Organisation - January 26, 2012

Is Idealis going to build on campus?

Idealis is going to build on our campus? Oh no, it isn't. That's the first we've heard of it. Ouch, painful. The building of 250 student rooms on campus, announced by Idealis, has been roundly rejected by the Wageningen UR.

There it is in black and white in the Idealis business plan 2012-2015: the provider of student housing is willing to take it upon itself to build 250 housing units on the university campus. The rooms would replace temporary housing containers located on Haarweg.
Simon Vink, spokesperson for Wageningen UR, responds with amazement. 'Idealis was our first choice, but discussions were halted at the end of 2011. Building student homes on the campus was at the bottom of the Idealis list of priorities, while the university and the municipality of Wageningen were in a hurry to get started. What's more, among the housing units we are keen to have small retail outlets, such as a 'to-go-' shop or a cycle repair shop. Idealis couldn't agree to that.' The university is currently in discussion with several parties about its student accommodation.
Hans van Medenbach, director of Idealis, acknowledges that consultations with the university about building on the campus have broken down. 'We had the firm intention to build on the campus, but at the last minute the university started laying down all sorts of conditions that we did not want to meet, such as the possibility of commercial activity. As a social accommodation provider, for us that was a deal-breaker.' The provider of student housing still plans to realize the 250 housing units, 'but you need to read that as "possibly on the campus". It may be anywhere.'
In recent years Wageningen UR and Idealis have failed to see eye to eye on several occasions. But there's no question of discord now, says Van Medenbach. 'We parted as good friends. And, who knows, perhaps the university may still come back to us, if they don't reach agreement with these other parties.' 'This project is earning a great deal of attention,' says Vink, 'but Idealis is still at liberty to participate in the consultations.'
During the presentation of its business plan, Idealis announced that in the coming years it is keen to realize more than 1000 new units, of which Nieuw Kortenoord and Rijnveste will be the first to be delivered. To increase the choices open to students, the provider of student housing is switching gradually to a new model. Under the new system, the choice of accommodation will be unrestricted, regardless of the applicant's course of study or nationality. This is new; it used to be that international students could not register with Idealis.