KoKo finds new accommodation, at a stone’s throw from present location

Chairwoman Valérie Cramer and board member Robin Nijsten in front the shack that will become KoKo's new clubhouse

KoKo finds new accommodation, at a stone’s throw from present location

The student association will most likely move at the end of 2025

14-05-2024 · News

MAASTRICHT. After a search that lasted years, student association KoKo has found new accommodation. The association is expected to move at the end of 2025 to a former shack on the Botermijn, no more than a hundred metres from its current clubhouse. In the meantime, the new building will be radically renovated.

The association, with about five hundred members, has been looking for a new building since the end of 2021, after it became clear that their current tenancy lease was coming to an end. In the plans for the redevelopment of the Botermijn, the area close to the station where Koko has been housed in a former office building since 2000, there was no longer space for the students at their present location. A business consortium – MOOI ontwikkelt, Maes Vastgoed and Monitor Capital Investments – want to build about 240 student and starter homes, with catering and work spaces on the premises.

Finding a new building proved to be quite difficult. Two locations offered by the owner – including the former customs office on the Botermijn – the association found to be unsuitable, while their own search across the city, together with the university and the city authorities, remained unsuccessful. On 1 November 2022, the date upon which KoKo was to leave the present building, there was still no solution. After consultation with the owner, the association was allowed to stay longer, temporarily, while talks were ongoing about an alternative location on the Botermijn: to the rear of the former goods shack.

This idea was well-liked. “We are not taking a step back: with regard to surface area, it is comparable and we are still in the same place in town, so members don’t need to cycle home over a dark, unsafe road in the evening,” says chairwoman Valérie Cramer. The new rental agreement was signed last month, after one-and-a-half years of negotiations. “Plenty of champagne was had in celebration, because it is a tremendous relief. It was a very long and tedious process, which kept several boards – with good supervision from UM – very busy.”

A lot of money

Now the focus is on the renovations, says Robin Nijsten, housing officer for the association. In the current shack, there will have to be a pub and a hall for parties, as well as rooms for the board and other meetings. “It is mainly the first part that is expensive. The pub and party hall will have sound-proofed floors, ceilings and walls, using a so-called box-in-box construction. Should everything go our way with regard to applications for permits, the renovations can hopefully start after this summer.” After completion, which is expected to be end 2025, the association will be given another two to three months to move in.

The cost is to a large extent for KoKo; the owner is only responsible for the outside of the building. Chairwoman Cramer would “prefer not” to give an exact amount, but it is “a lot” of money. How will the association come up with this? “Beer brewer Bavaria, who has been our supplier since this year, will pay some of it. We also want to organise a benefit event at the end of this year, in which we will focus on former and present members as well as on others. In addition, we will receive a loan from UM, which we will obviously have to pay back in instalments.” Moreover, the association has saved money over the past few years. “Amongst others by not investing in the current building, because we knew we would have to leave anyway.”

The current building of KoKo on the Botermijn, where it has been housed for over twenty years. Photo: Loraine Bodewes

 

Photo: Joey Roberts

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: koko,student association,building,botermijn,clubhouse,students

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