The Office Fund has a clear focus on the four largest cities in the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague (G4). At least 80% of the Fund’s NAV will be invested in these defined core regions. All investments in the current portfolio have been made in the G4.
The Fund's core regions closely correlate with the urbanisation trend in the Netherlands and the ongoing shift towards a knowledge-based economy. For that reason, the Fund added Eindhoven as a potential target for acquisitions in non-core regions, which can account for a maximum of 20% of the Fund’s total portfolio. Due in part to its ‘brainport’ status, Eindhoven, the fifth largest city in the Netherlands, is attracting a growing number of innovative high-tech start-ups and other companies. This in turn has led to a strong influx of young, highly qualified Dutch and international workers looking to work in the industries of the future. All of this is fuelling demand for smart, state-of-the-art office space. At the same time, a high proportion of Eindhoven’s office stock is largely obsolete, and some development and redevelopment projects will match the Fund’s other investment criteria, such as the risk/return profile, location, type of buildings, sustainability score and multi-tenant character.
To identify the most attractive municipalities for investments in office real estate, the Fund takes various indicators into account. Characteristics of the exact location (such as proximity to public transport, accessibility by car, visibility and overall attractiveness) and the asset (such as multi-tenant, large and flexible floors, sustainability and inviting entrance area) are part of the model the Fund uses to determine the risk/return profile at asset level.
The Fund has a strong preference for urban locations, as these are likely to be more resilient in the face of any economic downturn. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on real estate markets, the urbanisation trend will continue to increase demand for high-grade office space in such urban locations, which tend to be more easily accessible and offer a wider range of other amenities and facilities than more peripheral locations.
Good retail, residential and leisure facilities play an important role in the appeal of (business) meeting places. Locations where a widely diverse group of people come together form a good basis for an inspiring working environment. The blending of leisure, culture, education, sport and work makes a positive contribution to the attractiveness of a location.
Portfolio composition by core region based on book value
Investments and divestments
The Fund has a moderate growth target which has been increased by the obtained new commitment of € 183 million from 1 July 2022. However, purchasing processes have been significantly disrupted by strongly changing market conditions from the second half of the year. Valuations then came under severe pressure, mainly due to the rise in interest rates. This has led to renegotiations and sometimes to the termination of the process.
The plan for investments in 2022 was € 67 million. The purchase of De Zeven Provinciën was one of the highlights of 2022. The existing building of approximately 5,232 m2 and 23 parking spaces at Lange Voorhout 3 in The Hague was delivered to the Fund on 23 December. The total investment includes € 59 million.
De Zeven Provincien is a good fit with the Fund's strategy of investing in the G4 cities and in flexible, distinctive buildings in easily accessible and attractive multifunctional locations. The building already has an A+ Energy Label, is gas-free and it is realistic to make the building Paris Proof.
Other investments relate to Central Park (Utrecht), where additions to the initial purchase price have been made on the basis of newly realised rental transactions by the seller. In addition, the Fund invested in building improvements at WTC Rotterdam and WTC The Hague. As always, further sustainability improvements played a major role in these investments.
The Fund's divestmernt activities were also affected by strongly changed market conditions, as a result of which it was not possible to realise the Fund's planned sales in 2022.