A new step for the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and dsm-firmenich "We are eager to enter the second phase"

A new step for the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and dsm-firmenich  "We are eager to enter the second phase"

More than a year ago, dsm-firmenich and ASR Dutch Science Park Fund joined forces: together they set out to turn the Biotech Campus Delft into a global leader in biosciences. A new step will soon follow as a.s.r. real estate's ASR Dutch Science Park Fund aims to buy several buildings on the dsm-firmenich campus. This will make the fund an active player on the campus. Fund Director Martin Kraaij from ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and Gerben Jacobs from dsm-firmenich are looking forward to it: "Preparations are in full swing and our teams are eager to make this move."

In 2023, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and dsm-firmenich agreed to a long-term partnership to further develop the Biotech Campus Delft and make it a leading global center for biotechnology. With a clear focus and a rich array of companies and knowledge institutions inside its gates, the campus was already well on its way toward this goal. What was still missing was a major investor to implement and manage the required square meters of laboratory space, offices, and facilities. Gerben Jacobs, Program Director Development at the Biotech Campus Delft, says: "In the beginning, that role belonged to dsm-firmenich, as campus owner. But as more parties became active on the campus, it became more logical to put real estate in the hands of a specialist. Especially when that specialist has relevant expertise in the field of science parks."


And that's exactly what the fund has, says Martin Kraaij. "The ASR Dutch Science Park Fund already has long-term agreements with TU Delft and Kennispark Twente. The Biotech Campus Delft fits in perfectly with that." As a first step, the fund invested in the new global headquarters for the dsm-firmenich Taste, Texture and Health business unit. dsm-firmenich is re-leasing the property for a minimum of 20 years. In the future, the fund will also take over existing multi-tenant buildings. Planet B.io is the party that finds the right tenants for this and builds the ecosystem, and they will continue to do so. We complement their expertise with ours: How do you stimulate the formation of an ecosystem where companies inspire and strengthen each other? How do you support that with the right facilities? We are now also a shareholder in Planet B.io, and thus actively involved. And of course, as the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund, we have the necessary potential tenants ourselves, which is something we will be addressing jointly with Planet B.io."

Green and sustainable

Between last year and now, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and dsm-firmenich have worked hard on this collaboration. A plan has also been developed for what the campus will look like. For example, which buildings will stay and what will their function be, where will new buildings be developed, and how will the park really get a green and sustainable look? Jacobs: "dsm-firmenich remains the owner of the land. We want there to be lots of greenery, we are aiming for biodiversity, we are prioritizing cyclists and pedestrians over cars, and we are making sure that sufficient water can be absorbed into the ground." "That's great," says Kraaij. "A campus should be a nice, green place that you enjoy going to and that encourages meeting and collaboration in different ways. A campus therefore becomes more than a site with a number of separate buildings. Moreover, a sustainable facility fits in with the campus' focus on sustainable biotechnology. With a strong cooperation partner like dsm-firmenich, you can really secure that green feel. And our own motto is 'Invest with perpetual value,' meaning that we keep buildings in our portfolio for a long time and ensure that our real estate is future-proof and sustainable. The fact that the new global headquarters of dsm-firmenich Taste, Texture and Health will be labeled BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum is a good example. We also want to optimize the existing buildings."

Looking forward to a new phase

Things are looking bright for the campus, says Kraaij. "The people of Planet B.io are working across the globe to get parties interested in our campus. For many international companies, the campus is an appealing location to set up at. It has excellent accessibility from abroad and provides an ecosystem consisting of numerous large and small companies with a wealth of knowledge and experience in biotechnology. The campus supports these companies with a variety of facilities, including Plant One Delft (former Bioprocess Pilot Facility), a special facility for companies looking to scale up their production process."

All of this leads to many interested parties. Kraaij: "If everyone who is interested committed, we would already be short of space." That's why there is also a clear intention to create even more buildings. Jacobs: "The Master Plan states that we will move to 100,000 m2 of leasable floor space by 2040, within the preconditions set for that. Sometimes that means new construction, sometimes renovation, and sometimes demolition and replacement of a building. We are looking forward to finalizing all the plans. So far, everything is going as we had envisioned and agreed, and we hope that continues!" Kraaij is looking forward to it too: "We are eager to enter the second phase with the whole team!"

Photo: artist impression Biotech Campus Delft development