After more than two months following the bankruptcy of The Hague’s urban greenhouse by Urban Farmers, it has become clear that a revival is not possible. In the past months, the bankruptcy trustee has investigated the possibilities for this. The investigation has also shown the greenhouse has never been profitable.
In Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf
the bankruptcy trustee, Mr. Martijn Vermeeren, of Buren Legal, says he did not find a new party. "We did our best but in the end no one was prepared to make a serious bid. There have been interested parties, but they deemed it impossible to make it profitable at that location."
In the coming months, the activities on the roof will be terminated by the Municipal Fund for Space and Economy The Hague (FRED), shareholder of a third of the shares of the building. The breeding of the fish will be concluded. The facilities on the roof of the urban greenhouse turned out to be of little value.
The rooftop farm was an expensive project: the greenhouse has been fully constructed with double glazing – and the inner layer is also layered glass. In order to withstand the wind, a profile was developed in which the glass is anchored with screws. Various glass pane sizes were used in order to distribute the pressure on the construction. The greenhouse itself is divided into two parts – one part for the visitors and a part for cultivation.
Altogether it turned out not to be a viable plan. "The costs remained too high and the turnover low. The stakeholders couldn't agree on the strategy. One of the directors left in February 2017 and the stakeholders disagreed on the new director to be appointed. Partly because of the bankruptcy of one of the shareholders (UrbanFarmers AG in Switzerland), and the departure of various stakeholders, further decision-making or restructuring is impossible. FRED has subsequently been forced to file for bankruptcy", can be read in the bankruptcy report.
Meanwhile Rob Baan, intrigued by the project, is working on a new plan for the urban greenhouse. He wants to turn it into a Health Center
to provide some of the poorest neighborhoods in the Netherlands with good nutrition and sufficient vegetables.
Not profitable in the current state
That the bankruptcy trustee after two months comes to the conclusion that a revival is not profitable, does not surprise him. "This should not come as a surprise. In fact everyone already knew that it was not a profitable project, which is also apparent from the bankruptcy report
, which states that loss was incurred from day one."
The bankruptcy was declared just before the summer. In order to make his plan feasible, Baan is now in discussion with various parties. "There are several players who have an interest in better health for the surrounding neighborhoods in The Hague. So we are talking to insurers, ministries and also to the municipality."
A stumbling block is the current price per square meter. "That price is high. Even the best tomato growers cannot cultivate profitably with such a rental price. Also the commercial urban greenhouse has stumbled over it. I am not keen on that at all. A health center is my dream, I would like to share my vision, but not at any price."