The University of Twente, the Kennispark Twente Area Foundation, the City of Enschede and the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund have signed a partnership agreement. The deal represents a collective commitment to transform Kennispark Twente and realise commercial real estate for its broad range of tenants.
The formal four-way collaboration offers additional real estate investments opportunities that can deliver on the vision of the Kennispark Twente area as a dynamic location for talent and innovation. The parties’ complementary strengths come together in a joint approach that will serve the interests of all target groups at Kennispark Twente. The University of Twente will focus on real estate that serves its core tasks of education, research and commercial knowledge transfer. The ASR Dutch Science Park Fund will look to the real estate needs of commercial parties seeking to establish themselves at the science park.
Kennispark Twente’s director Anne-Wil Lucas: “We have ambitious plans for Kennispark. The existing Business and Science section will be transformed into a prime location where people can meet, connect and interact. We also want to add a whole new innovation district on Hengelosestraat to unite the unique UT campus and the Business and Science Park in a single area where our brightest talents can live, learn, work, play and relax. This transformation can only be achieved by working closely with a real estate partner who embraces our vision and is willing to invest in the area for the long term. I’m delighted to say we have now found that partner.”
Machteld Roos, Vice Chairman of the University of Twente’s Executive Board: “The University of Twente has a strong tradition as a campus university that works closely with the business community. That’s why the first science park in the Netherlands was created here: Kennispark Twente. Now it’s time for the next phase. Our aim is to expand the sense of connection on campus. Why should graduation mean that you suddenly stop living and studying in an inspiring campus community? We want talented graduates to continue feeling right at home at our science park by making it a great place to live, work and have fun. The transformation of the existing Business and Science Park into a dynamic prime location where talent is eager to work will require major investment. The cooperation agreement with ASR Dutch Science Park Fund offers us vast opportunities to generate the investment power we need. Together, we can now set to work and give Kennispark Twente the boost it needs for a successful transformation.”
Luc Joosten, fund director at ASR Dutch Science Park Fund: “As a fund, our goal is long-term investment. That applies not only to real estate, but also very much to the partnerships we enter into. We are therefore delighted to follow up our collaboration agreement for the further development of the TU Delft Campus with a collaboration agreement for Kennispark Twente. As a Dutch fund, we are committed to stimulating the Dutch knowledge sector with the backing of our participants – institutional investors such as Dutch pension funds.”
June Nods, executive councillor for the City of Enschede: “Kennispark Twente is the driving force behind jobs in the region. As the area develops over the coming decade, we expect to see at least another 1,800 jobs at the Kennispark and a further 800 jobs in the region. To keep pace with companies as they grow and to create space for new entrepreneurs, we aim to invest now. The cooperation agreement with ASR Dutch Science Park Fund is a major step in this direction. Working with ASR Dutch Science Park Fund, our investments will include new buildings that take innovation and interaction at the Kennispark to the next level.”
In 2020, ASR Dutch Science Park Fund took up ownership of The Gallery on Hengelosestraat. The next practical move after signing the deal is to develop a multi-tenant building in the new innovation district to link the UT campus with the existing Business and Science Park. This new building will house not only businesses but also shared facilities such as meeting rooms, co-working spaces, shared labs and hospitality outlets. At current estimates, a hub like this can be up and running by the end of 2024.
Through its commitment to commercial real estate in the most attractive science parks in the Netherlands, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund offers accommodation to knowledge-intensive companies, with a particular focus on tech and the life sciences. This promotes cooperation between the business community and knowledge carriers such as universities and research institutes, sparking the development of new knowledge, products and services that benefit society as a whole. It’s an approach that enables the fund to contribute to the development of the Dutch knowledge sector, classified by investors as an impact investment. The ASR Dutch Science Park Fund is an unlisted sector fund that forms part of asset manager a.s.r. real estate, with a focus on institutional investors.
Kennispark Twente is one of the Netherlands’ top three innovation campuses, home to over 400 companies and over 10,000 jobs where, every day, people are working on ground-breaking innovations in the fields of MedTech, advanced manufacturing, smart & secure systems and materials. As the first science park in the Netherlands, it is now in need of an upgrade. The goals are clear: to design an environment where talent is eager to work; to develop additional labs and other resources to facilitate a new wave of innovations; to achieve a sharper focus on medical technology and a better balance between knowledge companies and broader activities; and to create more meeting places for students and businesses. These choices should lead to hundreds of additional jobs and attract talent.