Building behind the loan: A Frankfurt landmark

With a design concept based on natural ventilation, sky gardens and natural lighting, Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Tower was a building ahead of its time.

The Commerzbank Tower (Source: Getty)

Completed in 1997, the Commerzbank Tower skyscraper, built as the headquarters of lender Commerzbank, was based on ideas only just appearing as standard in office developments today. Occupants can open windows, allowing workers to control airflow and temperature. The office floors of the triangular-shaped building are also arranged around a full-height central atrium and sky gardens.

With design ideas that remain relevant today, it is little surprise that in August the 985-foot-high office secured refinancing. 

Refinancing consortium

A consortium of lenders – Germans banks pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and LBBW and Italian-headquartered bank UniCredit – issued the loan to investment management firm Patrizia. The amount was not disclosed. However, the parties did reveal the loan-to-value ratio, of 55 percent. Given that Patrizia acquired the asset in 2016 for €800 million, the amount of finance recently raised will be sizeable. Patrizia said the capital will be used to further enhance the building’s environmental credentials.

Commerzbank Tower’s ecological features means the tower consumes half the energy of more conventional office skyscrapers, according to the building’s British architect Foster + Partners. It was awarded the Green Building Award of the City of Frankfurt in 2009 – an accolade that recognises projects for energy efficiency combined with expressive design and a high level of user comfort.

Commerzbank’s decision to locate its headquarters in Frankfurt came about following a nationwide expansion of the company during the 1990s. Settling on a home was the end of a long process for the bank, which lost 45 percent of its premises after the division of Germany following the Second World War. 

The tower is currently the tallest in Germany, but it will not hold its position for much longer. In 2025, construction will start on the Millennium Tower in Frankfurt, which will be the second-tallest building in the EU and the tallest in Germany when it is completed in 2030. 

But in today’s office market, in which occupiers are demanding thoughtful and sustainable design, this building will undoubtedly maintain its reputation. 


  • 1991: Foster + Partners appointed to design the tower

  • 1997: Commerzbank tower completed, tallest building in Europe

  • 1997: The tower is awarded the International Award in the British Construction Industry Awards

  • 1998: RIBA Architecture Award

  • 2009: Green Building Award of the City of Frankfurt

  • 2016: Patrizia acquires the building for a reported €800 million

  • 2023: The tower is refinanced