The station area in Utrecht was in desperate need of renovation at the turn of the century. Connected to the historic centre via a very inward-looking shopping centre, the ground level was unsafe and run-down. In addition, the station and its facilities were poorly maintained and, above all, too small for the growing number of passengers and visitors. Since 2003 we have been hard at work to achieve the master plan for the station area, make the area safer and more welcoming, and create a better link to the historic city centre. The Utrecht city authorities are managing all public and private developments via the Station Area Project Organisation.
Since 2003 AT Osborne has been working on delivering all the targets with great enthusiasm and pride. In the first instance, it has done so by creating the land use and risk management plans, and defining and executing the contract strategy with the largest private parties in the region: Klépierre (formerly Corio) as the owner of the Hoog Catharijne complex, the national railways (NS) as the real estate developer, and the NV Jaarbeurs trade show centre.
The city authorities worked with AT Osborne to develop a vision for a public-public-partnership. To create the new public transport terminal, a combination of a train station, bus and tram station, bus lanes and cycle parking areas, an alliance of principals was created with ProRail, so that risks can be managed and opportunities exploited jointly in the public interest. This meant that it was not the ownership or interest of a single party that determined responsibility for implementation, but who could best handle each responsibility. Such a set-up requires ongoing monitoring and where necessary, adjustments to the implementation organisation.
During the implementation of the public transport terminal, the province of Utrecht and the local authority developed a plan to create a light rail connection from the Central Station to the De Uithof university campus: the Uithof line. To do this, various plans and projects already underway in the area around the station needed to be significantly amended. Here it was not just about strong negotiation, but above all collaboration, based on the public interest, with the Uithof line project organisation in order to integrate the Uithof line as efficiently as possible into the plans both physically and in terms of the scheduling and phasing. AT Osborne handled the contractual side of the partnership, but above all contributed to operations on both the implementation and supervision levels.