Smaller, more compact, more cozier and more lively. That’s the answer from the two advisory agencies who are analysing how the new WoensXL shopping centre should be.
One of those advisors is Peter ter Hark from Fontys. He has brought out a long list improvement areas in his analysis ‘WoensXL Futureproof’. A lack of atmosphere, greenery, cosy seating areas, high rents, fragmented property, dark corridors and a poor connection between supermarkets and the other stores- these are a few to name.
The corona crisis- for which the WoensXL cannot be blamed- is also responsible for its woes severely. The retail sector is badly affected. There’s a competition from online sales. The crisis has also brought an economic crisis along. City Councillor Yasin Torunoglu is aware of what’s ailing the WoensXL. “This centre, made in the ’70’s was for families with children. But now, on average, only two people live here. So it’s not surprising that the public also declined. The support base has declined.”
A cozier shopping place
The Fontys report contains many suggestions for improvement. It proposes it to be: more varied, more compact and livelier. Ter Hark: “This center needs more stores focused on daily needs. In the food category, for example. They’re less bothered by online than all the clothing stores you have so much here. It could also be a lot more compact here. Moreover, it can be a lot more cozier. You could do that with more events, terraces and greenery”. City councillor Torunoglu adds another element: “Make sure there’re more homes around. Not only will you solve the housing shortage, but you’ll also increase the number of users and buyers for this center”.
Getting the owners in one line
Several owners own these retail properties. each have their own interests. According to Peter her Hark, getting all of them in one line will take both time and energy. Not many owners would be ready to lower the rent. Councillor Torunoglu believes that there’s a common interest though. “It’s also in the interests of the owners that they’ve tenants who like to be here. It’s complicated; there’re no easy solutions, but I’m optimistic about a happy ending”. The councillor wishes to have all involved parties at the table soon to make a plan of action together.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.