Our origins date back to 1841, when two brothers opened a textile warehouse in the Frisian town of Sneek, in the Netherlands. They opened their first shop 20 years later, selling traditional fabrics as well as a new product of historical significance: ready-to-wear clothing. These were the beginnings of a remarkable brand that went on to have an enormous impact on the fashion retail industry. Today, C&A can be found in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
In 1860, Clemens and August purchased and opened their first store in Sneek. As C&A expanded in the decades that followed, it built up an impressive portfolio of retail properties across Europe. This portfolio was initially managed by a department within C&A. It formed the foundation of Redevco’s portfolio when it was set up in 1999.
In 2000, Redevco re-let 109 UK C&A stores comprising 500,000 m2. The majority of the UK portfolio was re-let within six months to major brands: Next, H&M, GAP, Primark, New Look and Wilkinson. Rental levels of the big UK stores were the highest in the portfolio, and in less than two years C&A’s share of Redevco’s tenant roll dropped to below 50% from 97% in 1999.
A game changer in the first formative years of Redevco was the acquisition of a Belgian retail real estate portfolio for €1.2 billion from GIB Immo. This portfolio, predominantly consisting of retail parks, is still one of the highlights in our holdings, and has been a constant outperformer.
After a period of significant growth and consolidation that moved beyond Europe’s borders, the failure of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent financial crisis brought global expansion to an end. In 2011, we refocused our strategy on European core markets and retail real estate, which became the dominant asset class in the portfolio.
Since 2012, Redevco has been developing innovative research strategies to identify those cities most likely to remain or evolve into vibrant urban centres. Centres that will attract and retain the consumer of the future. This helps Redevco find the right location for its tenants – just one way Redevco has been supporting retailers in a fast-changing urban landscape.
The signing of the first two joint ventures (one with Ares Management and the other with Federated Hermes) as well as opening up to third parties marked Redevco’s transformation from a property company into an investment management platform. In 2017, PGGM joined as a JV partner. This increased the third-party capital base to almost 40% of our total portfolio value.
With our first acquisition in the residential segment, Redevco established a new residential real estate fund of €500 million. We currently target potential projects in the Netherlands and Germany, with Spain and the UK serving as second-tier markets. Our pan-European residential portfolio will comprise 2,500 high-quality, sustainable units aimed at the mid-rental segment. Redevco confirmed this strategy by acquiring a 38,000 m2. mixed-use property comprising a convenience retail floor and more than 280 residential units in Düsseldorf in the beginning of 2020.
At the end of 2019, the year of the company’s 20th anniversary, Redevco committed to making its entire portfolio net zero carbon by 2040 as part of our ongoing efforts to act responsibly and reduce our impact on the environment. We call this programme ‘Mission 2040’. It is aligned with the World Green Building Council’s definition of Net Zero Carbon (NZC), which states that buildings should be highly energy efficient and fully powered from onsite and/or off-site renewable energy sources.
Redevco evolved its diversification strategy to include additional real estate sectors and broaden its investor base, targeting €10 billion Assets under Management by 2025. Urban areas are transforming rapidly, and the demands on the use of real estate space are changing. This presents a great opportunity for future investments to be largely concentrated in mixed-use urban locations, as the blurring of boundaries between real estate asset classes accelerates.
In our shared commitment to clean energy and climate change, Redevco joined forces with parent company COFRA to initiate a large-scale, on-site renewable energy generation project called Project Solar. Our goal is to ramp up the provision of on-site clean energy generation by installing solar panels on the roofs and carparks of the retail park assets that we manage in Belgium on behalf of COFRA.
Redevco invested in Fifth Wall’s European PropTech Fund, targeting €100 million and aiming to invest in high-potential European PropTech start-ups. This collaboration with Fifth Wall will help accelerate our innovation capabilities as we advance our growth and diversification strategy.