What about the plans for the redevelopment of the De Aarhof shopping center? It is clear that plans will change here and there. The renovation will not start before the fourth quarter of 2023.
SB Real Estate BV has owned De Aarhof since August 2019 and has the ambition to strongly modernize the complex, make it more sustainable, add homes and give the shopping area a new impulse. As a result, De Aarhof should regain a central position in the heart of Alphen aan den Rijn. The shopping center will be given a major facelift, with more emphasis on the supply of daily goods and services. For example, a second supermarket and a fresh garden will be added.
Changes to the plans
When the plans were announced, the ambition was to start the renovation of De Aarhof in the second quarter of 2022. That is delayed. In the past period, SB Real Estate has adapted plans based on the input from the participation with the environment and the purchase of the HEMA building and developed them into a preliminary design. This is apparent from a letter that the Municipal Executive sent to the Alphense municipal council.
One of the adjustments is the exchange of the two residential towers that will be added to the shopping center. In the sketch design, the north tower was the tallest. This tower would provide more shade in the public area on the Aarkade in the period October-March. This effect disappears by swapping the towers. The maximum shadow will then not extend beyond the shadow of the current buildings on the Aarkade. The exchange of the towers therefore appears to have a positive effect on the environment.
The architect has further elaborated the facades in the preliminary design. Some facades in the sketch design were larger/wider than suited the environment. Attention was drawn to this in the participation. In the preliminary design, the facades have now been adjusted in such a way that it appears that the center consists of individual buildings. As a result, the plan is more in line with the environment.
Participants also indicated that they would like to see the layout of the shopping center in line with the architecture on the outside. Another point of attention is that the interior must radiate sufficient tranquility, something that is currently lacking. The design includes a central square inside De Aarhof. All passages and the entrances to the parking spaces lead to that square. Shops will have high fronts and the passages will have a wooden ceiling with light coming in from the sides. This gives the passages a contemporary look.
Integration of Hema building
The HEMA building in De Aarhof is now owned by SB Real Estate. With the purchase of the HEMA, the way is clear to draw up a final design. The previous design was still developed around this building. This does require adjustments to the preliminary design. A better connection is now possible between the homes and the shopping centre. The floor of the HEMA building will have a comfortable connection from Van Boetzelaerstraat, so that a large part of the residents can park their bicycles there.
It was already known that the plan would include about 300 homes. A specific number is mentioned in the preliminary design: 303 homes. As agreed with the municipal council, at least 45% of these affordable homes will be realized. For owner-occupied homes, this is up to the limit for a National Mortgage Guarantee (NHG). For rental properties, this is a maximum of € 1,000. The provisional design more than complies with that agreement, the council reports.
The architect is now working out the preliminary design for De Aarhof into a final design and an application for an environmental permit. The city council decided in January that a coordinated procedure should be used. This means that the environmental permit is made available for inspection at the same time as the zoning plan. According to the current planning, it is planned to start the procedure at the end of 2022/beginning of 2023. The renovation of the shopping center can then start in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to schedule. The duration of construction is expected to be approximately 2.5 to 3 years.