Edwin about working at Manhave Vastgoed

"We are producers of unique urban experiences."

Edwin has been working at Manhave Vastgoed since 2020. As a Senior Asset Manager, his responsibilities include commercial real estate, project development and managing the front office team.

11 July 2023
By Lisanne Van Beurden

With his knowledge and experience in the real estate sector, Edwin has made himself indispensable in the Manhave team in no time. In addition to his regular responsibilities, he is currently heavily involved in the area development of the Kruiskade.

In the interview below he shares how he started working at Manhave Vastgoed, how he feels about working here and gives an update on the development of The Lobby and Lumière. Finally, he has some nice news about the City House. Be sure to keep on reading!

What did you do before you started working at Manhave Vastgoed?

Edwin: “After completing my degree in engineering, I started working almost immediately. My first application was at Stad en Land, a real estate agency. They knew my father well because of his construction company Dickhoff Bouw. However, there turned out to be a misunderstanding, as they thought they would look for opportunities within their relationships, while I thought it was about an interview for a job with them. I thought it was no problem and continued my search. The moment I signed an agreement with another company, Geste Groep, Stad en Land called me to ask if I could still come and work for them. I indicated that I would contact them after my probationary period if I didn't like the job. In the end, I worked at Geste Groep for 16 years.”

“Geste Groep, like Manhave Vastgoed, is a developing investor. We worked with a small but dedicated team, managing a sizeable portfolio. Here I started with property management and administrative tasks. Through my work in administration I learned a lot about how everything works. Soon I made the switch to commercial real estate. For the last six years I worked here as Asset Manager Commercial Real Estate.”

“After 16 years at Geste Groep, I wanted to do something different. I started working at Looije Properties, an enterprising real estate investor, where I worked for about three years. I learned a lot there and bought and sold larger projects. After more than three years I left here on good terms. It was just time for something new.”

Is there a project at your previous employers that stuck by you?

“During my time at Geste Groep, I was involved in the area development of the Kettingstraat, in which the Baljurk was realized. At the time, this area was very neglected, with numerous boarded up buildings and drug problems. At the same time, Provast worked for ASR on the restoration of the Haagse Passage. The ultimate goal was to make the Haagse Passage a prominent attraction."

"The idea was to link a store in the passage to the Baljurk so that a large store could be realized. However, my management and the management of Provast could not agree on the approach to this. That is why I decided to talk to a Provast employee. In the end, we single-handedly succeeded in finding a solution; very cool, of course. Two stubborn board members who couldn't come to an agreement together, but that it succeeded with someone else on my own initiative."

“Ultimately, the result of the Kettingstraat area and of the Haagse Passage is wonderful. Thanks to the efforts of both companies, we have been able to make a valuable addition to the Haagse Passage, which is still successful today. The cooking shop DOK is still there.”

"Working at Manhave is a collaboration with all colleagues. Everyone really takes their responsibility."

Edwin about working at Manhave Vastgoed

When did you start working at Manhave and how did you end up here?

“In October I have been working at Manhave Vastgoed for three years. Steven and I studied Architecture together and our fathers used to work together. In fact, Steven even worked with my father on projects in Rotterdam, such as on the Westzeedijk Looiershof.”

“Steven asked if I was interested in working at Manhave Vastgoed. We first had to consider together whether this was wise, because we are friends. In the end we came to the conclusion that we were just going to give it a try. If it didn't work or if we had other ideas, that was fine. Then we would each go our separate ways. Now, three years later, things are going very well. Our friendship has remained unchanged and the cooperation is going well.”

“In the beginning it was especially exciting because there was actually no existing position. I had to create my own place. Fortunately, I quickly found my footing and became project leader of The Lobby. In addition, at Manhave I am responsible for the Lumière development in collaboration with VORM."

Steven and Edwin driving the first pile of The Lobby in May 2022.
Together with colleagues, the employees of Van Waning B.V. and Sven Molkenboer of MBM Advies raised a glass to this milestone.

Can you tell us more about your duties and responsibilities?

“Within Manhave I am responsible for commercial real estate and am involved in The Lobby and Lumière, for which I work closely with Steven. I am also responsible for property management, with Danny carrying out asset management. I am also the manager for the front office and the technical service."

“Since I started working here, I also took brought in a new management programme: AFAS. Through my previous experience at other companies I have learned that the basis of good management starts with good administration. With this program we have the possibility to set up all management modules ourselves and the freedom to set it up ourselves.”

How would you describe working at Manhave?

“Fun, challenging and varied. Working at Manhave is a collaboration with all colleagues. Everyone really takes their responsibility.”

“Furthermore, it is hard work at Manhave and it can often be busy, but you don't have bad stress. In the past I have had to deal with unhealthy stress at other employers. When you are a little younger, you sometimes worry too much, but as you get older you realize that there is more to life than just work. Bad stress also affects your family. At some point you make the decision that you don't want this. Hard work is fine, but I also just want to be able to have a private life."

What do you like most about working at Manhave?

“In my previous job I was mainly involved in buying, selling and managing real estate. At Manhave I am often involved in development projects, such as The Lobby and Lumière. In addition, I get a lot of freedom and confidence, which is very nice. Steven is someone who is good at delegating and gives his staff a lot of responsibility.”

“In addition, at Manhave we are focused on area development. There is a clear long-term vision within the company. We are producers of unique urban experiences for people and want to provide living, working, shopping, going out and relaxing in the city centre. If you looked purely at returns, you wouldn't build The Lobby, for example.”

"We are producers of unique urban experiences for people and want to provide living, working, shopping, going out and relaxing in the city centre."

Edwin about Manhave Vastgoed

Why is that?

“Crystal House was a 1980s property that still generated good rental income, but it didn't fit our vision for the area. That's why we decided to transform it into The Lobby. The thing that many people don't realize is that there is a long process before starting such a development project.”

“On the first floor of the Crystal House, there were always popular restaurants, such as the Japanese restaurant Yamato. A well known place in the city. But when you choose a development project like The Lobby, you have to make difficult choices, such as letting the property empty in order to start the renovation. Every time a contract expired, we terminated it. This means that some restaurant spaces were empty for two years, as well as a number of retail properties. This entails considerable costs, also because no rental income is received during that time. Fortunately, we managed to arrange everything in good consultation, without lawsuits or legal disputes.”

“Then, when the building is empty, the full dismantling and renovation begins. Of course that all costs money, and without having signed a single rental agreement. We have so much confidence in the fact that we are creating something beautiful with The Lobby. Ultimately, we strive for high quality, just like the Dreamhouse, which is now home to Schaap en Citroen and Cos. That is a national monument next to The Lobby, which we also redeveloped together with KAAN.”

“With The Lobby we are creating something for the next hundred years, something that perfectly matches our objectives and the City House. A building that fits seamlessly into the area. We consider The Lobby as a meeting place for the area, with a real lobby function."

The steel palisade of the Crystal House.
Placement of the windows in The Lobby.

Where in the process are you now in the development of The Lobby?

“The Lobby is almost ready and Van Waning is expected to complete it in July. Currently they are working on the paving, with the contractor replacing the heavy granite stones in consultation with the Municipality of Rotterdam. As soon as this is finished, they will remove the construction fences and fences there.”

“We then have to put together the puzzle with the tenants of the building. Negotiations are currently underway with several parties and proposals are being exchanged. We have chosen not to place the inner walls yet, so that the tenants are free in the layout of their units. Later we will look at where the tenants can best land in the complex. Once the puzzle has been put together, we will install the interior walls and the shops can be delivered.”

How long until The Lobby can open its doors?

“The shops require quite a long installation period. As soon as we have placed the inner walls - the building will be delivered hull - the tenants still have to install their interior and technical installations. Taking this into account, The Lobby is expected to open its doors in the second quarter of next year.”

What are the challenges in a project like The Lobby?

“In the beginning, the coordination between architect and contractor is a challenge. Fortunately, we work with Van Waning, old hands in the trade with years of expertise. They thoroughly checked all drawings and discovered differences between the construction drawings of Pieters Bouwtechniek and the drawings of KAAN Architecten. Then a lot of time and energy is spent on making sure everything is correct. Nowadays every company has its own specialty; that sometimes makes it difficult to arrive at a good end product. That is why good cooperation is essential. Fortunately, we work with reliable parties who know what they are doing and actively contribute ideas."

“In addition, KAAN is known for their fine detailing, which sometimes poses a challenge in the implementation. A lot is customization and redrawing. An example is the use of natural materials in the building, to which both Manhave and KAAN attach great value. The frames are made of anodized blank aluminum, which can last up to 100 years without discolouring. We also wanted the canopies, both on the roof pavilion and on the ground floor, to be made of anodized aluminum. At first this did not seem possible, so we came up with an alternative solution with a plate that was sprayed in the colour of aluminum. Finally, thanks to Vincent Panhuysen, we found a company that could deliver what we initially wanted. The result is a kind of core plate on which an anodized plate is later placed, which blends beautifully with the building. Such adjustments entail considerable costs, but we still opt for them because it fits better with our long-term vision.”

“At The Lobby we have also had to deal with rising building prices. Although prices have dropped slightly recently, especially for wood, materials that use a lot of energy or pollutants are still more expensive.”

How are Lumière's plans going?

“We are currently busy submitting the environmental permits and starting the zoning plan procedure. In order to still use the old coordination arrangement, we will ensure that we have submitted everything well before 1 January."

“As part of this, we are finalizing the EIA (environmental impact assessment). This report identifies the environmental impact of a plan such as Lumière before a decision is made."

A toast to the unveiling of the model during PROVADA 2022.

Is there anything else you look forward to?

“It is great to see how The Lobby is taking shape and to realize the final interpretation with various parties. I am also looking forward to working on the roof pavilion in the autumn. The upper roof will be covered with sedum, while the lower roof will be an active, green roof with lots of plants. We have had a nice planting plan drawn up for this."

“In addition, I look forward to the completion of the Lumière application, because that is another race to the finish line. There are still agreements that we have to conclude with the Municipality of Rotterdam.”

Render of the roof of The Lobby.

“Another interesting news is that we are working on the activation of the roof of City House. The pavilion will be enlarged and there will be a restaurant with a talented chef. We are currently thinking of catering category one, which means that the catering facility will be open until 11 p.m.."

"Every resident of the City House already enjoys a beautiful private balcony or terrace, but this roof will be a nice addition to their living enjoyment. Of course, this inspiring place will also be accessible to the public."

“In order to give the roof of City House sufficient load-bearing capacity and to transform it into a green roof, it will first have to be made heavier by means of hollow-core slab floors. Subsequently, the roof must be properly insulated so that the vegetation can be installed. The idea now is to build the pavilion completely prefab in wood. We have found a Belgian company that specializes in prefab wooden constructions. A Dutch carpentry factory will then provide the finishing touch and place it on the roof. Wood is lighter, more durable and you can build it a lot faster, which means we reduce construction time and costs."

“Finally, we are exploring how we can redevelop Westewagenstraat. Previously, this area consisted of an ensemble of three buildings. Our plan is to bring back the ensemble by rebuilding our building with the same shape, height and appearance. We are aiming for a residential building with space for catering and shops on the ground floor.”

Thank you for your time, Edwin!

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