TBI in the market
|Strong in housing, mixed functions and social property|
|Main activities||Market areas/clients||Market characteristics/ developments||Competences of TBI companies in the market|
Creative housing and neighbourhood concepts
Property developer Synchroon had another good year buoyed by a strong housing market. The company sold 784 housing units in 2017. The order book for the current year is also well filled. Competition on the property market increased further during the year. Synchroon stands out for its sharp focus on integrated area development and mixed function projects that combine housing, work and recreation. Synchroon operates mainly in complex urban areas, where it has a proven record in developing creative housing concepts and managing the associated complex processes and locations. The longer lead times in such complex areas, however, act as a restraint on growth.
Synchroon seeks solutions that contribute to sustainable and pleasant living environments, for example by building gas-free housing, but also by studying how to minimise traffic in city centres and residential areas. It is inspired by companies that devise innovative mobility concepts. Synchroon has a broad network representing a full range of skill sets. Its specialists make a particularly valuable contribution to new concepts.
Mixed functions at transport hubs
The market recovery has increased investors’ interest in different types of property. Demand for a mix of housing and commercial functions in city centres is seeing particularly strong growth, especially at transport hubs. Young professionals enjoy living and working in lively communities that are easy to reach by public transport. Municipalities are responding by redeveloping the areas around stations.
Synchroon is involved in the redevelopment of the areas around Leiden, The Hague, Arnhem and Breda stations. All these projects centre on the functions they must fulfil rather than the buildings. Next to Leiden Central station, for example, the company is developing two apartment blocks, a hotel, bars and restaurants, a car park and a bicycle park. Plans to redevelop the area around Arnhem station are also based on this concept of mixed functions.
In Breda, Synchroon is working with J.P. van Eesteren on 5Tracks, also a mixed project combining a variety of functions. Together with Amvest, Synchroon is building two towers that will change the appearance of The Hague Central station. The project consists of a congress centre, restaurants, shops and apartments. This project is innovative for its deliberate choice for zero car parking. Instead of an underground car park, the housing block will accommodate a large modern bicycle park for the exclusive use of the residents. Mobilis has also been commissioned by the municipality of The Hague to realise a large public bicycle park under the building and the square.
In Rotterdam, Synchroon has been working for some time on the development of the Wilhelmina Pier. On completion in 2017 of the Boston & Seattle residential towers, which both have a plinth of commercial units, the company began developing two new residential towers in collaboration with BPD: The Sax. The towers will be connected by a hotel at a height of 70 metres.
Redevelopment of industrial estates
Large cities are running out of land and space as demand for new urban housing increases. More municipalities are therefore studying whether former factory and industrial sites can be transformed into residential districts. Synchroon has built up the necessary expertise in this area, too. The company has been involved for some time in the Wisselspoor project in Utrecht. This project comprises the transformation of a former industrial site, owned by Dutch Rail, close to the city centre into an area of housing, creative businesses and bars and restaurants that retains the industrial heritage in the form of old factories, railway points and tracks. In July, Synchroon signed a contract to develop commercial hot spots and 1,000 housing units in sections 2, 3 and 4.
In the same city, Synchroon is working on the transformation of the Merwede Canal zone. This former industrial estate will be redeveloped into an urban residential district for people to live, work and relax. A special feature of this development is that cars will be removed from the streets and will be allowed to park only on the edge of the district or in garages.
North of Amsterdam Central station, in Buiksloterham on the opposite bank of the River IJ, Synchroon is realising a mixed function development where future residents will benefit from a range of services. The site had once housed the former NDSM shipyard, one of the most polluted industrial areas in Amsterdam. It will soon be a healthy and sustainable urban area for people to live and work. Together with ERA Contour, Synchroon is developing a contemporary and distinctive residential area on a disused industrial estate close to the centre of Breda. The Tuinen van Genta, as the development is known, will boast about 180 homes and attractive public spaces. Synchroon signed a cooperation agreement with Zuidplas municipality to redevelop the Zelling Onderneming industrial site in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel. The site will be transformed into a unique residential area with the first gas-free and energy neutral housing in Zuidplas municipality.
Building outside the city
Rising housing costs are forcing young families to move out of the cities, but they want to stay within hand’s reach. Synchroon is rising to the challenge by developing attractive and affordable homes outside the cities but close to railway stations. Its knowledge of area development can be decisive at such locations. In both Hazerswoude and Arkel, Synchroon is developing new, easily accessible residential areas with their own strong identities.
yoreM keeps on growing
YoreM, the e-marketing business, turned in an excellent performance again in 2017. The firm creates property development websites, wins clients, advertises online and performs data research to pinpoint consumer preferences. YoreM works for TBI companies but also has just as many external clients. Investors, housing associations and other property businesses make up more than half of its clientele.
Contributions to energy transition
Synchroon understands sustainability to be the responsible use of scarce raw materials, including the available space. A good example is De Deeltuin in Utrecht. Development of this new area was driven largely by the sharing economy. Residents will park their cars in an underground garage in order to create space for a communal garden. The aim is to have residents share more of what they have, including tools, bicycles and cars. The 51 sustainable homes will be energy neutral; rather than being connected to the district heating system, each home will have its own geothermal pump and solar panels.
Despite the difficulties in making detached houses energy neutral, Synchroon is installing geothermal pumps at a number of houses in the Noorderkroon project at Park 16Hoven in Rotterdam. The houses already satisfy the BENG requirements for all new buildings in the Netherlands to be nearly energy neutral as from 2020.
At Dorpshaven, a residential district in the Scandinavian style being built on the water’s edge in Aalsmeer, all dwellings will be fitted with solar panels to meet their own energy needs. The houses and apartments Synchroon is developing for Finest at Ockenburgh in The Hague are being built without gas connections. Instead they will use solar energy and atmospheric and geothermal heat exchangers. These homes, too, will satisfy the new BENG standards.
Real estate consultancy and building management in education and care
HEVO, the property consultancy and management firm, performed well across the board in 2017. The number of requests for strategic advice and project management rose sharply. To make the most efficient and sustainable use of their property portfolios, more clients in both the education and care sectors and municipalities are engaging the firm to assess their portfolios as a whole instead of on a building by building basis.
HEVO has traditionally been prominent in the education market. Strategic consultancy and building management engagements in this market were added to the order book during the year. There was a particularly sharp increase in engagements for integrated building plans that give municipalities an insight into the structural and functional state of school buildings so that they can make reasoned decisions on their demolition, construction or renovation.
Owing to the growing demand for newbuilds, transformation and renovation, rising prices and the increase in contracting risks, demand for risk-bearing project management (RPM) is also on the rise. RPM is frequently requested for complex properties in the public, institutional and corporate sectors as it lets the client eliminate risk yet still exercise all its influence over the preparation and implementation process. HEVO is the contact point and bears final responsibility.
The rehousing of the Avicenna College in Rotterdam is an example of RPM. For this client, the firm undertook the largescale renovation and enlargement of an outdated, disused school building. In Beesel municipality (Limburg), HEVO is carrying out an RPM engagement to repurpose a former stoneware factory as a vocational college, BC Broekhin. The college will also house other functions, including a social restaurant with day care facilities.
For the construction of the new IJburg College 2 in Amsterdam, the client used RPM to transfer the risks to HEVO. Thanks to RPM, the college was built on budget and on schedule and satisfies the government’s BENG standards for new buildings.
Together with Ahrend, HEVO has concluded an attainment contract to adapt and maintain all buildings of Kadaster, the national land registry, for the next three years. Ahrend will make the buildings suitable for modern working practices; HEVO will implement a new working concept, assist the building users, measure staff satisfaction and make any necessary improvements. The contract covers a total floor area of 50,000 m2.
The number of strategic consultancy engagements in the care sector, too, was higher. Care organisations are again healthy enough to make investments and are aware that they have to change if they are to continue meeting client demand in the future. Care is often combined with housing and the providers must tailor their care and wellbeing services to their clients’ requirements in a competitive market. This calls for new property concepts. HEVO carries out market scans and advises its clients on how best to organise their property portfolios. HEVO carried out such engagements for ZorgSaam Zeeland, the Warrande Group, the Accolade Group and other clients in 2017.