Achieving the impossible!

may 20, 2019

Achieving the impossible
Blog by Hans Gaalman, Real Estate Director Brightlands Chemelot Campus

Back then, you needed an extra sweater in the winter and it was too hot for shorts in the summer. Around 20 years ago, I worked at locations here where the work environment often left something to be desired, to put it mildly. The professors who were also responsible for the buildings clearly had different top priorities than providing accommodations for their employees. This was strange; after all, a comfortable building really does contribute to job satisfaction, the quality of the work and the output of research and development.

At Brightlands Chemelot Campus, we believe that a good workplace that suits the work being done is very important. If I allow myself some time to walk around the campus, I can see how much we have achieved here in barely seven years. Take the new Center Court building for example, and the large DSM building, Arlanxeo, Sabic, the renovated buildings 1 and 4, Pilots West, Ioniqa and of course the two Brighthouses that will officially open on May 24. We have already reached the number of knowledge workers and students at the campus that we had hoped to achieve by 2022.

Space to grow
We give our campus residents the space they need to grow, literally and figuratively, and this means taking a good look at what they need. Since Center Court focuses on central campus activities, it always has to be buzzing and attract people. This has to be a building with a “face”. The idea behind the Brighthouses is to be able to provide the right accommodations for start-ups, scale-ups, students and SMEs. This means affordable and flexible shell buildings that the tenants can furnish as labs or offices based on their needs. The Zuyd University of Applied Sciences student lab, Chill Labs, Brightlands Materials Center, Yparex, Huygen Installatie Adviseurs, Kembit and Isobionics are there now, but large parties such as Sitech Services, Lonza Netherlands, Sekisui S-LEC, OCI Nitrogin and Mitsui Chemicals have also found a home there.

Proud to be part of the campus
The Brighthouses were built in less than 52 weeks, a seemingly impossible task, but we pulled it off. These are the challenges in my work that I love; achieving the impossible! I really enjoy working here with my team of in-house and external professionals. It takes guts to do this, and the same goes for the contractors who weren’t afraid to submit bids for our tender in spite of the high demand in the market. In many cases, they even prepared part of the engineering work at their own risk, even though they hadn’t won the tender yet. This shows me that they really want to be our partners, and that like us, they also believe in the Brightlands Chemelot Campus and are proud to be a part of it. We are a strict but fair client, and our partners know what they can expect from us. The fact that a contractor is willing to reserve machines and people for driving piles into the ground under the Brighthouses six months in advance and at its own risk really says something.

This location used to be full of anonymous buildings and now we have a proud campus with charisma. It is an inviting location that has a strong power of attraction; it is literally a worldly place where people representing more than 20 nationalities study, work and conduct research. This is where you want to be. This is where you have the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research, and come to work with a spring in your step. And as far as that extra sweater or those shorts go? You really don't need them here!

Hans Gaalman is the Real Estate Director at Brightlands Chemelot Campus.

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