Following the strong transformation of the portfolio, the focus has increasingly shifted from asset rotation to strengthening the existing portfolio by increasing its quality. This is being achieved by becoming more sustainable and adding services to the future workplaces. “Development provides excellent opportunities for this”, says Sten Karelse, Head of Development at NSI. The portfolio has a lot of potential to add value by renovating, making more efficient use of available space or building new properties.
“By being able to convert what the market needs into reality, there is always a market for the right product.”, according to Sten Karelse. This is how NSI views its development activities. This applies more than ever this year, a year in which the office market appears to be having to reinvent itself. Development projects provide the best opportunity to respond and anticipate to trends in the market, and in doing so create the desired offices of the future.
NSI’s vision on development includes a view on demographics and in the way people work, shop and live. And it is a response to the increasing importance of sustainability to guarantee a future-proof building. The services on offer and application of technological possibilities are incorporated in the plans and design from the start. “Based on research and the many conversations we have with the users of our spaces, we create a vision of how people want to work in the future and the demands this places on an office building.”, says Sten Karelse.
NSI has been focusing on the underlying trends, of which a number have been accelerated due to Covid-19. “A growing number of companies are starting to see that working from home is an option.”, Sten Karelse explains. At the same time it has become clear that offices cater for a need that is more than just the need for work space. “Employees really miss the office. They miss a place where they can meet colleagues, to learn from each other, to work together and be inspired to come up with creative ideas, a place with a productive atmosphere. Employers are increasingly trying to provide an office that offers all.”, Sten Karelse continues.
“The new reality is becoming one in which we do not go to the office all the time, but in which hybrid forms are created that enable us to work both from home and at the office.”, says Sten Karelse.Flexibility is becoming the standard. Not only in terms of square meters but particularly in the way the space is used. “We are seeing that users are increasingly thinking in terms of the jobs that need to be done and that office space with the right facilities and services has to slot into this seamlessly. An office will consist of different types of spaces, such as a quiet zone for focused individual work, a zone for collaboration and spaces for social interaction.”, Sten Karelse adds. More than ever NSI is sees that the inviting, physical environment is playing a key role as a place to meet up and in enabling the office to be a representation of company culture. “The look & feel has to contribute to the creation and representation of the corporate identity.”
The focus on health, well-being and sustainability has always been a key aspect of NSI‘s program of requirements but was given an extra boost due to Covid-19. “We use the highest attainable sustainability certificate (BREEAM-NL Outstanding) as the starting point for all our development projects.”, says Sten Karelse. Not only does this mean that we use sustainable materials and state-of-the-art climate control systems, but it also places conditions on the architecture. The building has to promote the health and well-being of its users, for example by encouraging exercise and making the best possible use of natural light. Sten Karelse: “In most of the existing offices stairwells are hidden away in dark hallways for use in emergency situations. We are placing the stairs in open and light central locations to make them more attractive to use.”
As a property owner, NSI is able to make development decisions that require additional near-term investment which contribute to the quality and sustainability when operating the property.
As it stands NSI has built up a substantial and high-quality development pipeline. “We identify development opportunities by looking at the possibilities of large-scale renovation, the optimization of our land by adding new offices or demolish outdated buildings to construct new sustainable and future-proof offices. These three options are represented in the projects we are currently developing.”, Sten Karelse explains. The development of Vivaldi III enables NSI to add office space in the attractive Zuidas business district of Amsterdam, close to the Vivaldi I and Vivaldi II office buildings that are already owned by NSI. This enables NSI to make the best possible use of the limited space available in the Zuidas district. The development of Laanderpoort in Amsterdam Southeast involves the replacement of an old inefficient building with a healthy and sustainable future-proof office building. When considering the renovation of an existing building or the construction of a new office, the chance to create a building that will be sustainable for many years to come is the deciding factor. As regards Vitrum, located on the edge of the Zuidas, the existing building is being thoroughly modernised and adapted to the needs and wishes of future users.
A new 86-metre high wooden office tower is being constructed next to the Vivaldi I and II office buildings already owned by NSI. Designed by Dam & Partners Architecten, the building with its gross floor area of appr. 22,000 sqm is being designed as a multi-tenant office. The lower floors will feature public facilities, food and beverage and flexible working spaces. The design of the public spaces outside and inside flow into one another.
As with all development projects, NSI aims for the building to achieve a BREEAM-NL Outstanding certificate. The use of wood also provides sustainability benefits. “Wood is an exceptionally sustainable building material. and contributes to a much lower CO2 footprint compared to using the traditional office building made from concrete and steel.
“The use of wood will also see to it that the building is a real eyecatcher on the Zuidas, with a clearly distinctive look,” says Sten Karelse.
Construction is expected to commence in the first half of 2022 and will take around two years to complete. The investment is estimated at €90 to €110 million euro (excluding ground lease fees).
The preliminary design phase for this 11,600 sqm asset, adjacent to the Amsterdam South-Axis, has started in Q2 2020 and the design team has been contracted. NSI is currently in negotiations with the municipality of Amsterdam regarding the program and conditions for the renovation, including the potential extension. The current tenant is set to vacate this building on 1 July 2021 at the latest. The total capex to be invested is circa €35 to €40 million. Construction is expected to start in Q1 2022 and will take approximately 18 to 24 months. Thismajor renovation will result in an improved sustainability profile. The more inviting office environment, providing a lot of day-light, will support the well-being of its new tenants. The asset is an iconic bridge building, a 5 minutes walk from the Amsterdam Zuid train station which connects the City Centre with Amsterdam Zuidas. The new building will have a total surface of approximately 13,400 LFA sqm.
End of 2019 NSI signed a cooperation agreement with ING Real Estate for the redevelopment of Laanderpoort in Amsterdam Southeast, adjacent to ING’s new headquarters and strategically located close to the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena train station. Laanderpoort is part of the Cumulus Park business district, a new collaborative innovation district full of ambition that is expected to grow in the coming years. This appr. 39.000 sqm (LFA) building is designed as a ‘district connector’ with a transparent all-sided plinth with inviting entrances anda strong link between the outside landscape and the inside of the building. “By breaking down traditional barriers between organisations and visitors, we feel we can stimulate collaboration,” Sten Karelse added.
Paul de Ruiter Architects has been selected as the architect for the project and the start of the construction is expected in the third quarter of 2022. Delivery is projected in the fourth quarter of 2024.
ING will lease around 31,500 sqm (LFA) for a period of 15 years and NSI intends to open a new location of its HNK flexible office concept of appr. 6,000 sqm (LFA) . The remaining space on the ground floor and the lower levels will consist of high-quality additional amenities and services. Capex for the project is estimated at between €120 and €140 million, making it NSI’s largest asset upon completion.