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Repurposing infrastructure and intelligent innovation

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Future logisticsImpact by responsibility
Build-to-suitCross-dockMulti-layer warehousesAutomatedEnergyWell-beingEnvironment & SustainabilityReal Estate

Crucial insights for sustainable logistics real estate.

The Netherlands is a critical player in the global economy. It’s a much sought-after location for the establishment of a logistical hub, being in the heart of Europe. Its appeal is not only in pan-European distribution but for city distribution and last-mile activities as well.

It comes as no surprise that logistics real estate has been booming in the country, signified by a huge leap in the industry’s cumulative ground floor area coverage. Between 2016 and 2020, logistics real estate in the Netherlands grew by 33%, or 8 million m² – from 24 million m² to 32 million m².

From open space…

The effect of this mammoth growth over the past few years, resulted in the uptake of more open, available spaces for new developments by industry players. Meadowland was turned into development plots, not in the least because our industry creates an impressive amount of jobs.

However, there’s been growing concern about the encroachment of open spaces. This has resulted in stricter regulation for new developments, or greenfield developments.

… to repurposing tailored to market needs

Brownfield developments, where existing buildings or sites are being redeveloped, are on the rise. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for greenfield developments anymore. There’ll always be demand for large logistical hubs. However, due to evolving policies and the need for environmental sustainability, developing open spaces will progressively become a challenge.

The advantages of brownfield

Brownfield redevelopments are often located in densely populated areas, close to residential neighbourhoods. Redeveloping these existing property assets offer crucial advantages to logistical businesses:

  • It ensures a more sustainable portfolio;
  • The rise of ecommerce makes warehousing and distribution centres close to cities highly attractive;
  • It offers convenience for onsite workers and staff;
  • There’s less risk of project delays and permit perils; and
  • It remedies the sustainability challenge posed by what the Dutch call verdozing” – or Boxing in”: creation of logistical architectural boxes” by new industrial areas, which negatively impact the environmental landscape.

Efficient land use is an important enabler for a greener, more sustainable future. Governments and civil society are increasingly cautioning against the development and occupancy of green, open spaces. As a leading player in industrial real estate, WDP remains committed to global sustainability efforts and demonstrates this by actively diversifying its portfolio.

Ground-breaking brownfield innovations: here’s how

To fully understand the opportunities and potential of brownfield developments, let’s take a closer look at a project WDP recently carried out for De Jong Packaging.

This international player that specializes in packaging for food, non-food, floriculture, e‑commerce and AGF commodities has recorded impressive growth. Expansion was inevitable, but could only be achieved through increasing its footprint in the region that the company was founded in. Availability of land in the area was, however, limited.

De Jong Packaging: saving space through vertical innovation

To deal with that challenge, our teams came up with an interesting solution: innovating vertically with a multi-layered distribution centre. The plot we developed, was only 56,000 m² in size. By spreading out the offices, production, storage and distribution space over two floors, this ambitious company now enjoys over 85,000 m² of usable space!

Under normal circumstances, realizing that amount of floor space would require a plot no smaller than 150,000 m². This newly-built warehouse does things differently, by optimizing storage and distribution vertically. A beautiful example of how innovation can help save open spaces.

Sustainable logistics real estate: contact WDP

WDP is not only a champion of renewable energy and sustainable technology in the logistic real estate industry. We’re not afraid to think outside the box and develop new ways of working, which fully meet our clients’ needs. And equally important, that they effectively address the changing dynamics in our society.

Contact us today to discuss your logistics real estate project.

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