Cor van Zadelhoff: ‘Twenty years ago, I foresaw the huge future potential of the Zuidas’

He regularly stops by at the Zuidas, soaking up the atmosphere. And long before Circl opened its doors he’d already been inside, driven by curiosity. Cor van Zadelhoff is 79…

He regularly stops by at the Zuidas, soaking up the atmosphere. And long before Circl opened its doors he’d already been inside, driven by curiosity. Cor van Zadelhoff is 79 years old and may have limited his working life to being a supervisory board member of the company that bears his name, he’s still busy following the trends in real estate. “Twenty years ago, I foresaw the huge future potential of the Zuidas.”

“This is also part of the Zuidas,” he says, spreading his arms invitingly towards the garden behind his stately office in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid. Van Zadelhoff doesn’t really believe in strictly delimited areas. “After all, it’s a very short distance from the Zuidas to the Amsterdamse Bos or the Vondelpark. And the Rembrandt Tower is just a stone’s throw away from the Amstel Station.”

The Zadelhoff Company participates in no less than three projects at the Zuidas: NoMA House, Gershwin Brothers and Hourglass. “We’re working together with the Maarsen Group. Twenty years ago, we were involved in the land exchange of the Popeye Gold Star grounds (the tennis club that was located here, E.H.). Back then, we made the deliberate decision to combine working and living in order to create a bit of a buzz in the area. Just like the Loetje restaurant at the ground floor of Gershwin Brothers does these days.”

Increasing demand

A day before the interview, Jones Lang LaSalle mentioned in the Zuidas Office Monitor that this area is in a very strong position. ‘The Zuidas benefits from the increasing demand for high-quality office buildings in the city’. Standard Life Investments claims that Amsterdam, partly due to the Zuidas, has the best office real estate market in Europe. Currently, there are five office blocks being built, with a total floor space of 60,000 m2. Plus, there are plans for a further 150,000 m2 of office space (new build property and renovations).

And then there is the biggest single-asset deal in Dutch history: in April 2017, the French property investment company Amundi bought the Atrium at the Zuidas for 500 million euros. As recently as 2012, the property changed hands for a mere 100 million euros.

Van Zadelhoff doesn’t want to comment on this deal –“that is up to my CEO, Maarten Feilzer” – as he himself is “only on the supervisory board”. The real estate agency he founded in 1968 became DTZ Zadelhoff in 1993 and merged with Cushman & Wakefield in 2015. After DTZ Zadelhoff took over Cushman & Wakefield in 2016, the prefix ‘DTZ’ was dropped and Cor van Zadelhoff was finally able to go full circle and call his company ‘Zadelhoff’ again.

Magnet

While Mr. van Zadelhoff prefers to leave comments on the current market developments to his CEO, he doesn’t mind giving his view on the Zuidas: “A magnet for the entire city. The Zuidas serves the top end of the real estate market but at the same time it can only meet a small part of the overall demand. For example, a large organization like ING Bank moved to Amsterdam Zuidoost, because there is more floor space available in that area. The same holds true for Deutsche Bank. And yet the Zuidas is a real magnet; even more remote areas such as Riekerpolder and Sloterdijk benefit from its reputation.”

“Over the years, the Zuidas gained enough substance to expand significantly. At first there was only the district court and the ABN AMRO headquarters. Look at the place now! And there is a lot more differentiation with companies like AkzoNobel and Cushman & Wakefield. It has become a very pleasant and vibrant part of town. My great hero is the Dutch architect and city planner H.P. Berlage. His ‘Plan Zuid’ is a prime example of a successful development project that combines living, working and relaxing. This combination is essential if you don’t want to create a ghost town like Houston or Dallas. Even in New York they changed course: now there’s a better mix of living and working, even in downtown Manhattan.”

Crowd-pullers

“The Zuidas is being developed in the spirit of Berlage’s ideals. That makes this area enjoyable and lively. And this mixture of working and living is very important. There is a lot of focus on the so-called ‘plinths’: businesses that attract people, like a book store or a restaurant. But all the commuter traffic is a disaster you really want to avoid. In my opinion, one should be able to walk or cycle to work. The Zuidas offers a nice living environment, with the Amsterdamse Bos and the Vondelpark within striking distance. The river Amstel is nearby and the bustling RAI area lies just around the corner.”

The lack of good residential property in the very top segment – essential to attract large companies and their CEOs to Amsterdam – really poses a problem, according to Van Zadelhoff. “It’s very hard to find and that will cause the square metre price for luxury apartments to rise from 10,000 to 20,000 euros. Mind you, I’m talking about Greater Amsterdam because such residential property doesn’t need to be located right at the Zuidas. At the same time, I think Amsterdam is a fantastic city. I love it. If only I could find enough room for my 25 Frisian horses I’d consider moving here.”

Irreplaceable

But Van Zadelhoff is still pretty active in Amsterdam, especially when it comes to investing in unique edifices. “Good real estate stays good real estate, so you don’t want to sell it. I’m looking for buildings that are irreplaceable because of their location or quality, such as the Stage Entertainment building at De Boelelaan and Aldo van Eyck’s Burgerweeshuis at the Amstelveenseweg.” The latter building is owned by Zadelhoff and Nijkerk. The development company BPD – formerly the Bouwfonds – will soon move into this building and use it as its regional headquarters for the north-western part of the Netherlands.

“By the way, just like AkzoNobel, the Bouwfonds has a very nice art collection. Yesterday, I went to Voorlinden (the museum in the town of Wassenaar owned by the entrepreneur and art collector Joop van Caldenborgh, E.H.), another wonderful project that adds a lot of value to the concept of living, working and relaxing. Museums are very important to create a nice, attractive living environment. The same holds true for the Zuidas; no wonder there are talks about opening a museum there.”

 

Cor van Zadelhoff in brief:

Studies Economics at University of Amsterdam

Establishes Zadelhoff Makelaars in 1968

Member of supervisory board Zadelhoff

Invests in unique property, e.g. the Volkskrant building, the Diamant Bourse building and the Renault building

Adviser on renovation work in museums such as the Stedelijk Museum and the Groote Museum (part of Artis Zoo)

 

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Season Flowers; more then just flowers

Maikel Mulder’s flower shop at Gustav Mahlerlaan 401-403, on the ground floor of the Amsterdam Symphony skyscraper, catches the eye. This sympathetic flower arranger operates a business – Season Flowers…

Season flowers op zuidas

Season Flowers at Zuidas

Maikel Mulder’s flower shop at Gustav Mahlerlaan 401-403, on the ground floor of the Amsterdam Symphony skyscraper, catches the eye. This sympathetic flower arranger operates a business – Season Flowers – that adds some real flourish to the area. It is full of colourful plants and bouquets and offers a welcome change to the sleek modern buildings at the Zuidas.

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‘When the job is done and the client is happy, that gives me a huge kick’

As a PA to expats and VIPs, Audrey Mezas offers practical guidance to people from all over the world who settle at or around the Zuidas. Her clients range from…

As a PA to expats and VIPs, Audrey Mezas offers practical guidance to people from all over the world who settle at or around the Zuidas. Her clients range from CEOs to musicians and from start-ups to Olympic athletes. Mezas’ agency, Expat in Amsterdam, helps them with anything they need. “When a request comes in I often don’t know who the actual client is. Not that it really matters as they all receive the same high-quality service.”

“As far as I know, I’m the only one in the Netherlands in this line of business”, Audrey Mezas explains. There are relocation advisors, but the real stress for many of her clients actually begins after being handed the keys to their new home. “Make a phone call over here and the standard message you get is “all our lines are busy at the moment.” Moreover, many websites still only offer information in Dutch only. That’s why I offer this high-end personal service, ‘Executive Lifestyle Management’, for both private and business customers.”

After mapping her client’s needs, Mezas starts looking for the specialists to take care of the various tasks, such as real estate agents, chauffeurs, builders, mortgage advisors, doctors and bodyguards. Over the years, she has built a network of 64 professionals. “Recently, I collaborated with a team of specialists on an assignment for an American company; within 7 weeks we managed to find a suitable location for them and helped with the necessary paperwork to buy the property”. While leaving specialized tasks to the qualified members of her team, Mezas is in charge of the entire process and acts as the ‘quality controller’: “I’m there when the real estate agent carries out the technical inspection and I’m also present when the keys to the property change hands.”

Saving time and money
The above is just one example of the service she offers as every client has unique requirements. Mezas helps CEOs who only spend 24 hours in the Netherlands to finalize a business take-over but she also assists Olympic athletes who want to buy a house and stay here for 5 years but who need to be able to focus on their training and their families. She won’t mention any names since confidentiality is key to her profession. She can draw from personal experience when it comes to living in a foreign country with a language you don’t speak and a culture you don’t know. Her father was a banker who was transferred to another country every two years.

“My mother, my younger brother and me followed my dad wherever he went: from Holland to Tahiti and Australia and from the Middle East to the United States. Every time we were facing a new culture with different rules. My mother was brilliant in finding out how it all worked’. To save other expats these troubles she started Expat in Amsterdam®in 2012. ‘With my help my clients save valuable time and money as I have the expertise and the contacts expats do not have.”

Respect for etiquette
Apart from all the differences between the 17 places she lived at in her youth, Mezas also saw a lot of similarities. “Wherever we were living, business people came around to our house and deals were negotiated during a dinner party or a poolside barbecue. And the same principle applies here in Amsterdam: deals are finalized over breakfast, lunch or dinner. ‘So I need to go to the gym a lot”, she smiles.

Her parents taught her the importance of etiquette and this still helps her to this very day. “You always need to respect the way things work in a different culture, especially being a business woman. Information on unwritten rules in other cultures I often deduct from The New York Times and the The Financial Times: they are full of stories on business life in virtually every country. Sometimes I call my dad to ask him about a culture I don’t know. That is if I there is time to call him because it does happen that I need to act on very short notice.”

Raising the bar
No matter how difficult a request or how quickly it needs to be done, Mezas will always try to find a solution. “I don’t like saying ‘no’. If the assignment is really impossible I’ll accept that but it hardly ever is. One day, a client wanted to build a music studio so I decided to call Armin van Buuren’s office. I spoke to his right hand who referred me to the person who constructed their studio. That’s the way I operate; if people ask me something, they expect me to do it perfectly.”

Mezas believes that knowledge is power, therefore she always uses the best experts in their field. “I’m a connector, I want to bring people together. My experts are very professional but above all they are very fine people and I trust them completely. I have no choice because this job never stops. Normally, I work from 8 till 8 but when a project is running my client can contact me 24/7.”

And this doesn’t bother her at all. “I’ve never been so happy. I know I’m made for this and I feel privileged to have found my niche. The best part of this job is people giving you their trust. When a request comes in I don’t always know who the actual client is. Not that it really matters as everyone receives the same high-quality service. When the job is done and the client is happy, I feel a sense of relief that really gives me a huge kick! At the same time I have to keep raising the bar for myself: when I’ve managed to find a house for a client really quickly, the next one will have heard about and will demand the same service.”

Growing with global allure
Audrey Mezas enjoys the fact that her work is mainly centered around the Zuidas and in Amsterdam-Zuid. “Some of my clients are located as far away as Wageningen, but 90 percent of the expats live in this area. And that’s great because this is my home turf. “Zuid” is booming and things change quickly here. That Expat in Amsterdam®, that’s me: an urban kameleon. I love Amsterdam and I’m proud of this city and the Netherlands. It is wonderful to see it developing but I do feel it’s important to do it with global allure. That’s my style; I sell expertise with attention to detail and focus on quality. You need that if you want to achieve something. My dream is to offer this service on a large scale but always with personal attention.”

 

In 2012, Audrey-Lynn Mezas started Expat in Amsterdam, an agency offering PA services to expats, executives and VIPs. Her clients include professional athletes, bankers, CEOs, start-up companies and musicians – some only staying here for 24 hours, others spending 5 years or more in the Dutch capital.

www.expatinamsterdam.com

 

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Circl, sustainable club house for the neighbourhood

In September, Circl – the pavilion located in front of the ABN AMRO building – opened its doors. This ultra-sustainable edifice is now ready to facilitate special encounters between employees…

Circl

In September, Circl – the pavilion located in front of the ABN AMRO building – opened its doors. This ultra-sustainable edifice is now ready to facilitate special encounters between employees and customers, educational institutions, companies, start-ups and local residents. Everyone is welcome to join in and start making a step to a more sustainable world.

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BeoSound Shape: design based on acoustics

When creating a great atmosphere at home, many different factors play a role. One important aspect is room acoustics and the sound coming from a good speaker system. Bang &…

When creating a great atmosphere at home, many different factors play a role. One important aspect is room acoustics and the sound coming from a good speaker system. Bang & Olufsen recently introduced the ultimate must-have for design and music lovers: the new wireless speaker system BeoSound Shape delivers an experience comparable to being at a live concert. And if that in itself isn’t enough, buyers can also customize the look and performance of their own Shape.

The name B&O speaks for itself. The brand’s high-end audio and video products have been immensely popular, ever since Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen established their company in the Danish town of Struer in 1925. People all over the world praise their superior sound and image quality, as well as the user-friendliness of B&O products.

At Hegeman’s Bang & Olufsen showrooms in Amstelveen and Bussum, one enters a world full of state-of-the-art audio and video technology that’s pleasing to the eyes and ears. Brothers Fred and Jaap Hegeman are at the helm of the family business that was founded in 1931. “We’re the third generation and the passion for B&O is simply in our blood; we inherited it from our father. In the early seventies, he was one of the first dealers of this exclusive Danish brand in the Netherlands.”

Read more in the new issue

 

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Get your perfect pump on… the Zuidas

They’ll make your legs look longer and leaner, they’ll make you walk more upright and, according to Juliette de Vries, they’ll even change the way you speak: that’s what good…

They’ll make your legs look longer and leaner, they’ll make you walk more upright and, according to Juliette de Vries, they’ll even change the way you speak: that’s what good pumps can do to a woman. But we all know the troubles: pangs of pain in the ball of your foot, toes that feel crammed and feet that are totally numb after a night out… O, perfect pump, where were you all this time?

Juliette de Vries (61) already had an impressive career in hospitality behind her when she started shoe brand Feraggio – with just one pump shoe in the whole product range. We meet up at Brasserie Paardenburg in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a stone’s throw away from her home and office. Expecting a woman click-clacking her way to us on high heels, we are very surprised when she comes walking in.

Feraggio is special

Juliette appears wearing a pair of white All Stars. White blouse, nice pair of jeans, razor-sharp look, gift of the gab. “Oh yeah, sneakers today. A good pump can empower a woman but that’s not always necessary. When I arrive somewhere, there’s a lot of woman entering the scene. And I hate heels that click-clack so loudly. Feraggio heels have a little rubber sole so you won’t hear them at all.” A silent heel, that’s just one of the many good points of the pump she launched well over a year ago.

Four years ago when Juliette said goodbye to her company Promotion Partners, an agency in flexible staffing and hostess services, she desperately needed a rest and more free time. She swore to never start her own company again.

Feraggio damespump

“Well, I was wrong,” she says drily. “The point is: whenever I start something, I’ll do it thoroughly and I like thinking big. Feraggio is not just a means for her to keep boredom at bay. It is a real company, backed by serious investment and with a large team working 24/7 to make it successful. The advantage of a ‘second tour of duty’ is that one doesn’t get too nervous when plan A fails. I love this pioneering phase but it will definitely be grandma’s last trick: I really underestimated the amount of work a business like this involves.”

Shoe designer Jan Jansen

Juliette spent many years searching for the perfect pair of pumps: elegant shoes with a nice heel she could walk on all day without feeling any pain. But she couldn’t find them. “So I thought: well, I’ll just have to make them myself then. A kind of Pippi Longstocking reflex: ‘I’ve never done this before, but I’m sure I’ll manage’. But I’m not a fashionista and I’d never been inside a factory, let alone that I knew anything about production or retail. I went to the best leather fair in Italy but I couldn’t even distinguish goatskin from pigskin leather. Only the word vitello rang a bell… because of vitello tonnato, haha!”

“I studied numerous designs to try to find the perfect shoe and then I had a lot of samples made. After a few weeks Jan Jansen, Holland’s most famous shoe designer, called and asked if perhaps I could use his expert opinion. That was magnificent because this man knows everything about shoes and their manufacturing techniques. Together we went through every tiny detail of my design. After two long years we were finally ready to present the perfect pump: the Feraggio!”

Why is Feraggio special?

The key question is: what makes the Feraggio pump, with its 365 euro price tag, so special? “Our pumps are fitted with a soft insole with memory foam. Pain in the foot is caused by pressure on the ball of the foot, blocking the blood circulation. The memory foam springs back into position and makes the blood flow again, allowing you to walk and stand much longer without any pain. There is only one model, in suede, in a timeless design and in two different heel heights: 3 and 4 inches.”

‘You’re sold once you realize how gorgeous and comfortable these shoes are’

“These shoes are always available and never go on sale. The heel has a non-slip surface and the tip of the outsole is fitted with a piece of iron. All these aspects together we call heelability. Anyone can wear these pumps and because of the clever design they are comfortable for all types of feet. Sizes range from EU size 35 to 42 (US: 4 to 9, UK: 3 to 8), including all half sizes.”

During the production and manufacturing process Juliette had to fight a lot of conventions. “I had certain things in mind and then people simply said: ‘That’s impossible. Welcome to the crazy world of shoes, but this is how we do it’. And then I replied: ‘Listen: my team was not trained in the shoe business, we’re going to do it differently!” And so we did.

Men like Feraggio

‘It’s extraordinary that 35% of the online orders are placed by men’

The name Feraggio was coined by Juliette’s former business partner, Patricia Schagen. “It doesn’t mean anything. We were looking for an international name that sounded nice and referred to luxury and Italian design. With Feraggio I focus on the international market, mainly the US – the market in affordable luxury is very big there and they have a real dresses-and-skirts culture. And the Middle East and England are very important as well, but these days we ship Feraggios to all corners of the world. It’s pretty extraordinary that 35% of the online orders are placed by men. They understand our product: this model was here 100 years ago and it will still be here in a 100 years’ time.”

“Most people usually start with a pair of black shoes and then buy other colours later. You’re sold once you realize how gorgeous and comfortable they are. Feraggio pumps easily combine with casual wear, a party dress or business attire. A pair of pumps in scarlet red or lemon yellow under a formal workplace outfit, that’s what makes life a bit more fun! The original idea was to start with only 4 colours. Well, that plan failed – our customers can now choose from 24 different colours.”

Feraggio shoe box

Not only the shoe but also the shoe box excels in usability and great design. It has a pull-out drawer and a window for a picture of its content. The boxes are big enough for men’s shoes and are fitted with a non-slip surface on the outside, enabling her customers to build a wonderful shoe cabinet. Because of the immense demand Juliette now also sells shoe boxes. Yes, that’s right: just the box, without any shoes in them – an idea that can only originate from the practical brain of a woman. A woman thinking out of the box.

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Feraggio pumps are online available and in all PAUW shops.

The warehouse at Amstelkade 17 in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am till noon.

 

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