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Tailor-made solutions and low rental fees in logistics real estate

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Sustainable growthFuture logistics

How is the customer’s logistics process structured and what would be the best-fitting skin? That is the starting point for real estate projects being developed by WDP. Director Rien van Ast: 

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We do not build a box so we can then say: good luck with it. We opt for a long-term relationship offering the lowest possible rental fee.”

Van Ast glows with pride and pleasure as he tells us about the distribution centres recently developed for Kühne & Nagel (Tiel), Brocacef (Eindhoven), wehkamp (Zwolle) and MRC (Zoetermeer).

It is so nice to be doing this. MRC, for example, deals in gas valves. These vary in size from palm-of-your-hand’ to walk-through’ size. We then make the coat to match the logistics process, so to speak. Tremendous.”

A joint investigation

Wehkamp was also an excellent case’, 

he says.

The schedule was very tight. The structural work had to be completed within five months. We worked according to an open-book system, so wehkamp had direct input into the tender offer. Discussions are then sometimes required, in the choice of a more expensive installer, for example. That does then have implications for the rental fee and this has to be discussed. It’s marvellous when things click. Because I have nothing against differences of opinions but rows are out of the question. We are always looking for a sense of shared ownership.”

Growth ambitions

WDP is a long-term investor in semi-industrial and logistics real estate. The company is developing real estate for its own portfolio and is managing more than €1 billion worth of property in the Netherlands spread across 65 projects. Publicly listed WDP has various pension funds as shareholders. 

The company still has the typical family-run business mentality”, 

reports the director Rien van Ast, referring to the parent company’s origins in Belgium.

The Jos De Pauw family is still a shareholder. The ambition in terms of growth is for a one billion expansion by value over the next five years. 

More than half of this is expected to come from the Netherlands. But it does not have’ to. If it does not fit in, then we say no.”

Largest solar energy plant

Sustainability is important for WDP. 

Our aim is to become carbon-neutral in due course.” 

The sustainable approach is apparent in particular in the well-insulated buildings, the use of LED lighting and cold and heat storage. 

We are also looking at we can do with other alternative sources of energy, such as hydrogen.” 

A start has been made installing solar panels on WDP buildings. 

Roughly half of our real estate is suitable for this purpose. All told, that represent a 30 megawatt peak and this means this is the largest solar panel roof in the Netherlands.” 

The aim is not to feed power into the energy network. 

We take at look at the customer’s consumption to install a corresponding number of panels.”

Land prices

When a new site is being chosen the focus is often on land prices but these are not the most important consideration. An examination also has to be made of transport and energy costs, the location, the multimodal resources available and the labour market. A logistics service provider asked us for a distribution centre to be as close as possible to the provider’s customer in the Southern Netherlands. Every kilometre closer to the customer would provide a saving of €1 for each kilometre travelled. We found a location at a distance of 25 metres. The only problem was that this location was €2.3 million more than what was budgeted for. While the saving provided amounted to 3 million a year ….” 


We now have a 20-year contract.”

Purchasing existing properties

As well as developing new projects, WDP also buys existing buildings where the property owner no longer wants to have its buildings on the balance sheet, for example. 

If the property fits in with our portfolio, we make an offer, without any financial ifs and buts. Starting from the time of the offer, we can have the entire process completed within the space of one month. We managed to do this recently with the DHL Express building in Eindhoven, a very specific 30,000 m² building with We managed to do this recently with the DHL Express building in Eindhoven, a very specific 30,000 m² building with a crossdocking function and sorting facilities.”

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