WTC Rotterdam is steadily nearing completion of its comprehensive masterplan to supply tenants and visitors with even more high-end amenities – including an urban hotel, a brasserie, employee restaurant and city gym. While work continues at full steam to round off the finishing touches in the months ahead, Brasserie Jules and Vondelgym are already opening their doors. We spoke with Eveline Steenbergen, WTC Rotterdam’s managing director, about these two brand-new arrivals.
You’re rolling out a massive revitalization plan. Brasserie Jules is open already and Vondelgym will have its grand opening shortly. How did these partnerships come about?
“That’s a nice story, actually. When drafting the masterplan to upgrade and revitalization the whole in- & exterior, we decided it needed new places to eat, too. It started with De Koffiesalon opening in the Main Hall, but we wanted to have a spot for people to enjoy good food and drinks and a sit-down bar. Then one balmy summer evening two years ago at Brasserie Pierre in Pannenkoekstraat, I was with Jan-Willem Kos, my business partner at Bouwinvest, who own the building, going through all the plans for WTC Rotterdam. When they arrived with our order, we both looked at each other and realized Brasserie Pierre was exactly the concept we wanted for WTC. Two weeks after that, Brasserie Pierre co-owner and entrepreneur Leon Kleinekoort came around, and now we just opened Pierre’s little brother, Jules.”
Vondelgym is also opening soon. How did they find WTC Rotterdam?
“Through one of our property agents, who helped us look carefully at what sort of concept would be right for us. This branch is in the historic section of WTC Rotterdam and has its own entrance from the well-known street Meent. It’s rough and rugged and Vondelgym fits well with that. We hit it off straight away, and Vondelgym liked the idea of opening a location in Rotterdam. Winston Bergwijn is the owner of this location and wants to bring together a really diverse community here, so it will be a very inclusive space for everyone to work out, from WTC tenants to hotel guests to locals who want to become gym members.”
Vondelgym and Jules are two pretty up to date places. Where you specifically out to give WTC Rotterdam a trendier image?
“Absolutely! Now that the building is being so beautifully revitalized, and with the historic part of it being a bit edgy and hip and offbeat, we were seeking something very specific. The location demands it, even. Meent is very up-and-coming and a real hotspot. Everything we’re doing is targeted to the location and the aura of this building.”
The menu at Brasserie Jules features French classics alongside new additions like pasta vongole. Think steak tartare, croque monsieur or madame and salade niçoise, but with a twist. Currently the restaurant seats 95 inside, and it will have another 75 tables outside on the raised terrace in front of WTC Rotterdam.
Rotterdam native rapper Winston Bergwijn, aka Winne, will be calling the shots in WTC’s Vondelgym, the chain launched by Dutch TV personality Arie Boomsma. The gym is expected to open its doors on Meent in September. There will be hot yoga in the basement. The upper level will feature a boxing ring and all the standard fitness equipment, plus registration for a range of classes.