Rotterdam wants to continue its transformation in the years ahead from a typical port and industrial city to a port and knowledge city. It is therefore important that the take-up of office space by sectors such as business services, technological and innovative/creative companies has shown considerable growth over the past years. Office employment is expected to rise in the Rotterdam region in the coming years, in particular in sectors that are less traditional for the area. This offers the city an opportunity to further strengthen the service and innovative/creative sectors.
The rent of office space is relatively favourable in comparison with the other G4 cities (Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) which makes the city attractive for companies. An increasing number of tenants will want to make use of flexible, fullservice office space. The Serviced Offices sector, which was noticeably active in Rotterdam in 2015, seems to be anticipating this. This sector, offering flexible office space, is forecasting a strong growth, particularly in innovative companies. Rotterdam has plenty (redevelopment) opportunities to accommodate new office concepts, and office owners will have to respond to this demand.
In the coming years, the areas CBD, Kop van Zuid and Alexander in particular will attract more tenants. This is mainly due to the presence of facilities and the multifunctional nature of these areas. Nevertheless, CBD, Kop van Zuid and Alexander will have to continue to invest in their attractiveness. Across the board, Rotterdam still has to work hard on its above-average vacancy rate. Moreover, many leases will expire in the near future. Bearing this in mind, there will not, for the moment, be much demand for more office space. There is, however, a need for different types and high-quality offices. Less marketable offices at good locations can be redeveloped and transformed in order to meet the demand in other property segments. Due to the fact that financial institutions, the insurance sector and the government have all shrunk considerably, several buildings are available in the CBD which are eminently suitable for large-scale upgrades, transformation and flexible Serviced Offices.
Transformations and upgrades are increasingly feasible now the book value of empty offices has in general decreased after several crisis years and the demand for accommodation is rising due to the improving economy. Rotterdam can,
in collaboration with office owners, bring supply and demand back into balance by focusing on redevelopment, transformation and possibly demolition.