Smaller in design with fewer shops and more homes. And, an action plan to attract young people. That is what should be done with the WoensXL shopping center, says Fontys Hogescholen in a recommendation.
Students of Fontys conducted research into Eindhoven’s second shopping center, commissioned by the municipality. WoensXL has been struggling for years with vacancy and declining visitor numbers. The city council also believes that something must be done to give the shopping center a future again.
According to the students, WoensXL should therefore be more compact, with more greenery. This means that part of the range of shops should close and make way for housing. A different interpretation of the area is needed. “Visitors are critical about paid parking and the atmosphere in the center. What is striking is the poor score of visitors who come for the daily groceries and the catering industry,” says Fontys teacher Peter Ter Hark, supervisor of the students. “In order to become future-proof, WoensXL will therefore have to receive less, but better, offering, with catering and events.”
Attracting young people
Young people must also find WoensXL better. Ter Hark: “If you want to retain visitor numbers for the future, you will soon come up with an action plan to attract the younger generations to WoensXL, without rejecting the older generations. This can be done, for example, by strengthening points that make the place attractive. Reaching young people is essential for the future plan, otherwise the shopping center can never become future-proof.”
The situation for WoensXL is not unique. Other shopping centers are also struggling with vacancy and fewer visitors. More and more people are also buying their groceries online. The municipality is now working on a development vision for WoensXL. The recommendations from the study are included.