Plaza Hotel development plans further elaborated

WILLEMSTAD - Last week, the General Pension Fund Curaçao (APC) and Heritage Plaza Consortium (HPC) organized several sessions in Theater Luna Blou to discuss the development of the Plaza area with various stakeholders, APC reports.

The goal of this week was to gather as much relevant input as possible from experts in various sectors in Curaçao and create support for the project. The program is a continuation of the visit in November 2020, which the late Hans de Boer was also part of.

Since then, the parties have been working hard to elaborate the development plans. The HPC team has been reinforced with Jan de Jong (heritage expert), Peter Zwart (advisor social and cultural functions) and Bart Akkerhuis (advisor urban development vision) in order to further sharpen the vision of the plan.

"The Plaza area must contribute to the quality of life in Punda with an attractive multifunctional program in which housing, catering, culture, education, incubators and recreation are given a place," according to APC.

As part of the initiative phase in which APC and HPC are currently in, it was decided not to present a ready-made plan to the stakeholders last week, but to first listen and gather insights before the plans are further developed. This approach was positively received by the stakeholders.

According to APC, it was important for the feasibility study to test the programmatic interpretation, to discuss the spatial opportunities and challenges and to see how the Plaza project can also give a socio-economic boost to the rest of Willemstad.

The week started with a walking tour of Punda that focused on the connections between the Plaza area and the rest of the city center, the UNESCO World Heritage status and the bustling Punda of the past. Monday evening, the parties paid a visit to the Representation of the Netherlands.

Tuesday was all about culture. Various institutions and entrepreneurs active in the cultural sector were present to discuss local and international opportunities. Wednesday started with an introduction to the future government and was followed by a session in which the developments of a start-up community in Curaçao were discussed.

The day ended with a workshop session focused on spatial vision and cultural heritage. Groups consisting of architects, heritage experts, monument parties and other interest groups have set to work to develop a spatial vision for the Plaza area.

The program on Thursday started with a session with the University of Curaçao in which opportunities for an educational function were discussed. In the afternoon, the theme "liveability in Punda" was central and various parties active in the hospitality and recreation sectors were invited.

The program ended with a visit to the governor. "We look back on a successful week in which participants actively participated and provided valuable input for the further development of the Plaza area. From beautiful anecdotes about times in Cave the Neptune, the opportunities of music and dance as an interpretation for the cultural program, the importance of housing for the quality of life, to concerns about the parking problem in the city center and the current state of the Plaza," declares APC.

Both APC and HPC have become even more enthusiastic after this week to work out the plans together. In the coming period, this week's input will be processed to arrive at a plan proposal.

APC: "The ambitions are high and there are many challenges regarding the redevelopment of the Plaza area, but this project also offers great opportunities. The development of Plaza is much more than just a real estate project, it is a catalyst for Punda and Curaçao."

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