Real estate company UTOO, a joint venture between Unifore and The Office Operators, has acquired the former V&D building at the Velperplein in Arnhem from CBRE Dutch High Street Club, one of the Dutch investment vehicles managed by CBRE Global Investors.
After a thorough renovation, the complex of approximately 13,000 sqm will be leased out by UTOO as a so-called “Multi-Purpose Property”. On the ground floor, the retail function will be retained for around 3,000 m2. The three upper floors of around 10,000 m2, under the name Journey Offices & Spaces, according to a design by architect firm HofmanDujardin, will be redeveloped to a mix of offices, co-working space, business center and a wide range of supporting facilities.
The renovation of the retail function at the ground floor is in a final phase. The transformation of the upper layers will start in September 2019 with an expected delivery of the completely renewed complex in February 2020. A number of larger tenants have already been contracted for a long-term contract for both the store section and the office floors above.
On behalf of UTOO, Derck Jan Smits talks about the first purchase of the combination. “The V&D in Arnhem fits in perfectly with our vision to create future-proof buildings where flexibility and a multitude of facilities are added. The building is on the best location in Arnhem but had lost its retail function on the upper floors. With the new concept we are permanently solving a hole in the city center and we are adding a high-quality office product to the Arnhem market.”
Martijn Vlasveld, CBRE Dutch High Street Club portfolio manager, states that the sale of this property is in line with the fund’s strategy, with the focus on the 7 strongest retail cities. “Active asset management has maximized the liquidity of this non-strategic object, to which the contracting of international retailer TK Maxx for the ground floor, the renewal of the lease with LaPlace and the change of the destination for the upper floors have contributed.”
Lodewijk Buijs of CBRE Capital Markets, broker of this transaction, adds: “This transaction symbolizes one of the biggest challenges of the Dutch retail market; how do we keep city centers vibrant? The limited demand for retail on the upper floors poses to market and governments for a big task, while at the same time investors want to invest in stable investment product. UTOO, CBRE Global Investors and the municipality of Arnhem together came to a structural solution for this iconic, but virtually vacant, retail property in the center of Arnhem. The cooperation between buyer and seller, but above all the constructive attitude of the municipality of Arnhem, was crucial for this success.”
UTOO was assisted in the acquisition by Van Goud Advocaten, HVG Law, London Van Holland and Stone Project Management. ABNAMRO provides the funding for part of the acquisition and renovation cost. CBRE Global Investors was commercially assisted in the sale by CBRE and legally by Houthoff.