Hines, the international real estate firm, has acquired the 62,000-square-metre Urban Logistics Distribution Centre in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on behalf of the Hines Pan-European Core Fund (HECF). Hines acquired the asset from vendor Ramphastos for an undisclosed price.
The Urban Logistics Distribution Centre is occupied by retailer HEMA and acts as the company’s logistics hub for the Benelux region, serving over 550 HEMA stores. HEMA has occupied the site since 1965 and will lease the warehouse from HECF for 10 years.
The complex is located in Utrecht’s Lage Weide urban logistics hub in the centre of the Netherlands. Utrecht is one of the four major cities in The Netherlands and part of the Randstad metropolitan area, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population of 8.2 million. Within the Netherlands, Utrecht is considered the centre of the country and therefore is in high demand for national and Randstad focused distribution centres.
Since 2019, HECF has sought to increase exposure to urban logistics and residential assets in key European cities within its portfolio. The Urban Logistics Distribution Centre represents the third urban logistics investment by HECF over the last 12 months, and further logistics investments are expected to complete in the coming months.
Peter Epping, senior managing director and HECF fund manager at Hines, said: “As HECF continues to diversify into the logistics sector with a focus on urban logistics, we are pleased to have acquired our first urban logistics asset in a strategic location in The Netherlands. Location is crucial and we see strong long-term prospects for the logistics hub of Utrecht Lage Weide, which is uniquely positioned to serve the Benelux region and benefit from increasing demand for urban logistics assets. We are actively assessing a number of other urban logistics projects in top tier cities in Europe.”
Andy Smith, managing director and country head for The Netherlands at Hines, said: “We are grateful to Ramphastos for their trust and collaboration to close this transaction at the current time. We believe strongly in the long-term potential of this property, well beyond its current life as a business-critical distribution centre for a resilient retailer like HEMA.”
Jan Willem Neggers, Partner at Ramphastos, said: “HEMA has thrived at this location for over 50 years and through this transaction with Hines secures its future as tenant of this property for years to come. Ramphastos is supporting HEMA through active management of the company including its real estate interests and is pleased to have selected HECF as its future landlord.”
Support for the transaction was provided to Hines by Savills, Eveda Capital, Simmons & Simmons, Cushman & Wakefield (Project and Development Services), Hollis, Ramboll and PWC.
HEMA was founded in 1926 with the opening of its first store in Amsterdam, and currently has over 750 stores internationally, largely in Europe. The firm has over 19,000 employees and serves over six million visitors each week. The brand is known for its own branded non-food & food products, with a low pricing and creative and practical product design.