APG back home in brand new office
March 14, 2023
APG recently moved back into EDGE Amsterdam West – the same building the pension administrator had previously occupied for years, but has now been completely redeveloped. The building is now best-in-class with respect to sustainability and well-being. Furthermore, EDGE West suits the pension administrator’s profile, being located ‘just’ in Sloterdijk rather than in the expensive Zuidas district. Nevertheless, it does have the allure, quality and accessibility that APG desires. As a long-standing partner, CBRE guided the process from start to finish.
When you first enter the atrium of EDGE Amsterdam West, you have to pause for a moment to take it all in. A vast space filled with trees and plants lies before you, beneath a huge glass dome. Beautiful sunlight shines down on the balconies of APG, which occupies two open floors surrounding the green courtyard. We sit down to coffee with Marga Petridean, APG’s accommodation portfolio manager. She explains how APG ended up here, and why it felt like a nice homecoming.
Finding the perfect office together
In 2017, APG’s Amsterdam lodgings were very different. The pension administrator occupied several offices, one of which was Symphony, a large office in the Zuidas district. It was beautiful, but also expensive. It also meant that the team was scattered across the different locations. APG therefore wanted to return to a single office in Amsterdam, as it had been in the past. CBRE received the task of guiding the search for appropriate premises. An important condition was that it had to be a high-quality and easily accessible location in a place with potential, but with an ‘ordinary’ appearance and feel. In short: it had to be an office to suit APG.
Two old acquaintances
APG and CBRE are well-acquainted with each other. It was Rietmeijer, which later became part of CBRE, that originally supervised the move to Symphony. So it made sense for APG to approach the real estate consultant once again, with a new question: where can we go? ‘The choice for Sloterdijk was quite a complex one,’ says Johan Bakker, Senior Director of Project Management at CBRE. ‘Because part of the team felt attached to the Zuidas location. Our consultant teams laid out all the pros and cons of the different options, and APG ultimately chose Sloterdijk.’
Strength in unity
In the process that followed, CBRE represented the interests of APG to the other parties involved. Matters such as the shell and the bid had to be settled with the developer, EDGE. CBRE’s experience and technical knowledge were helpful in this process. The same applied later, when CBRE provided support for the contact with the designers and builders. It could sometimes be a challenge, says Petridean. ‘A complex project like this one is also a big game of chess. Each party has their own desires and priorities, and in the meantime you have to keep the ball rolling.’
The fact that CBRE always brought the same team to the table was therefore valuable, continues Petridean. ‘You work better together when you know and trust each other. As partners, we managed to get the best out of this project.’ Johan Bakker can attest to that: ‘It wasn't always easy. For example, when the coronavirus outbreak intervened, and construction continued in the meantime. There’s a lot of work to do at a time like that, and you really do it together. That sense of trust is critical.’
Flexible group of experts
With a process spanning years and involving many parties, you know you’re going to be in for surprises. Flexibility was therefore essential. CBRE was always able to engage the specialists needed at particular moments. For example, when the coronavirus outbreak suddenly boosted the importance of hybrid working, or a sustainability expert was needed to prepare the building for certification. ‘We were able to respond to each issue, and this meant we complemented the APG facilities team effectively. While they were good at the operational aspect: the utilisation, our broad real estate expertise meant we could take care of a lot of things for them.’
Ultra-green and healthy
A major advantage of the renovated EDGE Amsterdam West is its BREEAM Outstanding certification. In fact, due to extensive technological interventions, the building is even energy-positive. The WELL Platinum certification means that the building is also healthy for its occupants. The design process took everything into account, from a healthy diet to lots of green space, and from air quality to natural light. The stairs are positioned invitingly so you’ll be more inclined to use them instead of the lift, which is rather less obvious.’What’s next? It goes without saying that the partnership has not come to an end now that EDGE Amsterdam West is up and running. The branch in Heerlen is now up for BREEAM certification, which means new work for CBRE. These premises are also to be optimised for hybrid working. In the meantime, the environment of the Amsterdam office is changing rapidly, with Sloterdijk due to welcome more homes, hospitality establishments and offices in the next few years. APG’s home will therefore truly become part of its dynamic surroundings. ‘That makes it even more special to be back here.’
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