moved into the 148-meter tall, 1970s skyscraper in 1995 with fewer than 250 staff.
Through the decades, the building has served as a backdrop for the key moments in Europe’s single currency project — from people holding the new currency banknotes for the first time, to new countries joining the euro and the eurozone crises along the way.
Having grown to more than 3,500 staff, the ECB headquarters has since moved out to Frankfurt’s east. Staff began moving in late 2014 to the new Main Building, which cost €1.3 billion — getting on for three times its original estimate.
The ECB spokeswoman noted that while the central bank owns its Main Building, it "is not pursuing to acquire other owned sites.”
The staff committee has voiced its concerns about a possible relocation to ECB Executive Board member Frank Elderson in his capacity as chief services officer, the email said, adding that the committee will inform staff about any response.
"Looking forward, we believe that staff have a legitimate interest in having their views taken on board as regards the locations envisaged, given the impact that the new location will have on their commuting and their home location choices," the committee wrote in a letter to Elderson that was attached to the staff email.
A member of staff, who did not want to be named because conversations were private, said some employees were also concerned about prestige — potentially having to receive CEOs from banks they supervise somewhere "in der pampa" on the city outskirts rather than in the historically important building at the heart of Europe’s financial center.
Eurotower owner Fubon Life did not respond to questions about possible future rental opportunities.