A top location gets well-deserved recognition
Nothing had actually been built to the west of Utrecht Centraal train station since the 1970’s. “A new building was erected in the 1990’s, then nothing for a long time”, explained Martijn Kock, Asset Manager at Global Investors. “That was remarkable, because it’s both in the heart of the city and next to the most important public transport hub in the Netherlands”.
2008’s economic crisis was a probable cause for the lack of development in the area, but there was another contributing factor. “Utrecht was far down any investors’ wish list, as they were usually more intently focused on Amsterdam”, explained Kock. “There was increased recognition of the location because of station’s wide-scale renovation. Furthermore, a train trip from Amsterdam to Utrecht takes only 20 minutes”.
Global Investors owned 3 buildings in the area. “Some of them were sold to the municipality. Leeuwesteyn was retained with the idea of replacing it with a new build”.
Leased before construction began
Global Investors developed a brand new, high quality business centre on the Leeuwesteyn site. It is 18 storeys high, with dynamic lines, plenty of glass and catering facilities on the ground level. The WTC Utrecht opened its doors in 2018. “90% of the property had already been rented at the time, thanks to the team at CBRE Agency Utrecht”, said Kock. “They managed to build interest in the site before delivery. For instance, by showing test fit-outs – an impression of how the building would eventually look. We also held organised tours of the construction site, which enabled us to give potential tenants an idea of the end result at an earlier phase”.
Both technical and facility support
“CBRE supervised technical management as well as the rental”, said Kock. “This involved a lot of work, particularly in the pre-delivery phase, because all installations had to be properly adjusted and installed. More precisely, they had to be technically perfect in accordance with our plan of requirements, as well as flexible enough to meet the needs and desires of specific tenants later on. It’s great that we didn’t have to worry about that on a company level because our strengths do not lie in the technical implementation. Our collaboration with CBRE is still ongoing – they perform day-to-day technical management and facility management, providing a dedicated consultant on-site at the WTC Utrecht. That allows us to remain focused on our core business: real estate”.
“CBRE's community manager was very experienced therefore able to get up and running quickly.”
Community management creates an added value socially
Global Investors also employed a community manager at the WTC. That person is a fixed point of contact for tenants and acts as the social coordinator of the building. “The community manager organises events where tenants can meet, such as workshops and pub quizzes”, said Kock. “Those activities create social cohesion. We believe that this is an indispensable part of creating a future-proof office, a physical place that’s not just about being a place where you work out a report or give a presentation. You visit to connect with others, and to experience something else”.
“CBRE always delivers quality, so we are confident leaving the property management to them”.
Property management left in good hands
Global Investors opted for a community manager employed by CBRE. “They already had experience with other WTCs so they could be up and running in no time. Furthermore, they fit in well with the facility manager and technical manager, who were also CBRE employees. These 3 staff work together perfectly and ensure that tenants and users have all their needs met. In any case, we are pleased to work with CBRE because they always deliver quality, so we are confident leaving it to them”.