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Rotterdam ‘goes American’ with new housing projects

Expansion at HAL departure site

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM - The area familiar to tens of thousands of post-war emigrants who left the Netherlands by ship, is slated to become home to five residential towers with a total of over 700 units. The site is located at the Wilhelmina Pier, where Holland Amerca Line (HAL) had its departure halls and head office. Since 1993, the former office has a new lease on life as Hotel New York.

The shortest new tower will measure a height of 70 metres, the tallest 150 metres. The project is being developed by three specialized firms. The project also calls for an addition to the Montevideo complex and the development of the artificial island into a self-sustained subdivision.

The two outside towers, to be named New Orleans and Havanna, each will have a height of 150 metres. Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz, who also was awarded the reconstruction project of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam designs Havanna. Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, who is the frontrunner to design the other three complexes, to be named San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia, has won the contract for New Orleans.

The first apartments could be available as soon as the beginning of 2009. Completion of the project is forecast for the middle of 2013. The four parties involved in the development have a budget of well over $300 million.

Plans for the new subdivision also call for the construction of shops, parking garages, restaurants and other entertainment venues, theatres and an exhibition hall. Residents of the towers, which offer a mix of rental units and self-owned apartments, will have access to a range of indoor amenities.

The Wilhelmina Pier is the economic centre of the ‘Kop van Zuid,’ the city’s former port facilities on the southern banks of the Nieuwe Maas. British architect Sir Norman Foster will draw up the project’s master plan. He also designed the world’s most advanced centre for maritime simulation training, which was opened at the Wilhelmina Pier in 1997. Adjoining is Foster’s World Post Centre. HAL’s restored arrival and departure terminal, was pressed back in service as a cruise terminal in 1997, now welcoming the world’s largest cruise ships.