11 mrt Developing the Siemens quarter into the Dutch Tech Campus
PingProperties has redeveloped the former Siemens property into a lively campus with its own identity and good, mutually reinforcing rental occupancy. With renowned and successful technology companies such as Siemens, Reconext and WS Audiology, the campus also offers plenty of opportunities for further development in the future.
PingProperties is an investment management organization that adds sustainable value to real estate. “We do this by setting up investment funds for real estate with which we increase the value of the real estate and the area over a period of about ten years by connecting the user of the real estate and the public space,” says Maarten Matze, Fund Manager at PingProperties. “In Zoetermeer we bought the old Siemens quarter, where former Siemens companies are still located. Where we normally operated mainly at building level, we have increasingly focused on the development of areas in the past years, because this allows you to distinguish yourself much more. By investing in the longer term, you can exert much more influence on the development of an area and thus also the value of your real estate.”
PingProperties has the ambition to further develop the campus into a high-quality and sustainable business park. Investments in existing buildings and the campus site and the development of a new high-quality business space with a supporting logistics function of 21,000 m² are concrete examples of this. The high standard of security measures and facilities make this type of building extremely suitable for companies active in high-tech and technological services. The campus has a total development potential of 36,000 m².
Companies sometimes move from one building to another for large-scale sustainability of the buildings. The vacant space that PingProperties creates offers opportunities to sharpen the positioning between companies. “We really don’t let just anyone in, regardless of how much they want to pay. A cardboard factory or social workplace simply cannot establish themselves here. Correct positioning allows you to develop your own ecosystem.”
“It is not the first time that we have developed an entire area,” says Matze. “We previously did this in Amsterdam and Arnhem. This ís the first time for us that we are developing a campus. We do this by seeking cooperation with The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Dutch Innovation Factory and companies to enable different parties to actively strengthen each other.” A good example, according to Matze, is the company Reconext, which sets up training programs together with educational institution mboRijnland. “For example, there is sufficient capacity to be able to do what you have to do, and mboRijnland knows that it has sufficient internships for their students.”
Another player that recently came on board at PingProperties is Topcon. “Together with The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the municipality of Zoetermeer, we are looking at how Topcon can participate in a number of research programs of The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the Topcon HR department is looking at whether internships can be realized at the company.” Matze is very enthusiastic about these developments. “If you immerse yourself in your customer, you can better understand what he or she needs. That happens here too.” For example, Matze was in a meeting in which The Hague University of Applied Sciences raised a self-driving shuttle that enables autonomous transport to and from the train station Lansingerland-Zoetermeer, across the Dutch Innovation Park site. Topcon in turn announced that it is working on autonomous agricultural machines in its own research program. “Autonomous farming is one of Topcon’s main pillars. Topcon also builds the hardware that is placed in agricultural machines. In such a conversation you can just see the collaboration come about before your eyes. This creates a network and community of companies that are not only here because we have good buildings, but also because others are here. If you can do that, you have a very strong proposition.”
A step forward
Bringing tenants together who then see together what they can do for each other is a real step forward within the field of PingProperties. For example, Topcon and Reconext are in talks to see whether Reconext can handle the return logistics of the Topcon hardware. “If you can achieve something like this, you not only create real estate, but also a value proposition for your customer and ultimately also employment, innovation and the economy. That is only possible if you own such an entire area and can combine it with education.” With this approach, PingProperties takes it much further than many colleagues in the field.
Learning by doing
“We increasingly believe in the way we work here,” Matze explains. “We see that if you develop an area on the basis of a certain theme, you get things done faster than if you do that without a theme. At the same time, it is also a direction in which we ourselves are still learning. In Amsterdam we started to attract conceptually appropriate brands. In Arnhem, we established a ROC on the site in order to be able to house the divisions of AKZO for a long time. In Zoetermeer, we are implementing a transformation from a mono-function to a multifunctional work area and we are investing in both new construction and the upgrade of the existing buildings, and we are improving the public area. We combine this with a strong collaboration between companies and educational institutes.”
Where PingProperties normally never deals with banners and social media, it is precisely those kinds of things that are increasingly becoming part of the daily activities. “We’ve been in office here every day since March. This way you can immediately keep small things such as hanging banners or flipped flagpoles under control. All in all it is very intensive, but at the same time it’s also the only way to get the whole area to a higher level.”
The cooperation with the municipality of Zoetermeer is particularly good, according to Matze. “By working together, you can get over objections from both sides more quickly if there are any. You notice that politicians have a lot of support to invest in this area in order to be able to bring about innovation. That entrepreneurial attitude and the will to make things happen is really unique.”
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