Amsterdam plans to sanction new office developments

Amsterdam Zuidas
Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district

Amsterdam council is planning to add significant new office space, not only in existing office complexes but also in other parts of the city where vacancies were high until fairly recently, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

A new policy paper issued by the city said this means new offices will rise not only in the popular and expensive Zuidas business district but also in areas that the city has designated for certain sectors all over the region.

For nearly two years, property brokers have been warning that office vacancies were being filled so quickly that a shortage of space was looming. Two years ago, vacancies were put at 8% by Amsterdam-based property consultancy CBRE, but space available will have fallen to 6% by the end of the year.

When the vacancy rate is low, it becomes more difficult to lure international companies to any city. ‘We really need additional office space,’ said Kajsa Ollongren, alderman for economic affairs.

This is a new approach for Amsterdam which called a halt to new construction of offices in 2011. New office development was limited to 40,000 m2 a year and then only in the Zuidas business district or near the new waterfront complex in the former Houthaven timber docks.

CBRE managing director Rudolf de Boer told the FD  rents had risen by 12% in the past year because of the tight office space market. Rents are bound to increase even more because of the three-year time frame between planning and delivery of new space.

‘We’ve seen that in Stockholm and Berlin where rents have gone up by 40% and 20% respectively in the past three years,’ he said. De Boer says Amsterdam needs 150,000 m2 of new offices every year.

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