The VDMA premises is ready to be used. After the recent renovation, the buildings are now windproof and watertight, and meet all safety requirements. The council will soon send in a field manager who “will bring the building to life”. The idea is to experiment with complete openness: “We’re not ruling out anything in advance and we’re laying down as few constraints as possible,” says Councillor Yasin Torunoglu, who is responsible for the project. “As long as it complies with the usual rules, anything is possible.”
Along with the temporary solutions, such as events, workshops and festivals lasting one or several days, the council is looking for a definitive occupier. With two hectares of flats, halls, offices and parking spaces, it’s a large premises with several potential uses. It will be taken into consideration that a combination of uses and, indeed users, are expected.
The council hopes that the VDMA will contribute to the economic development of the city. “A development that encourages the ambitions for Start-up City Eindhoven and also attracts and retains talent. As an innovative city, Eindhoven is becoming more visible and tangible to its residents.”
In order to give that definitive occupier the best chance, the council will have an “open call for partnership” before the year end. The idea is to talk to as many potential users as possible about their options there. The council shouldn’t have any problem finding interested parties either. There’s a file of around 300 stakeholders, including everyone who has participated in the preparatory workshops over the last years, and 100 people interested, as well as a dozen parties who have come forward with a concrete plan.
Torunoglu emphasises that the council itself is still on the lookout. “What we’d like is to end up with is a place where our DNA is showcased. That means we’d like to give technology, design and knowledge within a setting of start-ups and living labs a place in the city centre. But whether that will happen all depends on the offer. We’re hoping to be happily surprised.”
Parts of the premises are classed as ‘characteristic buildings’, which will have to be taken into account by future users. But the council will not impose additional requirements to maintain the industrial look of the halls and the garages, for example. “Ultimately, there can be a combination of styles – why not?”
According to the councillor, it’s not yet determined whether the council will end up as the owner of the premises, which has a current book value of around 10 million Euros. “That may well happen, but it depends on the outcome of the talks we will be having with the market participants.”
The name of the complex has still not been decided. It will probably be different for the different parts of the premises. For now, the planners are sticking with logical names like ‘the garage’, which, as an added bonus, can be easily translated into English. This is essential because the Vestdijk could become the international boulevard – and not without reason. There’s already a collection of amenities, such as a short-stay housing agency, a large hotel, an international bank and, right next door to the VDMA, the Expat Center and the Hub.
(Main photo: Councillor Yasin Torunoglu in the large hall of the VDMA complex)
All other photos (c) Ralph Roelse