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How impact investment and real estate management meet

D/DOCK Campfire session 2

Tuesday June 18th we hosted our second campfire session, this edition D/DOCK was invited by Spaces Zuidas. Our session was part of the WeMakeTheCity festival.
Here you’ll read a short report:

We’ve transformed the stylish Club Room into an intimate setting, where our participants, colleagues and inspirators sat in a circle close to each other: no escape to participate in the debate.

Our favorite moderator Susanne Heering kicked off the discussions and Thomas van Leeuwen (Director Development D/DOCK) introduced the theme:

Nowadays every organization is very keen and conscious in showing commitment to ecological and social return and do less harm to our planet. Also the real estate industry. This industry impacts our world in many ways, it’s one of the biggest industries in both capital value and turn-over AND it has a huge carbon footprint. Slowly a few real estate developers are now indeed transforming their way of working, trying to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. But wouldn’t we be able to make a faster, bigger and more scalable change when we embrace the need for financial return? “Making money on doing good is not a bad thing”

What is impact investment?

To understand impact investment, Thomas explained that this is an investment which has an intentional and measurable positive social and/or ecological impact, as well as a good financial return.

The real estate industry has the tools to make better environments; the impact investment industry invests in opportunities which have intentional and measurable social and ecological impact. So: let’s work together! “Impact Investment + Real Estate Development = Impact Development” Sounds good right? But how does this work in real life?

Thomas introduced two cases, which made our discussion more concrete.
1. We invited Tina Lindh. She is a property developer from Sweden, Malmo and presents the rule-breaking development project on which her company Kungsleden collaborates with Wingards, WSP and D/DOCK. More information about this project will be published soon.

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2. Thomas then talked about something more close by: a neighborhood in Amsterdam West (Geuzenveld). The numbers don’t lie: this is not the best neighborhood to live in Amsterdam, people are not happy at all. Thomas is in contact with the municipality of Amsterdam to approach these problems in a complete new way and in this session, he asked all the participants: what could we do here in terms of real estate development and impact investment? As a first result: we’re happy to announce that Professor Peter Van Gool (RealEstate-Economy), who was present during this session, decided to use this case in his future lectures. Let’s see what the students come up with!

The Campus formerly known as De Koppeling
Robert van Ieperen, partner at Fakton Capital, presented this interesting case to the group. He spoke about the unique collaboration between Spirit (the largest provider of Youth Care in Amsterdam), Garage 2020 (Innovation hub for Youth Care) and Fakton Capital (value creation for public and private stakeholders in the Real Estate Cycle) to make a success in redeveloping this De Koppeling area in Amsterdam. This project started with the urgent problem of the fact that there is a shortage of adequate housing solutions within Youth Care.

How to do “Impact Investment”?
Els Boerhof, partner and founder at Goodwell Investments, elaborated on her experience in impact investing. How she grew into the business and the lessons she learned. Her passionate story resonated within the group. Her conclusion was: “Dear real estate industry, it is possible to invest in an impactful way, let’s see how we can meet.”

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Last but not least, Professor Frank Suurenbroek (Spatial Urban Transformation) pledged as well to turn around traditional concepts. Frank works with many organizations like the municipality of Amsterdam, to research neighborhoods and how they develop in the future. He said putting another communityhouse in the neighborhood where people can meet, learn and have a coffee is not the solution to improve the 32 deprived neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Frank: “Everytime we develop space, either buildings or whole areas, we have the opportunity to shape our future”.

Soon we will publish more on the discussions and the conclusions of this campfire session. Please keep following us!