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Zijdebalen currently stands alone in terms of space, location and reputation

Zijdebalen, Utrecht

Hurks disciplines involved:
real-estate development
building

After so many words, Utrecht has finally seen some action

Zijdebalen in Utrecht is literally and figuratively drenched in history. This colourful history dates back to the Middle Ages when the location was part of the Bemuurde Weerd. It later housed a silk factory and the majestic residence of the owner, although its story also has a more recent chapter. “Project Zijdebalen was already in the pipeline when Hurks & Van Wijnen purchased the site after protracted negotiations. But only the contours of the site have remained intact because we decided to start from scratch.”

Attractive residential area

According to development manager Rogier Middelburg, who has been involved in this inner-urban redevelopment project from the very beginning, Zijdebalen has undergone almost complete redevelopment. This has resulted in an attractive new residential area which will border the north-west area of the inner city. Eventually, approximately 500 homes will be realised within four urban tower blocks. As part of the first phase – which features the first two tower blocks, 12 luxury town houses, 46 owner-occupied apartments and 177 apartments for the open rental sector (which have been acquired by investor Bouwinvest) are being realised.

 

Lego

In the meantime, Zijdebalen has become synonymous with different homes with a wide range of façades. “In the interest of efficiency, we decided to develop so-called ‘building blocks’, which are functional blocks with at least two façades. They have been designed so fewer porch openings and elevation points were needed, without compromising the high quality character of the plan. Zijdebalen is thus aimed at an equally varied target group. There was great interest when the homes went on sale. Because, besides the location and character of Zijdebalen, the wide choice offered by the project is very appealing. The co-makers process offered for town houses allows buyers to personally design large parts of their own homes. Prices for these layout changes and extensions were immediately available, so buyers knew what they were getting themselves into. It was a bit like playing with Lego. And you can do a great deal with building blocks”, states Rogier Middelburg. 

4.5 hectares in the heart of Utrecht

Reputation

Developments appear to have played a meaningful role in the rise, fall and resurrection of Zijdebalen; sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. This includes ramparts and canals, the end of various artisanal and industrial eras, and the disappearance of green features that were once found there. For the previous developer, VOF Madevin Zijdebalen and Propertize (SNS REAAL), these developments came in the housing market. “The existing - partly developed - plans no longer catered for the market and had come to a standstill. And this did no favours to the reputation of Zijdebalen in Utrecht. So a partner was needed, who was prepared to acquire the location, with all its benefits and all its risks. After long and intensive negotiations, we purchased this 4.5-hectare site in the heart of Utrecht and faced the challenging task of developing an attractive and accessible plan for it. A project which appealed to first-time buyers and people higher up the property ladder, and which was in line with the historical character of inner city Utrecht. It appears we have been fairly successful in our objective because the people of Utrecht have faith in Zijdebalen once again.”

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The rise, fall and resurrection of Zijdebalen