The municipal council in Groningen has narrowed its search for a new location for the cultural venue, De Oosterpoort, to two spots: the Ebbingekwartier and the area behind Groningen’s central train station.
The main issues with the current location are that there is no more room to grow and rising expenses. A letter from the municipality about the location search states that a new building is necessary because “maintenance costs continue to rise and the building is not big enough to take advantage of the [music venue] market”. Last summer, a representative from De Oosterpoort stated that the venue needs to have at least one hall with room for 3,000 people in order to compete with other cultural facilities.
Ebbingekwartier and Groningen Central
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the two locations which are still in the running to become De Oosterpoort’s new home are in the Ebbingekwartier on the east side of the city and the area to the south of Groningen Centraal. Two other potential candidates – a spot north of the central station and the current location at the Trompsingel – have been ruled out.
Groningen Centraal is already in the midst of a major revamp in the years to come as part of the Groningen Spoorzone plans. If De Oosterpoort were to move to the Ebbingekwartier, a likely location would be the area currently occupied by DOT: the lease on the property is set to expire in six years.
“A complicated puzzle”
The new facility would be quite a bit larger than the current venue: in the future, the main performance hall will have twice as many seats. De Oosterpoort should have one hall for amplified music with room for up to 3,500 seats (as opposed to the current max capacity of up to 1,200), one with room for up to 1,000 seats (for acoustic or unamplified music) – an increase of nearly 600 seats – and a multifunctional performance hall with 600 seats.
Alderperson Paul de Rook told the GIC that finding a new spot is “a complicated puzzle”. RTV Noord points out that the looming budgetary shortfall for the municipality could present a problem, which De Rook acknowledges, but he went on to say, “we have to make sure that the city doesn’t stagnate, so we need to move forward with developing these plans.” The municipal council expects to have the results of an evaluation of the two remaining location candidates by 2020.
Since March, the theatre and concert organisation behind De Oosterpoort and the Stadschouwburg theatre has gone by a new name: SPOT. Other venues in the city that are part of SPOT are the Lutheran church, USVA, the horse racing track in the Stadspark, EM2 and the Martini Church.