Multi unveils new FORUM Rotterdam plan and agrees contract with Primark for flagship store

Multi unveils new FORUM Rotterdam plan and agrees contract with Primark for flagship store

Amsterdam, 25 November 2015

Multi unveils new FORUM Rotterdam plan and agrees contract with Primark for flagship store

Multi has presented its modified plan for FORUM Rotterdam, located between Coolsingel, Lijnbaan and the ‘Koopgoot’ shopping streets, and has signed up Primark for a flagship store. Multi also recently announced that it had agreed a contract with Rotterdam-based book store Donner for the listed bank building Coolsingel, also part of FORUM. Multi plans to restore this listed building to its former glory, while repurposing the building to meet modern demands. In the modified plan, the existing office tower will be transformed into a residential tower. The stores on the Lijnbaan side will also be included in FORUM. Construction is expected to start in 2016.

‘Cube’ concept abandoned
Multi has now abandoned the ‘cube’ concept and made major modifications to its plans, partly in order to accommodate the Primark store. The plan now consists of several components, each with their own individual architecture and lay-out. As part of the new plan, the 1970s office tower will be transformed into residential accommodation and will feature completely new and distinctive architecture. Primark’s flagship store will be at the heart of the project. The listed bank building will remain the face of Coolsingel, but will be completely renovated. Stores on the Lijnbaanside of the block, at the busiest spot of the Lijnbaan, will be updated and substantially enlarged. The changes to the plans have also made it possible to revise the programme and bring it more into line with market conditions.

Enhancing the area
Although the plan is no longer based on a multifunctional cube concept, the basic principle has remained the same: to bring new life to this hidden and neglected area in the heart of the city centre for a wider public. To achieve this, Multi plans to refurbish virtually the entire block. The new plan also means that the refurbished block will be outward looking and will now point completely in the direction of the adjacent shopping streets. Unused façade walls will be given a public function. The new block is set to intensify footfall throughout the city centre, providing a boost for retailers in the area. It will also serve to intensify the city lounge concept envisaged by the City of Rotterdam and corresponds with the goals of the ‘Lijnbaan-agreement’.

All plan sections sold
All of the sections of the FORUM project have now been sold and most have already been leased. Primark will come with a store covering around 12,000 m2. The stores on Lijnbaan now involved in the plan are owned by Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance (on behalf of three funds) and ASR Property Fund N.V. After redevelopment, these parties will own the new retail space covering almost 6,000 m2. On behalf of one of her customers Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance bought the residential tower with 103 apartments. The listed bank building will remain in Multi’s ownership and has now been leased almost in its entirety to the Donner book store (3,900 m2) and ABN AMRO bank (900 m2) bank-office and around 4,700 m2 office-space. The total plan has almost 60,000 m2 with a total investment volume of around EUR 175 million.

Quality ambitions maintained
Rotterdam-based OMA and Wessel de Jonge Architecten have been involved in the planning process from the outset and also designed the new plan. As a result, the basic principles, values and Multi’s quality ambitions for the plan have been preserved.

On 24 November, Rotterdam’s City Executives decided to submit the project’s zoning plan for inspection and make it public. For FORUM, this marks the start of the final public decision-making phase, expected to result in approval by the City Council in the spring of 2016. Construction is expected to start in 2016 and the project will be completed in phases in 2017 and 2018.