Once the ‘forbidden city’, now a breeding ground for creative entrepreneurs

September 21, 2023

Strijp-S Eindhoven

Strijp-S – the former Philips factory site – is a vibrant area that is home to residents, workers and culture. The unique mix of characterful old buildings and modern new construction attracts a variety of residents and entrepreneurs. This offers companies and investors a whole range of opportunities – which is exactly why we established our regional office there in November. But to what does this area owe its great success? Read on to find out!

Office and living room in one

On driving into Strijp-S, BOLD immediately catches your eye: a multi-tenant office building designed by Kraaijvanger Architects, based in Rotterdam. We have had our new regional office on the fifth floor of this building since November. It’s not only our workplace, however – we also use it as a living room and regularly receive customers, stakeholders and people who work at Strijp-S there. They drop by for a cup of coffee, or flip open their laptops in one of our flex spaces. This aligns perfectly with the nature of Strijp-S; a place where entrepreneurs seek each other out, collaborate where possible, and inspire each other.

Strijp-S neighbourhood in Strijp district in Eindhoven
Detailed view of a building in Strijp district
A former office building in Strijp-S Eindhoven
A steel frame standing between two former office buildings
Former industrial site Strijp-S in Eindhoven

Forbidden ground

Strijp-S is an interesting area, even if only for its history. It was, after all, home for years to the factories belonging to electronics concern Philips. In its heyday during the 1970s, up to 10,000 people worked there each day. Strijp-S was apparently always referred to as the ‘forbidden city’: it was completely surrounded by fences and barriers, and only the factory workers were allowed on site. But the fences were taken down in 2000, and redevelopment commenced. Now, 23 years later, around 3,000 people live at Strijp-S and it is home to hundreds of businesses.

Impressive example of ‘transformation’

The area perfectly illustrates what we in the property world refer to as ‘transformation’: the repurposing of real estate. At Strijp-S, new buildings alternate with classical ones; a number of the Philips factory buildings are still standing. The Ketelhuis is an example – this was previously used as a boiler room to heat the industrial site. Now it’s a place to eat and drink, it is home to a number of studios, and there is an exhibition space for local artists. Concerts and other events are also organised there on a regular basis.

Three-part collaboration

The success of Strijp-S can be partly attributed to public-private collaboration. The municipality of Eindhoven, developer SDK and housing corporation Trudo joined forces right from the start to create something beautiful in this area based on the municipality’s three guiding principles: technology, design and knowledge. By effectively balancing business and social interests, there are now a range of price levels in the area, encompassing both affordable and higher priced offices and homes. This ensures considerable diversity among entrepreneurs and residents.

One site, one community

The repurposing of this area has enabled the city – and Strijp-S too – to attract many creative brands and innovative companies. During the initial phase they moved into the Strijp-S factory buildings, which mainly contain small office spaces and studios. As more new buildings were added later, increasing numbers of larger companies and corporate organisations also established themselves at Strijp-S. This has resulted in a unique mixture of large and small businesses, with a great deal of ‘cross-pollination’ between them. The multi-tenant business buildings such as Microlab, Videolab and the Klokgebouw are home to hundreds of entrepreneurs together, forming a large community that collaborates intensively.

The social and commercial aspects are also reflected in the homes, with the old factory buildings accommodating social rental housing, and the new buildings intended for owner-occupied apartments in the higher priced segment.

Strijp-S is expanding

As the Advisory & Transaction Team lead, I talk on a daily basis with parties who want to establish themselves in Eindhoven. My role is to advise them and propose Strijp-S as a location option. We are in constant consultation with the developer about the possibilities. At present, there are a few office spaces available in different sizes. In 2024, the developer will also be starting on what’s known as ‘phase four’ of Strijp-S. This involves the addition of 1,480 homes, 3,500 sqm of public functions, space for 3,500 new recreational facilities, and 8,000 sqm extra office space. This offers opportunities for both end users and investors.

If you would like to know more about Strijp-S, or are interested in other real estate developments in the southern Netherlands, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at [email protected].

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