In 1923, Van Nelle’s progressive managing director Kees van der Leeuw commissioned the construction of an ingenious, cutting-edge factory complex that would incorporate a comprehensive range of employee facilities. The factory not only included showers, it also had to be built entirely above ground to let in light and air and create space.
Destined for demolition
The Van Nelle Factory produced tobacco products well into the 1990s. The building was added to the register of historic buildings in 1986, but was irrevocably destined for demolition if no solid buyer was found. Sara Lee/DE only wanted to sell the property to a buyer who would respect and maintain its original values.
Sara Lee/DE consent
The moment came in 1998: Sara Lee/DE endorsed the ambitious renovation plans of an enthusiastic group of developers.