ON THE SOFA WITH RED COMPANY

ON THE SOFA

WITH

RED COMPANY

Level up real estate

WITH A FANTASTIC VIEW OF ROTTERDAM AND BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK ON THE WALL, MARK VAN DIEPEN, COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATE, AND SASKIA HOVERS, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, BOTH FROM NIBC, EXPERIENCE HOW ONE OF THE FOUNDING PARTNERS OF PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT COMPANY RED COMPANY LIVES. AT HOME, ON NANNE DE RU’S SOFA, WE TALK ABOUT ISSUES FOR THE FUTURE TOGETHER WITH NIELS JANSEN. NEXT LEVEL DEVELOPMENT, COLLABORATION AND SUSTAINABILITY FEATURE STRONGLY IN THE CONVERSATION.

Saskia: “When RED Company was founded five years ago, did you know which approach you wanted to take?”

NANNE: “Mainly, we felt the pressure to achieve a different kind of quality. In the Netherlands, there are definitely developers that go for quality, but there are also many who are primarily profit-driven. The key incentive for us is to see how you can develop on a more qualitative level. We call that ‘next level’ development: getting a step ahead on all fronts and going further than other companies.”

Saskia: “Does developing on a qualitative level combine well with establishing a healthy company?”

NANNE: “Definitely! RED Company developed quite quickly. You can see there’s a lot of demand for different, better products and service in the market.”

Mark: “The relationship between RED Company and NIBC began back in 2017. How did you come into contact with us?”


NIELS: “Our first project was to develop the European head office of ASICS in Hoofddorp. At the time, we deliberately chose not to explore the market in depth. We looked at whether we could move forward with people around us whom we knew well and trusted. That’s what brought us to NIBC. We knew a colleague of yours and examined whether we we could attract funding to get the development underway. Within a relatively short period of time, and that’s typical for NIBC as an entrepreneurial bank, the collaboration was sealed.”

Saskia: “Property financing is one of our core areas. We are constantly on the looking for niches where we can make the difference for our clients and new parties in the market. Development financing is an important incentive in that process. It’s great that the ASICS head office has resulted in our next collaboration: developing the head office for Danone.”

NANNE: “If all goes well, we’ll carry on with that. NIBC works with us and gives clear instructions on the requirements that need to be fulfilled. Never change a winning team. And yes, we’ve worked with you again on the development of Danone’s head office and now we’re collaborating on the redevelopment of a residential area in Leiden. That will eventually lead to the delivery of 580 homes. We work on projects together like business partners, each with their own expertise and responsibility.”

Saskia: “The redevelopment in Leiden is a huge project. In addition to a provider of senior debt, you also need a different type of investor.”

NANNE: “That’s right; you need equity. We had ideas about that and have begun discussing it with NIBC. As a result, we got to know people in your network. That was a valuable process for us. It even led to a new partner, and ultimately to the Hofplein redevelopment project in Rotterdam.”

Mark: “Sustainability is an important topic to you. Does it help you when it comes to convincing municipalities during a permit procedure? How do you handle that?”

NIELS: “Nowadays, sustainability is a prerequisite, an essential condition. It simply has to be a given – and the same goes for municipalities and investors. For us, sustainability goes beyond the environment. We also focus on health. In the case of offices, for example we work with WELL certification. It’s important that there are good air renewal systems, especially given the coronavirus, and that a healthy lifestyle is encouraged. Lifts are hidden and large stairways are installed to encourage people to move more. That’s par for the course to us – it’s how it should be.”

Saskia: “Is that how you stand out from the competition?”

NANNE: “Not when it comes to sustainability, but that is the case when combined with social sustainability in which we promote the development of human relationships and focus on lifestyle. By fulfilling the community’s evolving wishes and needs, for example. This is something we focus on a great deal, just like design and quality. We try to take all parameters a step further and opt for an integral approach. In other words, we ‘level up real estate’. We continuously try to innovate and improve, on both a small and large scale. For us, property is not just about bricks and mortar, money and architecture: it’s about balancing the various components.”

Mark: “How do you see the future of property?”

NANNE: “Sustainability and health are topics that will remain very important in the future for both offices and homes. For homes, the need for quality is also an important issue. Due to the enormous pressure on the property market, homes are becoming more compact in order to keep them affordable. We can increase the general quality of living by adding services to a building such as a shared swimming pool, gym or library. Developments that serve a broad group of people are definitely something to explore in the Netherlands in future. Making housing accessible to the entire market is part of our philosophy.”


Saskia: “What is your dream project?”

NANNE: “We think it would be fantastic to be able to develop an ecological resort in nature, where you can spend the holidays in balance with nature. And do that in relaxation and luxury, without harming the environment.”

NIELS: “The entire property spectrum is currently very compartmentalised; everyone is doing their own thing, has their own projects and their own roles and tasks. We see things very differently. We believe more in partnerships and collaborative ventures. Our business partners include an architecture team, a technical development company and a developer. In the near future, we may well add asset management, an investor, a fund or something along those lines. Long-term quality is our guiding principle, so you can also exercise more control in the first years following completion.”

NANNE continues: “Development for ownership is particularly fascinating. The most beautiful, extraordinary city projects are developed by people with a real vision who are actually able to retain ownership. That vision really appeals to us. We would also like to develop projects where ownership can be retained for longer, enabling you to guarantee even greater intrinsic quality. For us, it will be interesting to see how we can achieve that over the coming period. To explore how we can move from development funding to investment financing. We’re also interested in how NIBC can contribute to that.”

Saskia: “I consider that a welcome challenge. The world around us is changing quickly and if in a year’s time your organisation is doing exactly what it’s doing today, you won’t remain relevant.”

NANNE

“We believe in collegial collaboration in which we always focus on quality and create depth.”

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