WTC ROTTERDAM: The city’s heart of international business

What began as a challenging project five years ago with BiermanHenket’s master plan to improve WTC Rotterdam into a future-proof, sustainable, modernized building with its historic architecture intact is finally nearing completion. “This detailed plan has resulted in a beautiful building beyond anything we ever imagined. It was fantastic to realize Bouwinvest’s long-term vision”, enthuses WTC Rotterdam Managing Director Eveline Steenbergen. She and Marketing Communication Manager Denise Nieuwdorp worked together closely from the project’s start to finish to spotlight not only the building’s revitalization but also its special stories. “It has been an amazing experience”, Denise proudly sums up. “And now, as we add the finishing touches, we are ready for the future.”

From outside, escalators flanked by monumental flights of stairs draw tenants and visitors up and through the revolving doors to marvel at the immense new central hall. The height and scale here are truly astounding. Among the newest additions are fabulous towering brass and copper doors that separate the lobby from the conference rooms. Besides the Cushman management team of around fifteen people, it took so many other invested parties like architects, contractors and numerous subcontractors to reinstate WTC Rotterdam building to its iconic glory. Eveline explains, “We wanted to merge a new culture of very high quality service and facilities in a revitalized building. Accessibility was one key criterion. We also wanted to attract more international tenants and a wider diversity of tenants – from corporates to mid-size and selfemployed professionals – to the World Trade Centre, and to add a new service level with a whole new hospitality team.” Eveline is proud to report that all but three floors have been fully leased to a diverse mix of businesses that will support each other as a close-knit community.

Both internal communication and strategic public relations were integral to the overall project strategy. Denise was tasked with communicating the plans to city inhabitants and surrounding neighbours while cultivating friendly ties and respect for the building’s listed status. Denise: “Everything we did here took shape before our very eyes, emerging out of nothing. It was brilliant to be a part of that process. Finding the nuance between communicating the building’s added value on the one hand and its historical significance and image on the other was fun and interesting to do. In addition to commercial publicity, we also worked hard to create a community platform to bring all the tenants together.” That paid off, says Eveline. “We have received wonderful feedback from board members, local residents and city businesses.” The two women express their gratitude to both the core team and the fantastic group of graphic designers, social media and PR specialists and videographers who worked in harmony to broadcast the message of the new WTC Rotterdam to the world.

Apart from a few small sub-projects, the revitalized WTC is ready to welcome tenants, visitors and all others and invites them to use its facilities. Eveline is excited to start carving out the WTC brand as Rotterdam’s global trade hub. “We are putting together an entrepreneur breakfast early next year where we want to add in the global aspect, because that’s what we set out to be: the beating heart of international business in Rotterdam.” The foundation has been mapped out and laid. Nevertheless, with all that’s entailed in running a building of this size, there will always be plenty to do. “The tremendous emphasis on and effort that has gone into implementing sustainable elements is extraordinary: from solar panels to green façades, every part of WTC has been designed with a view to how it can be made climate-proof. The metamorphosis is complete”, Denise concludes. “Now, we are ready for the future.”