Complex area developments benefit from a developer who takes on the management task. Such a directing developer does not necessarily have to assume the financial risk, but coordinates the tasks of commercial parties and relevant authorities. Municipalities can choose to be at some distance from an area development and thus limit themselves to a more facilitating role. But the management role, in which considerations are made between social and commercial interests, must be fulfilled. This is one of the results of a graduation research project on the “ultimate development” by Maarten Lauwers on behalf of OperationNL.
Now that the real estate crisis is over and the pressure on construction is increasing, the quality of projects is under pressure. All involved parties would do well to not just go for volume, according to Lauwers in his research.
According to Herman Nieuwenhuis of OperationNL, the project Feyenoord City is experimenting with the role of an external director. He calls this a delegated developer, who occupies a middle position in bringing together the general interest and the private interest. In 2016, the municipality of Rotterdam explicitly left the initiative for the combination of stadium and area development to Feyenoord. But on behalf of the club, a project team has functioned that prepared and elaborated the plans in close consultation with the municipality and with an open eye for the social costs and benefits, according to Nieuwenhuis. In the meantime, this working method has led to a positive council decision so that – according to the same lines – the further development of the project can take place.
In Lauwers’ appeal to continue to monitor quality, OperationNL sees a confirmation of the need to steer vigorous commercial developers and builders. This must be done from a social perspective by a solid party that – better than the government – can operate in the middle of the development playfield.