May 2015 will see the official opening of the new shopping centre Parkweide in Ede. The original plan, drawn up some ten years ago, was for a major complex spanning the N224 provincial road, with shops, a neighbourhood centre, medical centre, childcare facilities, apartments and a sports centre. The financial crisis threw a major spanner in the works and the project came to a complete standstill. However, Ede city council, Bouwinvest and Dura Vermeer teamed up to breathe new life into a more modest version of the original idea. Construction restarted in early July 2014.
The three divided up the existing plan into its various components and allocated their respective tasks. The result was a toned-down plan with two supermarkets and a number of shops for daily necessities. “The city council and Bouwinvest worked together to complete the plan and inform everyone involved of the proposed changes. It was very nice change for us to work with an investor who was also willing to talk to people in the outside world,” says Alderman Marije Eleveld. “We also worked together to develop a new physical connection between neighbourhoods, once it was clear the complex across the road would not be built,” says Spatial Planning Project Manager Sjoukje Biesta of Ede city council.
Biesta was closely involved in drawing up the new contracts. “That was a period in which we had very intensive contacts with Bouwinvest. In addition to the contracts, we had to deal with so many other aspect of the project simultaneously that we had to come up with practical solutions quickly and pragmatically. We always took the common interest as our guiding principle, which meant we had to work together to figure out how to find a solution that balanced the interests of investors, the city council and the contractors.”
Eleveld adds: “Of course there will always be friction when it comes to dividing risks and costs. In the end, everybody had to compromise financially to make the execution of the plan feasible.”
Looking back, Biesta says: “You have to keep the common interest in mind and be aware of your common objectives. It really helps if you can raise issues openly and prevent things from escalating, if you can keep talking to each other are if you’re open to each other’s interests. You have to be willing to compromise and acknowledge that sometimes things are not the way you thought they were.”
Sjoukje Biesta, Christian Schouten and Marije Eleveld
Shopping centre Parkweide, Ede, the Netherlands