a.s.r. real estate

ASR DMOF and the rise of flexible office space

Flex office market
The number of flexible office units is growing rapidly, primarily in major cities. Over the past decade, the global market has grown by 13% annually. In the Netherlands, approximately 2-3% of the office stock is currently leased to flexible office operators and this proportion is expected to grow by 20 to 30% annually in the years to come (NVM, 2018).

This expansion is being driven by economic factors such as the strong growth of small businesses and start-ups and the relatively fast growth of the knowledge sector, but also the increased demand for flexible lease contracts. Digitalisation, the increasing importance of belonging to a community, attracting fresh talent and achieving cost reductions are other factors behind the success of flexible office concepts.

Flexible concepts are intended to create an attractive atmosphere and offer all-inclusive facilities, making them very attractive to both start-ups and larger corporate users. Because of the factors that underlie the growth of flexible offices, growth in this segment is expected to be sustainable over the years ahead. New office developments will incorporate one or more floors for flexible concepts. Owner-occupied single-tenant offices will also try to create space for flexible office units, in order to benefit from this dynamic.

Examples of the concepts that are active in the Dutch market include WeWork, HNK, Regus, Spaces and Tribes, which are expanding in the Netherlands ‘G5’ cities (G4 + Eindhoven) but more often also outside the G5 cities. These flexible office concepts are the most likely to succeed when they are located close to mobility hubs and high-quality amenities.

ASR DMOF’s exposure to flex offices
The Fund has witnessed increased interest from flexible office operators since its inception, and particularly during 2018. In the current portfolio, 900 sq.m. has been leased to Regus (Semaphore) and 550 sq.m. to Seats2meet (Eempolis). With regard to pipeline asset Willemswerf, a lease contract was signed by Regus in July 2018 for 2,900 sq.m. The Fund is currently in advanced stages of negotiations with a flexible office operator to lease almost 15,000 sq.m. in two of the Fund’s office buildings in Utrecht. More than 10% of the Fund’s portfolio could potentially be leased out to flexible office operators in the medium term, well above the market share of 2-3% mentioned earlier. All lease contracts with flexible office operators will be standard lease contracts, with lease terms up to 15 years.

undefined

On 16 October 2018, the Fund organised a seminar on flexible offices for a.s.r. real estate employees. The presentation of four different perspectives provided a better understanding of how flexible offices are changing the Dutch office landscape. Four speakers gave the audience the benefit of their insight into the emergence of flexible office concepts: CBRE as a real estate advisor, Regus as a flexible office operator, MVSA as an architect and a.s.r. real estate as an investor in offices. You can find the video clip of the seminar below.

For more information on the ASR Dutch Mobility Fund and its strategy, please contact Victor Hagenbeek.

Victor Hagenbeek
fund manager
ASR Dutch Mobility Office Fund
T: +31 (0)6 10 50 28 01
E: victor.hagenbeek@asr.nl