NSI’s new vision
“NSI is a Dutch office investor with a portfolio of 63 freehold properties. They have a combined value worth around 1.3 billion euros”, said Annemarie de Leuw, Asset Manager and Sustainability Coordinator at NSI. “We have two important stakeholders as a listed company: our tenants and shareholders. Their interests go hand-in-hand because satisfied tenants create value within our portfolio”.
“Our increasing focus in the last few years has been on the development of sustainable and healthy offices of the future. Our earlier portfolio management revolved around the optimisation of leasable space and asset rotation, but now we are also investigating development and redevelopment potential. A currently unprofitable building can become profitable – provided that the location is good, and the building has a strong basis for transformation. It was new territory for us in 2018, and we have been building up our knowledge and capacity”.
Challenge #1: a monumental building at an A location
“We had our eyes on Bentinck House in The Hague. It was an empty building on Langue Voorhout, a chic tree-lined avenue at the corner of Binnenhof. It’s a fantastic location! The building itself was quite dated and had been vacant for quite some time. There were also a number of sustainability issues that needed to be improved”.
“Since this was going to be our first attempt at redeveloping a building ourselves, we decided to look for an expert party to support us. CBRE turned out to be the best match because of their extensive experiences in building transformations. Ultimately, their specialists joined our project team. Their experience was a welcome addition”.
The 1700’s meets the 1990’s
“The Bentinck House consists of two parts. The first is a monumental building from 1751. The second is a horseshoe-shaped building that dates from the 1990’s. Both parts had their own unique challenges. Many surprises came with the monumental building, and there were often differences between the blueprints and reality. The newer building was already very dated. For example, the offices located around the atrium did not overlook the courtyard, but a hallway. That gave very little light and feeling of space”.
Light, air and space
“We removed the hallway which immediately gave all of the offices a pleasant view. In fact, we widened all of the windows by 42% in the newer building, which means more daylight. Sensors monitor the building’s air quality and pump oxygen in when there is a surplus of CO2. That means that even intensive-use rooms, such as meeting rooms, are always fresh. We replaced the reception staircase with a stylish spiral staircase. That immediately gives some fresh appeal to the entrance”.
A future-proof building
“We found it important that Bentinck House became technologically smart and sustainable because that will mean the building remains attractive long-term. We raised over 2.3 million euros to make the building really smart and sustainable. Now there are as many solar panels as can fit on the roof; a green roof will be used where that isn’t the case. We also engaged the services of an ecologist to decorate the courtyard. The underground thermal storage installation provides a sustainable climate control system for the building. People in the building will soon be able to control the default settings using an app and adjust the light intensity or temperature to suit their comfort levels”.
CBRE: strong advice and practical tips
“It was great for us to have the tried-and-tested specialists from CBRE with us through this entire process. Their data-driven advice helped us to market the building and to define target groups for whom this office space would be of interest. They led the construction meetings, got competitive tenders, maintained the financial overviews and proactively advised us on important decisions. They also helped us to look ahead. For example, CBRE indicated to us that we shouldn’t put off regular maintenance on the roof but should integrate that into the renovation. That saved us from having to pay for scaffolding twice”.
A new tenant is ready
"We are proud of this modern, high-tech and sustainable building that has retained its historic character. The new tenant was quickly found. The Rijksvastgoedbedrijf (Central Government Real Estate Agency) now has the keys, and the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch Data Protection Authority) is moving into the office”.