“The vacancy was and remains high on our priority list,” says Jacques van Lichot, director of the center at Os. In the city of Brabant, a new purpose was found last year for about thirty retail properties. “Vacancy is not good for a city. It gives an unattractive and chaotic image, especially if the buildings are very large, like the previous V&D building.”
In the “flexible structure” around the core, it is easy to convert Oss municipality from retail property to home. Where do you live in the center above Shops are encouraged, and the municipality allows people to live in a flexible structure in a stores. “In fact, we have a backing scheme for that, to push investors in that direction a little bit,” says Alderman for Living Joop van Orsouw.
If retail properties have been vacant for three years in the flexible structure, the retail permit will expire. The councilman notes that more and more investors are seeing the point in choosing homes.
The city has long suffered from high vacancy rates, says Van Ursoo: “This is why we drew up a business plan five years ago. Thus, in the flexible structure it is allowed to change jobs, but in the middle, it is not. Those buildings must have a public function.” Like a store, restaurant or library. The center should remain a place where people can meet.”
Five years ago, about 65 percent of real estate was owned by local investors and 35 percent by institutional investors, says center director Van Lichot. “Now 95 percent are local investors. We’ve done our best to attract them and you can see the result right away. They are more involved in the city.”
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