[Seriously?] Vacant premises on Plaza under threat

Kooky news.
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It’s a familiar sight at Campus Plaza, and has been for a few years. The premises have been vacant ever since the previous tenant (student café MLGB, My Life’s Getting Better) went under due to Covid. Not intentionally, of course, but we have got used to the sight. The empty space is like some kind of monument to the dark days of Covid-19.

But maybe not for much longer, now that a group of students has demanded that Idealis buys up the premises and creates student accommodation there.

Big Capital is pitting us against each other

The location is very popular, says student Kees (full name known to the editors). ‘Close to lecture rooms, the Bongerd and Het Ambacht snack bar. What more could you want? It’s a crying shame that this space is going unused.’

To lend weight to their demands, the students intend to dust down a tried and trusted weapon: squatting. ‘I had never heard of it myself,’ Kees admits. ‘My dad suggested it. At first, I thought he was talking about his fitness routine. But in his day, it was quite normal to take over someone else’s property without permission, says my dad. The end justifies the means.’

The owner of the property, Skymark Property Management, is not best pleased at the prospect of squatters. In fact, the company is considering getting students in as property guardians – anti-squatters in Dutch. ‘That’s mean,’ says Kees. ‘That’s Big Capital pitting us against each other. Of course we can send in anti-anti-squatters, but that would really escalate things.’

Kees would prefer to see Idealis take action. Not least so that there’ll be good Wi-Fi in the building. ‘Squatting is all very well of course, but you must have good Wi-Fi. Four hours a day on social media paid out of my own subscription? Duh! Dad says you could just meet at the pub instead. But do you know what that costs? He had a generous student grant in his day, but it doesn’t work that way anymore.’

Idealis director Bert van Os says he understands the students’ demands. ‘That empty premises is like a rotten tooth on the square. But you can’t just convert it into rooms because it’s currently designated for use as a catering outlet.’ When asked if a pub for the nearby flats would be an idea, he slams the phone down. Beep beep beep…

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