“Because dsm-firmenich wants to focus on its own core activities, they have attracted us as a partner. We are taking over the development of, and investment in, real estate on the campus,” says Ruud Roosen. “It is the ambition of the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund (ASR DSPF) to invest half a billion euros in real estate on this location in the coming decades.” The ASR DSPF is an unlisted sector fund of asset manager a.s.r. real estate. The fund, which is open to institutional investors, invests in commercial real estate in Dutch science parks. The selected locations form strong business ecosystems; here business, universities and research institutes work closely together.
Future of the Netherlands
The ASR DSPF commissions new buildings and renovates existing ones. The fund is already doing this on the campuses of TU Delft and the University of Twente. “We chose these locations because we believe in the development of sustainable technology,” says Roosen. “We think it is important for the future of the Netherlands that technological creativity is given space here.” The fund therefore contributes to the development of new knowledge, products and services.
Investing in real estate for innovative partners is not without risk. “Not every start-up makes it,” says Roosen. “Often you have to build before all the space is rented out. ASR DSPF can and is willing to bear that risk. In doing so, we naturally work closely with partners. In Delft, these are dsm-firmenich, Planet B.io and the partners in Planet B.io, such as TU Delft, who have a good understanding of what the market needs. This allows us to manage the risks.”
Offices and laboratories
To start with, ASR DSPF is building the new head office for the dsm-firmenich Taste, Texture & Health business unit. dsm-firmenich will rent it for twenty years. It will then go on to purchase the Beijerinck Center and the R&D building. This will be followed by the renovation of the Food Innovation Center and a new ‘multi-tenant’ building with laboratories and offices. But it won’t stop there. “We have signed a long-term collaboration agreement and have a vision for the next twenty years,” Roosen states. “During that time, we will realize and manage office and lab spaces for sustainable biotechnologies. Meanwhile, Planet B.io continues to build an ecosystem of companies on campus, a network of companies that want to become smarter together. Together, we are creating a campus that you cannot ignore if you want to become big in sustainable technology.”
The buildings on the campus will have to meet ASR DSPF’s sustainability standards. “We are going for the highest sustainability and energy consumption standards,” explains Roosen. “It’s great that dsm-firmenich has the same ambitions for the campus as a collaboration partner and landowner. We understand each other. I am therefore happy that we are doing this together.”