TEXT: TJEERD LANGSTRAAT PHOTOGRAPHY: ANTIM
After years of demolition, construction and renovation, the area around Central Station is fi-na-lly ready. The urban red carpet unrolls into the city, the train station has become an international eyecatcher, and along the Proveniers-side of Central Station, the final pavement stones have been laid.
Done. Finished. It’s perfect.
Or so we thought. Really, we should have known better, because Rotterdam is never finished. So, the municipality will soon send out a tender for the construction of a new tower at Delftseplein. A tower with room for homes, offices and bars and restaurants.
“A tender is actually nothing more than a competition. You ask everyone who might be interested to submit their plan for the project. The proposal with a combination of the best plan for the best price wins the prize. In this case, the tender. The prize is that you are selected to deliver that particular building.”
“The initiative for this tender comes directly from the municipality, since we own the property. Nearly a decade after the start of the project Rotterdam Central District (RCD), we took another look at the vision for the area. The result of this was Rotterdam Central District - Next Step. Personally, I’ve been involved for a year and a half and I’m delighted to have seen all of the changes taking place,” tells Kees van Oorschot, process manager for RCD at the Rotterdam Municipality.
“Before the tender kicks off, the market is first consulted to explore the possibilities and impossibilities of the location. We are currently in this so-called consultation phase in which we conduct many interviews and make plans, such as with the NS and Prorail regarding the connection to the station, and platform 1, from which the Eurostar departs. Which, by the way, turns out to be more complicated than expected, not only from a technical perspective, but also in terms of legal agreements. So, we will attempt to begin with the tender after the summer. However we can’t make any promises.”
Last year, during the Provada, the Rotterdam Municipality announced their ambitions for the tender for the construction of the new tower. The tower is to be built on the eastern development area adjacent to Delftseplein, the main walking route past the Central Post building towards the Schiekade block. Although the primary focus of the tender is the realisation of the tower at Delftseplein, the Conradstraat, Weenapoint and the Schieblock are also on the list.
“Project developer Maarsen Groep is the owner of the Weenapoint and will at some point start building there. There are still plenty of preparations to be done, because the grey building at the Kruisplein must first be torn down. Planning the demolition is a task for the project developer. Of course, as the municipality, we are involved in this process and we also need to make the necessary preparations.
The city council has not yet made a decision concerning the plans for construction or reconstruction of the Schieblock. Further discussion will not be held until the new council has been installed. The same also applies to the western development area on Conradstraat: it is a development location.”
“The response to the tender is generally positive. Everyone is very curious to find out how it will turn out. After years of neglect, people are pleased to see something happening. The area had been in the news a lot in recent years concerning the many vacant offices. This is still a problem today, but much less so. What people really appreciate, as a direct result of the vacant offices, is that the emphasis has now shifted to adding more homes. Rotterdam has danced in the spotlight; its image has changed. Many parties are eager to get to work in this area. Alderman Simons proclaimed to the city council: “You shouldn’t see it as an office building with a few homes, but as a residential building with a few offices.”
“And that’s the way it is.” •