A new ULI report says that setting up a publicly/privately owned development company will be crucial to unlocking the regeneration of Haven-Stad, which sits close to the city center of Amsterdam and is set to become one of Europe’s largest inner-city mixed-use residential districts. Key recommendations focused on three broad principles of sharing risk, engaging investors, and accelerating development.
The Haven-Stad Together report was commissioned earlier this year by the city of Amsterdam, which has called upon ULI—the world’s oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate experts—to provide independent advice to city officials on how to deliver this ambitious project.
The city hopes to achieve a new mixed-use, dense, and sustainable urban district with 70,000 homes and 58,000 jobs across 12 sub-areas. On completion, Haven-Stad will be comparable to other medium-sized cities in the Netherlands.
A workshop with five international property experts—from Seattle, London, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Rotterdam—was convened in February through ULI’s Advisory Services program to conduct a thorough evaluation of the challenges and opportunities facing the area before presenting its recommendations.
The workshop, which received significant support from ULI’s Netherlands national council, toured Haven-Stad as part of a three-day Advisory Services workshop held 25–28 February and interviewed more than 25 stakeholders, including a cross section of city officials, business representatives, developers, investors, financiers, and consultants.
Loes Driessen, chair of ULI Netherlands, said: “There is a tremendous opportunity at Haven-Stad to create something wonderful, but, as with any large-scale project, there are challenges to consider and navigate to succeed in the transformation to achieve a livable, vibrant, and economically successful new city district.
“With so many stakeholders involved, a key part of the group’s work has been to speak to and listen to the views of all stakeholders involved in this potential development, and to then set out a clear and transparent pathway forward to increase the level of trust in the plans for regeneration.”
Chris Choa, AECOM vice president and chair of ULI U.K., led the global delegation. He said: “Amsterdam is an extraordinary global city with strong civic values. It has the courage to take on a comprehensive project of this scale; its ambition should be applauded. Building trust among all stakeholders is the key element to unlocking the potential of this effort.”
He added: “I feel privileged to serve Amsterdam through ULI. Despite the uncertainties that Haven-Stad faces, we hope our contributions to this large redevelopment help address some of the challenges in the evolution of a global Amsterdam.”
In their concluding remarks on the report, the experts summarized that achieving the vision of Haven-Stad requires leadership, partnership, commitment, and communication—all of which could be achieved through a development company. However, it was also noted that in order to attract private investment, some form of public funding, especially for the early-stage transport infrastructure, is needed.
Pieter Klomp, deputy director of physical planning and sustainability for the city of Amsterdam, said: “The research conducted by ULI has been instrumental to how we will take the Haven-Stad project forward. There is a lot for us to reflect on and we will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure that we achieve a vision that works for everyone.”
The full findings of the ULI report can be found here. Now in its 72nd year, the Advisory Services program has convened more than 700 panels assisting communities with a broad range of challenges, ranging from reuse of obsolete industrial facilities to increasing the stock of affordable housing.