New building in Merwe4Haven for long-term rental

The Rotterdam LabHotel opened a second location in the former Unilever building in Vlaardingen on 1 May. Expansion will also follow in the Rotterdam Science Tower. Corona crisis? That could be a great opportunity for the provider of temporary lab space.

When Unilever left Vlaardingen at the end of last year, nine floors of 1,600 m² of laboratory space each became available in one fell swoop. Empty space would be a shame, so the new owner rang the bell at Marc Schellekens, of the Rotterdam LabHotel. ‘I didn’t know what I saw,’ he says. ‘What a space. And everything was still there – a complete lab interior. Safe and clean. All we had to do was put a ‘LabHotel’ sign on the facade. Top facilities, with the metro only fifteen minutes from Rotterdam-Centre’.

Community building

The LabHotel rents out turn-key laboratory facilities, equipped with all the necessary permits. ‘For a day, a week, a month, a year – just what a researcher or company needs,’ says Schellekens. The Rotterdam Science Tower has been packed for some time now. It’s a pity to have to sell no, especially if this means that foreign companies are unable to establish themselves in Rotterdam. Fortunately, this problem is a thing of the past with the location in Vlaardingen. We are starting on one floor and want to build a community just as we did in the Science Tower. Cooperation is good for businesses. You can’t do anything on your own.

Opportunities during the corona pandemic

Where in Vlaardingen the doors are already open, there also seems to be expansion in the Rotterdam Science Tower. Several floors are nominated to become part of LabHotel. ‘Corona crisis’ says Schellekens. ‘It’s not yet clear what this will mean worldwide. But pharma is a bizarrely large market. There will certainly be new entrants who want to try something. In that case, temporarily hiring a lab to test something is much more financially manageable than having to move into a building immediately’.

Continuing to grow in new buildings

In addition to the short-term rental via LabHotel, Schellekens is working with Ruud van Spronsen on Beagle Park Marconi, a new building in Merwe4Haven. In two phases, 24,000 m² of ‘lab office space’ is to be realized, the first part as early as 2021. ‘This will enable us to focus on the somewhat larger companies,’ he says. ‘And on successful companies that want to grow from the LabHotel. Which can go fast. Let me give you one example. A Swedish company is now renting 50 m² from us and wants to move on to a laboratory of 2,000 m². At the moment, that space is not available in Rotterdam. Soon it will be, and then also at two metro stops of the Erasmus Medical Centre’.

False modesty thrown down

Schellekens wants to use the new lab office to contribute to the good business climate in Rotterdam. ‘This is a very interesting city for life sciences & health companies,’ he says. ‘With Erasmus MC and Delft University of Technology, the standard here is extremely high. I am very pleased that the false modesty about this seems to be cast aside. And that the forthcoming smart health tech campus will be continued on it. Life Sciences & Health 010 is a strong community from which you as a company can certainly reap the benefits. The team behind it also proactively links parties, just like Rotterdam Partners and Innovation Quarter. We experience how valuable this is with the LabHotel. The first leads have already arrived for our location in Vlaardingen’.

LabHotel enables researchers and companies to make use of laboratory facilities. These turn-key laboratories in the Rotterdam Science Tower and Vlaardingen are available flexibly for short and longer periods of time. The labs are Microbiological Laboratory Class II (ML2) prepared and provided with all necessary permits. Would you like to know more, get to know each other or work together? Take a look at LabHotel.nl.