The plans for a pop podium and a home for Unitas youth club in the former post office are too large-scale and financially risky. For these reasons, Unitas has decided against the idea, says Eugeia Fund chair Yvonne de Hilster.
© Roelof Kleis
The Eugeia Fund is an association of ex-members of Unitas, and is responsible for the club’s accommodation. Together with Wageningen Live, the fund was in at the start of the citizens’ initiative to repurpose the old post office opposite the Junushoff theatre as a pop temple and clubhouse for Unitas. A feasibility study was commissioned by the municipality, and three options were studied. Two of them are based on keeping the existing building, possibly with an extension. The third alternative is demolition and a new building, which would include some residential accommodation.
To finance the pop concert venue, all three options studied would require up to nearly 400,000 euros in subsidies for a period of at least 15 years, the feasibility study shows. The Eugeia Fund does not see that as a healthy starting point. ‘For the other participants in the plans, this poses too great a risk to the continuity. We don’t want to take that risk with our association’s capital,’ writes the foundation in a response to the municipality.
The three options would cost between five and nearly nine million euros, for renovation and a new building respectively. According to De Hilster, the plans have become over-ambitious. ‘The options that were studied don’t serve the objectives we started out with in 2016: to create a place for young people in the middle of Wageningen, with a role for Unitas.’ These plans grew to include a pop podium with rehearsal rooms, a musical café, a cinema, a clubhouse for Unitas, and residential accommodation. The Eugeia Fund only wants to stay involved if the plans are simplified to something that matches the original principles better. ‘If it has to be based on the three options described, we shall step aside.’ The Unitas board takes the same line, says De Hilster.
The youth club had to leave its clubhouse on the Generaal Foulkesweg and sell its furniture in 2009, due to financial problems. The association was temporarily housed on the Industrieweg, but could not host parties or concerts there, due to licensing problems. At the moment meetings are held in the former Unitas building up the hill, and parties at different venues around town, such as Luca café.