On November 26th, the Municipal Executive of Geldermalsen unanimously approved the plans of project developer MAB for the NL.C (Nederlands Centrum = Dutch Centre), the biggest retail and leisure centre in the Netherlands. The plans for the NL.C will be incorporated in the regional structure plan (cornerstone of the regional development plan), while three independent firms will be commissioned to carry out additional surveys, thus bringing the realisation of NL.C another step closer.
The NL.C will be centrally located near the junction at Deil (A15/A2) and close to Geldermalsen station with direct connections to Utrecht, Den Bosch, Dordrecht and Arnhem. What makes the scale and design of the NL.C unique in the Netherlands is that all its functions focus on leisure, ranging from shopping, sports, travel, information, music and culture to entertainment.
The concept for the NL.C was initially presented by MAB and LIAG architects to the Province of Gelderland on 30 January 2003. Since then the plans have been further elaborated in collaboration with the municipality of Geldermalsen and are currently being processed at various administrative levels.
In the development and decision-making process, the municipality is working with the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and the Province of Gelderland as well as regional interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce, business organisations and the Regional Agricultural and Horticultural Organisation (Gewestelijke Land- en Tuinbouw Organisatie).
The NL.C is expected to generate 3,000 new jobs and provide a boost for a region which has been hit by job losses in the agricultural sector.
The response to this ambitious plan has largely been favourable.
There has also been an enthusiastic response to the concept from national and international retailers and the leisure industry, which MAB is involving in the elaboration of the plans. Declarations of intent are already being drawn up with some of those involved.
MAB is acting as the risk-bearing developer of NL.C and is currently in negotiation with retail investors.
Concept & programme:
The central theme of the NL.C is leisure shopping and other forms of recreation by providing large and small-scale shop formulas in a safe and comfortable environment. This concept provides great scope for innovation. The NL.C will be able to function independently and thus become an attractive destination for both the individual and the family, with the focus on the following elements in the programme: watching, comparing, try and buy; accommodation, enjoyment, relaxation & entertainment; events, sport & activities; individuality & authenticity; culture & nature; playing & learning.
The programme will include the following:
Shopping: around 50,000 mÃÂ² retail with specially developed concepts for the NL.C, adapted formulas, flagship stores and national and international pilots for the Dutch market.
Budget Resort around 20,000 mÃÂ² available for permanent and temporary leases, inspired by outlet centres and (seasonal) markets and events.
Mobility: around 15,000 mÃÂ² bicycle mega-store and car mall, offering unique opportunities for the try&buy principle, for example a mountain bike track over the green roof of the NL.C.
Home & Garden: around 12,000 mÃÂ² in the form of a garden centre, a home design centre and a special DIY formula.
Events: around 5,000 mÃÂ² to be used for national and regional events inspired by the rural surroundings and/or retail activities (e.g. new car launches).
Hobby & Leisure: around 15,000 mÃÂ² indoor and outdoor leisure, focused on information, culture, sports, health and electronics (e.g. covered pool for swimming, diving and surfing; circuit for 4-Wheel Drives from the car mall; driving range, etc.).
Bars & Restaurants: around 8,000 mÃÂ²
Hotel/Expo: around 5,000 mÃÂ² including space for education and business programme which responds to the trend to merge technology and science.
Parking: around 6,000 parking places.