Union Investment signs long-term lease with Houthoff for Zuidas ITO Tower 
Law firm Houthoff has renewed its long-term commitment to Zuidas. The ITO Tower’s largest tenant recently extended its lease.

Completed in 2005, the 34,000 m2 tower at Gustav Mahlerplein 50 was designed as a high-end location by architect Toyo Ito. Houthoff is currently doing a large-scale renovation of the space to maintain that high quality as well as make the building more sustainable. 

Commenting on the deal, Marc Antoine, senior asset manager for Europe at Union Investment Real Estate GmbH, said: “We are delighted that Houthoff has committed to this location for the coming years. The extension of the lease testifies to ongoing demand for modern office spaces in attractive locations, and Amsterdam’s Zuidas continues to be one of the most popular office markets in Europe.” 

Irene van Esseveld, associate director account manager at Savills in the Netherlands, added: “We are proud to have been Union Investment’s partner in extending the lease with Houthoff. The ITO Tower is now undergoing a sustainability upgrade to ensure the building’s future resilience in line with the owner’s ambitions. Our Property Management office will remain closely involved in the execution of this work. Houthoff’s choice for the ITO Tower is proof yet again that Zuidas constitutes the heart of business services in the Netherlands.”

Savills advised the leasing company Union Investment Real Estate GmbH on the transaction. Houthoff was advised by Cushman & Wakefield. 

“No danger of ‘office hell’, but offices in the Netherlands are losing value”
Offices that are neither sustainable nor in the right location are gradually losing value. That’s simply how the office market works, said Bart Meijer, a developer at MRP, in an interview with property sector website Vastgoedmarkt. “People do still want to come to the office to work – provided that office is sustainable, in a good location and you can grab something to eat and drink downstairs. Which means that offices which don’t tick these boxes will be worth a little less. That’s just how the market works”, according to Meijer.

Meijer isn’t worried about the prospect of an ‘office hell’ that is raising concerns across the pond. However, he is seeing growing demand for flexibility. “Flexible working has brought many changes. Take Canary Wharf in London, where HSBC is giving up 70,000 square metres, just like that. I think multinationals will increasingly be seeking smaller and more flexible spaces.” 

This trend offers opportunities for multi-tenant developments such as WFC Amsterdam, which MRP is developing in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. “Managing a few hundred tenants may be more complicated, but it is much less risky than an office with one or two large tenants.”