Leidsche Rijn – The New Face of Utrecht

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Among all the neighborhoods in Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn is perhaps the most happening place for now.

New residential buildings, commercial complexes, and office spaces are fast emerging in this once secluded place. Utrecht municipality is investing to develop connectivity and other public infrastructure to support this growth. For instance, a new railway station in Leidsche Rijn started operating more than a year ago. The latest buzz is about a new and large multi-facility center being built in the center of Leidsche Rijn.

In June this year, following several rounds of discussions between the municipality and the property developer A. S. R. Vastgoed, both the parties inaugurated the construction of the center. The municipality seems to be on a overdrive about the infrastructure development in the city, while the real estate developer remains cautious. Although the economy seems to be bouncing back, its not yet fully recovered.

The advent of e-commerce has pushed consumers to shop online not only for ease and convenience of shopping but also for competitive prices offered online, thus reducing the number of foot-falls in the shopping centers.

As businesses are investing in and promoting online shopping, A. S. R. Vastgoed is naturally cautious about the investments in developing yet another shopping mall in Leidsche Rijn when one already exists in the neighborhood – The Wall. The company is, thus, vouching to reduce the amount of retail space to be leased out, while the municipality is not keen about it.

In the midst of this debate, the construction has already commenced. As per the existing plan, the new multi-facility center will house 130 retail units for restaurants and commercial services, 11000 square-meters of office space, 734 apartments. The center will also host recreational facilities such as cinemas, cultural halls, and a library.

The full-fledged urban center is expected to be completed by end of 2017, by when Leidsche Rijn is expected to be home to nearly 100000 residents, an increase of nearly 50% from the present 70000 residents. Clearly, this new center, when completed, will provide a new urban look to Utrecht contrasting the city’s present “medieval city” perceptions.

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Veera Raghavan

I'm manager of India relations for a business university in the Netherlands and living in Utrecht for about 5 years now. I'm also doing PhD (Authentic Leadership) in addition to working.

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