DFI acquires historic Dutch flour mill for €200m residential-led development project

DFI acquires historic Dutch flour mill for €200m residential-led development project

Pan-European private equity real estate investor Deutsche Finance International (DFI) has acquired a major c. €200 million residential-led development project that will see the creation of a new mixed-use district, which includes the preservation and recycling of the historic elements of  a 19th Century flour mill in the Amsterdam suburb of Zaanstad-Wormerveer.

The off-market transaction was undertaken on behalf of DFI’s inaugural fund, DFI European Value-Add Fund (“DFI EVAF” or the “Fund”) and marks the company’s first investment in the Dutch market. DFI is the majority investor in a joint venture (the “JV”) with local development manager, Waterland Real Estate, and developer contractor Van Wijnen, one of the largest residential construction companies in the Netherlands.

Formerly the Meneba flour mill factory, the 4.6 hectare (11.4 acre) 100-year-old industrial site was purchased for the development of 600+ residential units, including Build to Rent and for sale homes as well as ancillary commercial uses. The investment will therefore transform the underutilised area into a new mixed-use district to be enjoyed by both current and future generations of residents.

The business plan assumes partly retaining and refurbishing the heritage components of the old factory, while inserting modern accommodation to complement these buildings. It will also incorporate new outside spaces and public realm for both residents and the local community. In addition, the buildings will feature state-of-the-art design and technology (including solar / PV panels, green roofs and façades, heat & cold storage, etc.) to make sustainable living and working possible.

Zaanstad-Wormerveer benefits from excellent transport connectivity being just 20 minutes by road or rail from Amsterdam city centre and adjacent to the A7 motorway. The proposed scheme will benefit from its strong micro-location (close to local shops, amenities and schools) while providing much needed mid-market and affordable housing for the local population.

By establishing the JV alongside partners with an in-depth knowledge of the Dutch residential market, DFI will look to capitalise on the growing housing deficit, which by the end of 2019 reached a shortfall of 315,000 units, representing 4.0% of total housing stock in the Netherlands. The main focus will be on the mid-market segment in cities within the Randstad region and locations which benefit from strong transport links into these cities.

Paul Nearchou, Director at DFI, commented: “This acquisition presented a significant opportunity to sustainably develop a new district that will both incorporate and be sympathetic to the site’s heritage properties while at the same time benefit the local community. This transaction also kicks-off our joint-venture in the Dutch residential market alongside specialist partners who bring extensive experience of the Dutch real estate sector.”

Gavin Neilan, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner at DFI added: “This latest transaction for DFI EVAF, which is our first in the Netherlands, aligns with our investment strategy to identify themes such as residential asset classes that are underpinned by long term growth dynamics and proactively reposition under-managed and under-invested assets to deliver strong returns to our investors.  Located in a growth market on the outskirts of a major European city like Amsterdam, the site will benefit from urbanisation trends as well as the Dutch residential market’s strong fundamentals.”

Feike Siewertsz van Reesema, Managing Partner at Waterland Real Estate, commented: “This project is a significant opportunity to develop a new, mixed-use urban quarter for Wormerveer and the Zaanstad region, which will include sustainable and affordable rental and owner-occupied homes that help address the large shortage of residential properties in the area. We look forward to working in close collaboration with the municipality of Zaanstad, as well as our partners at Mecanoo, Van Wijnen, and DFI, our new partner for future developments in the Netherlands.”

Frank Klomp, Director Development at Van Wijnen, added: “We see this as a great opportunity to transform this site into an attractive, mixed-use area for people to live and work. With our understanding of the local market, we see excellent potential to create a modern, sustainable quarter in Zaanstad. Our experience in development, construction and regeneration will ensure this project is completed to the highest standards while using highly efficient smart production and assembly processes including the pre-construction of several components in our factories.”