Principal European Core Fund acquires forward funded Helix office building in Utrecht from area developer AM

Principal Real Estate Europe, on behalf of the Principal European Core Fund (PECF), has completed the acquisition of the 10,000 sq m Helix office building in Utrecht, which it forward funded in a EUR44 million development agreement with area developer AM in January 2020. 

This marks the completion of the transfer of the building from AM to PECF.
  
Located in the heart of the Utrecht Leidsche Rijn area, the Helix office building is the embodiment of AM’s strategy to carefully design and develop offices that meet key health and social criteria that are in such high demand from businesses and office workers in today’s changing work environment. The building has achieved a GPR sustainability score of eight and is registered for a WELL Building certificate, which is a new building classification focused on improving the health and well-being of the users of a building. GPR uses a calculation tool to provide insight into the sustainability of a building according to five themes: Energy, Environment, Health, User Quality and Future Value.
 
Comprising four floors and two indoor parking levels with space for approximately 150 cars, the building is already more than 90 per cent let to several local and international businesses, including real estate adviser Cushman and Wakefield (which has signed a lease on the third floor for 2,150 sq m), the Office Operator, Dyade, Noordhoff publishers and IT software company 2AT. The popularity of Helix can be explained by the high demand for healthy urban living and working spaces, which is a main theme related to the development of offices by AM.
 
Helix was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects to incorporate several striking features, including a large spiral staircase to stimulate interaction between employees, a transparent glass front, a patio, and two large atriums with glass roofs that allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building. BAM Bouw en Techniek built Helix and were an active partner in ensuring the building provides a healthy working environment, which led to it obtaining a good score for the WELL certification and a high GPR sustainability score.
 
Giles Smith, Head of Funds Management at Principal Real Estate Europe, says: “On completion, the Helix will be an attractive office building in a popular city location where there is a shortage of office space, making it ideally suited to our European core fund portfolio. The building provides high quality, flexible office accommodation that meets the changing nature of occupier demand and complements the Principal European Core Fund’s focus on sustainable real estate investment.”
 
Tia Van Beek, Head of Netherlands at Principal Real Estate Europe, says: “Utrecht is a centrally located city in the Netherlands that, over recent years, has attracted a strong line up of international businesses with a young and vibrant workforce. The Helix building has been designed and built to attract and retain this highly educated and mobile demographic that tends to prioritise sustainability and well-being over more traditional considerations. The Helix office building therefore fits seamlessly into our ESG strategy.”

Raymon van Miltenburg, Member of the Board at AM, says: “With the transfer of Helix to Principal European Core Fund, we have reached another milestone in our pursuit of offices that respond to the demand of today and the future. Helix embodies this philosophy. It is more than just a building because it cares for the well-being and happiness of its users and is a place where people meet and develop to their full potential. The fact that this vision is fully embraced by the market gives us the confidence that we are on the right track. We warmly congratulate Principal Real Estate, BAM Bouw en Techniek and Paul de Ruiter Architects and wish all users an inspiring new working environment.”