The Port Authority has redeveloped the former cold storage warehouse for storage and transhipment of fruit into a multi-tenant building for the new generation of manufacturing companies in line with the Municipality of Rotterdam and Port Authority ambition to transform the Merwe-Vierhavens area into an innovative district full of opportunities for living, working, learning, places to eat and drink, and culture.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority purchased the former fruit warehouse from Total Produce in 2017, which used to use this former cold storage warehouse to store and distribute fruit. Increasing containerisation has resulted in most fruit companies relocating to the south side of the river. The Port Authority has redeveloped this warehouse into ‘De Werkplaats’ (The Workplace), a building with 11,000 m2 of compartmentalised areas, including offices, for medium-sized enterprises in the innovative manufacturing industry.
Ronald Paul, Director of Infrastructure & Maritime Affairs (COO) at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, handed the De Werkplaats key to the multi-tenant building’s first three tenants.
CDS Electronics is hiring 3,300 m2 and specialises in the serial production of electronics. The company uses state-of-the-art production robotics for this, so-called pick-and-place machines. Royal Roos specialises in maritime and offshore engineering, consultancy, and supervision and preparation of maintenance and retrofitting projects in the maritime offshore and dredging world. The company is hiring 1,100 m2. De Werkplaats is ideal for Royal Roos because of its quay space and accessibility by water. Value Maritime is also hiring almost 1,000 m2. They produce ‘scrubbers’, or gas cleaning systems, that filter particulates from vessel exhaust gases.
De Werkplaats isthe place for the new generation of manufacturing companies. These companies work here for the new economy, using technologies including robotisation, 3D printing and the reuse of materials. The new multi-tenant building is in line with the development of M4H as innovative living and working environment. New manufacturing industry contributes to the expansion and sustainability of both the city and the port. It provides a boost to the region’s capacity for innovation and creates new employment. This innovative manufacturing industry flourishes in a vibrant urban environment full of places to eat and drink, educational institutions, homes and a rich culture.
The Merwe-Vierhaven area (M4H) is a (former) port site and industrial area of approximately 130 hectares to the north of the Maas. It was once one of the largest fruit ports in the world, where storage and handling of various types of fruit and other breakbulk took place daily. The industry and several fruit companies have now left. The municipality and the Port Authority together aim to develop M4H into a future-proof area that works towards a new economy. RDM Rotterdam, where companies, educational and research institutions collaborate on maritime and other innovations, and M4H together form the Rotterdam Makers District.
The Spatial Framework was developed for M4H last year, contracted by the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The framework determines how the area, which is the same size as Rotterdam city centre, will look in the future. It includes details about new connections, attractive outside spaces and urban greening, and where functions such as living, working, services and culture should be located. The development of M4H is important for the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the major landowner in the area, as it offers space for small to medium-sized manufacturing enterprises and contributes to the attractiveness of the city, enabling the port to compete even better against other metropolises.
De Werkplaats is located on Merwehaven with views across the Merwepieren, where (mainly) homes will be realised in the coming years. The Port Authority is redeveloping the adjacent warehouse into a catering establishment, De Bierfabriek, which will contribute to the vibrancy of M4H.
Following the official opening of Lee Towers on Marconiplein in November 2019, where offices have been transformed into homes, and the sale of the Keilepand to former tenants, the municipality and Port Authority are now cooperating on other projects, including the redevelopment of the area and improvements to public spaces. The first project in 2020 will be the redevelopment of Keileweg. The refurbishment of the HAKA building will also start next year and the draft M4H Zoning plan will be published.