The Hague in transition: from public city to versatile metropolis
For years, The Hague has a natural attraction to a steady stream of national and international people. This is partly due to the presence of a large number of employers and universities, combined with high quality residential areas. The most prominent employers are from the public sector, international diplomacy, financial services, telecom and oil & gas sector. The public character of the city’s office market has become less prominent due to the consolidation and redevelopment of government buildings. This has produced several opportunities; both in creating more residential offer as in office accommodation for other types of organizations.In the special research publication The Hague; an insider's View CBRE analyses and interprets the main trends in this office market. The international real estate advisor also gives his vision on this unique market in transition.
With over 6.1 million sq m, The Hague region is the Netherlands’ second largest Dutch office market. The modern economic structure is reflected in the office market, where each user can find a location and office suiting his or her requirements. However, the office stock in The Hague consists largely of older offices of which many are renovated or transformed at the moment to make them suitable for the modern office user or for residential purposes. Roughly 380,000 sq m of new office space has been added to the office stock over the period 2010-2015. Good examples of this are New Babylon and the construction of the new office for Eurojust at the Johan de Wittlaan. In addition, the current demand for urban living is very high. Never before have there been so many requests for new construction and transformation as today. As a result, vacant office buildings on a good location are quickly becoming redeveloped.
The largest and most prestigious office concentration is the Central Business District (CBD), which covers the areas of Wijnhaven and Central Station, Beatrixkwartier and Schenkkade. We see a lot of potential here. A large share of the offices was constructed after the turn of the century. Beatrixkwartier still mainly has a business character at the moment, but we see an increase in dynamics because of the addition of retail and apartments. Also the visible concentration trend of Ministries and government institutions towards this location creates more liveliness. The CBD is changing from a mono-functional office location into a multi-functional and multimodal accessible place where it’s very pleasant to work, live and spend leisure time. This development is most advanced in Wijnhaven, but we expect to see this in Beatrixkwartier and Schenkstrook as well.
The International Zone is the second most important office submarket in The Hague. The World Forum area and the area around Frederikkazerne are an important part of this. The International Zone is home to a number of unique organizations like Europol and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and to most of the embassies and consulates. The zone forms a knowledge base cluster in the fields of peace and justice. This is of great value to the city and a distinctive feature compared to other office locations.
New developments, redevelopments and extractions in the office market of The Hague have ensured – despite the concentration of the central government – that office vacancy has remained stable across the board (11%). The average office take-up has proven to be strong over the past five years although we saw big differences between the highest and lowest levels in 2013 and 2011 respectively. The public and non-profit sector was responsible for the most activity, mostly due to the relocations of Ministries and government institutions. In the period 201-2015 these users took up a total of 575,000 sq m. Also the oil & gas and financial sector showed active demand. This has proven to be a solid basis. However, investments in growing and innovative businesses like The Hague Security Delta – were organizations work on the prevention of cybercrime - are vital to the future of the office market of The Hague. If this sector grows, an entire new sector will emerge in The Hague office market.
The balanced management of the local authorities, the CGREA and other owners has resulted in a strong office market, both in terms of quality of office stock, economic profile and demand for office space. Continuation will be key to the success of the office market of The Hague in the future.
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