Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Amsterdam airports 'take off' with corporate occupiers

Prime rents and office take-up levels at major European airport office developments, including Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are now approaching levels seen in central business locations, according to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE.

The findings, based on analysis of 14 major European airports between 2009 to 2012, show that demand from corporate occupiers is strongest at custom-built aviation hubs as they provide mixed used prime space, first class design and global connections. Dusseldorf Airport recorded the strongest performance, relative to size, with average annual office take-up 6.5% of the airport market’s total stock. Frankfurt and Amsterdam Airports followed with average annual office take-up off 4% and 3.5% respectively of total stock. In comparison, London Heathrow recorded average annual take-up of 2.2% of the airport market’s total stock.

Dusseldorf’s popularity can be attributed to its ‘Airport City’ scheme, a major office development located within walking distance of the terminal building, which has attracted the attention of existing local companies such as Siemens. This coupled with the sound economic fundamentals of the region - almost one third of Dax-listed companies are headquartered here - and the comparative strength of the German economy has meant occupier demand has remained strong. Both Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Airports benefited from new office developments on site during the period, the only two markets out of those examined which saw any new office completions during the three years. This allowed its occupiers to introduce advanced workplace strategy programmes which are easier to implement in modern buildings.

Frankfurt‘s success at attracting high profile occupiers such as the global accountancy firm KPMG, was aided by the development of the Squaire in 2011. This state of the art office space, considered the largest in Germany, sits on top of an existing train station, with direct connections to Frankfurt’s Airport. This type of office development with its advanced design, combined with its local and global connectivity, enabled it to top the list of prime airport rents alongside London Heathrow, both recording €360 sq m / annum at the end of 2012.

At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which boasts around 325 000 sq m of office space within walking distance of the airport terminal, prime rents are around the same as those in the city centre at €340 sq m / annum. Due to the quality of the building infrastructure, quick transfer time from the city centre (10-15 mins) and its global connections, including high speed national rail, it continues to attract interest from multinationals. Cargill Netherlands, for example, recently relocated to Schiphol in The Outlook building.

The research also revealed that occupiers of office centres at European airports typically fall into two categories. The first, are those companies directly related to activity at the airport such as airline and logistical firms. Recent significant leasing deals at Frankfurt Airport involved airline Lufthansa (18,500 sq m), and logistics company DB Schenker (10,800 sq m), whilst at Paris Charles de Gaulle recent deals have been completed by Servair (7,800 sq m) and Air France (9,000 sq m) respectively. The second category belongs to multinational companies that benefit from the connections offered at an international airport, particularly evident across the Technology and Telecoms (T&T), and manufacturing sectors.

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