Following a complex permitting process, a joint venture of Belgian contractor Besix and Italy’s Rizzani de Eccher will this summer start building the 155m-high Post Rotterdam, a residential and hotel tower connected to the city’s historic post office, the Postkantoor, which will also be redeveloped after being vacant for 10 years.
Originally built in 1916, the Postkantoor on the Coolsingel in central Rotterdam is one of the few buildings in the city to have survived the 1940 Rotterdam Blitz.
Designs for the scheme were first unveiled by New York-based architect ODA, together with Dutch companies Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau and West 8, in 2019.Â
Last month, the project received an "irrevocable permit" when the Netherlands’ Council of State left the original building permit intact.
"A lot of research and solid arguments"
Project manager Drees & Sommer Netherlands led the permitting drive. "A permit process requires a lot of work, involving a procedure that goes all the way up to the Council of State. Such a process cannot succeed without good collaboration, a lot of research and solid arguments," said the company’s senior project manager Rutger Laurs. "In the end, we succeeded in meeting all the conditions for implementing the plan."Â
The building’s great hall will be renovated to accommodate retail, galleries, restaurants and cafes
Besix said the construction challenges would be "particularly daunting", with the need to avoid disruption in one of the city’s busiest districts, adding that Post Rotterdam will "provide a striking example of the mix of between modern architecture and the rehabilitation of historical buildings".
Construction starts this summer 2021 and, by the second quarter of 2023, the tower’s rise would be visible.
Omnam Group is the developer behind the scheme. It anticipates success amid Rotterdam’s booming property market.
Of the tower’s 305 apartments, 203 have already been purchased by residential investment manager Amvest.
The tower’s grid will mimic the 5m-long spacing between the Postkantoor’s columns
"The most remarkable and unique developments in the world aren’t the obvious ones, but those that require a vision, drive, and a solution-oriented mind-set," said David Zisser, Omnam Group’s founder and chief executive.
City of Rotterdam alderman for construction and housing, Bas Kurvers, said: "This ambitious plan is going to become reality. I am delighted that the renovation and redevelopment of Post Rotterdam is about to start after more than ten years of vacancy. The beautiful monument in the heart of Rotterdam will blossom again with a hotel, catering establishments and 305 apartments. This will bring a lot of liveliness to the new Coolsingel, which is turning into a green city boulevard."
Images by Forbes Massie Studio, courtesy of ODA