There is likely to be a near-doubling of vacant shops in the city
Groningen’s city centre is well-known for its variety of small, independent, and varied shops; however following the Coronavirus pandemic, the retail vacancy rate in the City is expected to rise by about ninety percent in the coming years, reports the GIC.
The figures have come from a report published by the Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL), which researches the livability and development of places in the Netherlands. On October 1, about 11.9 percent of the retail properties were vacant in Groningen, and the PBL expects that this will rise to 22.4 percent in 2022. Almost a quarter of the stores will be vacant at that point.
Vacancy levels are also rising in the rest of the Netherlands, with the PBL expecting an average increase of about 40 percent. This is likely to be concentrated in inner-city districts.
In Amsterdam, an increase in the vacancy rate of 152.3 percent is expected in the coming years, but then the vacancy rate will still only sit at 14.6 percent. After Amsterdam, Groningen follows in the national list with an increase of 88.2 percent.
The PBL suggests that jumping to re-design inner cities in light of the figures may be premature: in the past, vacant retail properties were often converted into homes or hospitality outlets. Some streets are more suitable for this than others, and the Coronavirus pandemic has hit the hospitality sector hard, so the PBL suggests that cities map out several possible regeneration plans for their localities.