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Council buys Suiker Unie site

30 September 2009
Groningen municipal council has bought the Suiker Unie site in the city of Groningen for € 35.2 million. The purchase comprises the factory site, the soil cleaning fields between Hoendiep and the Groningen - Leeuwarden railway line and the soil storage field south of the railway line, with a total area of 124 hectares. The municipal council voted in favour of buying the land at a meeting on 30 September. The transaction is now definite. 
The municipality and Suiker Unie signed a letter of intent in June this year. Soil conditions throughout the entire site have been investigated in recent months. It has been found that most of the location is environmentally suitable for housing. The investigation also found that there was no serious pollution. This was to be expected in view of the clean nature of sugar production.
The site will be transferred in the second half of 2010. Groningen municipality intends to redevelop it in the longer term, in about 15 years. A temporary use will be sought for the site in the meantime. Several ideas have already been put forward, such as a location for large-scale events, workplaces or storage for the construction of the regional light rail link and southern ring road. Other ideas include (urban) agriculture, soil and sludge storage, temporary housing for students and a site for houseboats. The municipal executive is studying the options and will present its proposals for temporary use in due course.
The factory buildings are currently being demolished in accordance with European regulations. The municipal executive is trying to persuade the ministry of agriculture and policymakers in Brussels that certain parts of the factory should be preserved in view of their cultural and historical value.