Welcome to Shopping Center Overvecht

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The large and sprawling shopping mall in Overvecht forms the nucleus of the neighborhood, for it ever attracts people of all walks of life. If one strolls across the streets surrounding the mall, the clumsiness around it is immediately evident. The public space there is apparently neglected by the local municipality, as a grand plan for renovation of the shopping mall was on the cards by a consortium – municipality of Utrecht, Synchroon, and Amvest. The advent of the economic crises and its adverse impact on real estate and retail industries, unfortunately, rendered the plan fall apart. Nevertheless, a new plan to renovate the mall in incremental doses is being drawn.

Municipality of Utrecht had organized a meeting between retailers, owners, and residents on 22nd May this year to agree upon the incremental renovation plan. The overall renovation is organized in three themes: 1) Renovation of the mall; 2) Renovation of the public spaces surrounding the mall, including parking lots and traffic management around the shopping center; and 3) Redevelopment of NPD (Nederlands Pakket Dienst, or The Netherlands Parcel Service in English) garages. As per the agreed terms, retailers and shop owners of the shopping center have to contribute to renovate and expand the shopping center, while the municipality will help renovating and maintaining the public space surrounding the mall.

Redevelopment of NPD garages is a relatively complex. These garages are owned and managed by Utrechtse Vastgoed Organisatie (UVO) (which in English means Utrecht’s Property Organization). UVO has temporarily rented them to a foundation called Stichting Sophie (Sophie Foundation in English), which in turn rents them to artists and creative businesses. Following the break up of the consortium (municipality of Utrecht, Synchroon, and Amvest), the municipality has purchased these garages. Several ideas were suggested and discussed to renovate these garages in the meeting held on 22nd May. The municipality will invite bids or public tender for redevelopment of this piece of property. More details on this shall be available after the summer break.

Meanwhile, the municipality has already commenced its work with the result that roads surrounding the shopping center was renovated, parking spaces in front and rear of the mall is enlarged, and the public space is now managed better than before for example, regular maintenance of trees/plants surrounding the shopping center, new, larger, and cleaner garbage bins, etc.

The new ambience will usher in renewed experience for everyone alike. Shoppers, retailers, shop owners, and residents of Overvecht shopping center can soon expect a pleasant shopping or living experience. So, Welcome to Shopping Center Overvecht!!

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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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