More than a year ago, the city nursery on top of the building De Schilde in The Hague went bankrupt. Since the bankruptcy of the nursery Urban Farmers in July 2018, the greenhouse has been empty. “It turned out that (vertical) city farming does not have a future in the building on Televisiestraat 2”, is the conclusion of the Municipal Executive of The Hague. A replacement of the alderman should speed up the sale. “A substantive transfer of Sustainability to Economy is desired for the process of selling the building De Schilde.”
The largest commercial city facility for food production in Europe. In this way, the rooftop greenhouse on De Schilde was announced in 2015. 2.7 million euro was invested in the 1,200 m2 facility. That should have resulted in a production of 45 tons of vegetables and 19 tons of tilapia per year, coming from the 6th floor of the former Philips building in The Hague.
This was not a success. In 2018, Urban Farmers was declared bankrupt. “The activities of the company have been losing revenue since the beginning. The costs were high and the turnover lagged. The stakeholders subsequently could not agree about the course and strategy to follow”, the curator wrote in the bankruptcy report. After the bankruptcy of the mother company in Switzerland and the departure of various involved persons, bankruptcy was requested by the Fonds Ruimte en Economie in The Hague.
The Fonds Ruimte en Economie Den Haag is an initiative of the municipality The Hague and provides loans for investment in company spaces. European funds were used for this. With such a loan, the rooftop greenhouse was ultimately realized. This gives the Fund the first right of lien to the facilities. The building is owned by Starterspanden Den Haag CV/BV. This company was founded to offer accommodation for starting entrepreneurs. Stakeholders in the company are the municipality The Hague and the Fonds Ruimte en Economie Den Haag. Both have a say of 49%, and 2% for the company itself.
The intended purpose of the building on the Televisiestraat was a multi-tenant building for city farming, sustainability and innovation. This has been set up under the title The New Farm, but it turned out to be difficult – and has become even more difficult when Urban Farmers went bankrupt. “After the reconstruction of the building in 2016 and 2017, the occupancy rate was low and dropped even lower when Urban Farmers went bankrupt in 2018”, the municipality The Hague wrote last month. “It turned out that (vertical) city farming does not have a future in the building on the Televisiestraat 2. The concept did not prove to be a success here. The advice is to let go of the concept.”
Within the municipality, the building is now transferred from the alderman for Sustainability and Energy Transition to the alderman for Economy, Sport, and Outdoor.
“The current rental income is insufficient to meet the fixed costs of managing the building. The economic new start/reorientation is becoming increasingly urgent. Selling/renting out of the building could partially compensate the investments/loans of the stakeholders FRED and the municipality. A substantive transfer of Sustainability to Economy is desired for the sale of the building De Schilde.”
Publication date: 8/21/2019