Financia l framework

Infrastructure investments (rail, motorway, bus station) are left out of the calculations for the plan, and are seen as a central and/or local government responsibility (possibly with private involvement), largely independent from the Zuidas property development. If the operations of private actors are omitted, then the costs are essentially those of preparing the land for development (654 million guilders), plus the above-average investment in creating and maintaining open spaces and natural elements (531 million guilders). Incomes are essentially the land rents. Rents are in turn calculated on the basis of an average of 440 guilders/m2 rent for office spaces, and a 3250 guilders/m2 sale price for housing. Both amounts belong to the very top section of the Amsterdam and Dutch markets. The fundamental assumption is that the Zuidas could absorb 30 000 m2 of that top office segment per year. With these assumptions a slightly positive balance of 73 million guilders over 20 years can be achieved: 1190 billion of costs and 1425 billion of income, unevenly spread over time (Bestuurlijk Overleg Zuidas, 1996b, pp. 49-51

It is, however, acknowledged that the assumption of 30 000 m2 offices per year in the top market segment is optimistic. This figure depends on the Zuidas being the only top location in the country. Historically, the absorption has been around 15 000 m2 per year. Also, implementation of the plan as envisaged requires extra investment in all categories of infrastructure. This has yet to be secured, which explains the importance of convincing central government, in particular, of the worth of the plan. However, the vast land holdings of the city of Amsterdam (the actor assuming most of the risks) provide some crucial flexibility in dealing with delayed incomes.

The financial framework for achieving environmental quality has been better detailed after the consultation phase. The required extra investment in open spaces and natural elements (partly due to compensation for disappearing features) has been quantified, with special attention given to the need to preserve the quality of the public spaces throughout the very


Total floor area



Public functions (shops, culture, leisure, etc.)

Surface area Area ownership

37.5 ha

Mostly municipality of Amsterdam, but several long-term land leaseholders (in addition, infrastructure providers could possibly exploit air rights)

863 700 m2 (offices and housing) 648 000 m2 (total) 215 700 m2 (1438 units total) 6500 m2 (in the first step)

Research and development 7250 m2 (in the first step)

Costs (land development costs, 1190 million guilders (to be recovered through excluding main infrastructure) land rents)

long development period. Two innovative instruments will be used to finance them: a 'quality' and a 'green' fund will be started, fed by special development fees.

Finally, an overview of the main structural data of the Zuidas is given in Table 6.4.

The Zuidas represents a different kind of development process. Not only does the location differ from railway station areas in central cities, but it is also still in an early stage of development. Against this background, four observations are particularly relevant. The first has to do with the actors involved.

A rich but fragmented picture characterizes the actors' landscape of the Zuidas development. Dynamic realities are present, but a common vision and a cooperative working relationship are only very recently being built. This last is, needless to say, an absolute precondition for any of the ambitious plans to be realized. The Zuidas is a new initiative. Many of the mistakes of other projects could thus be avoided. It has been essential to recognize the relevant actors (partners) and promote early contacts, with the objective of creating a cooperative working atmosphere and a joint approach to development. The organizational structure is innovative in several ways. An administrative platform ensures communication across local government levels and sectors. The executive group of civil servants making the plans is led by an external consultant. A Zuidas coalition, in which all the relevant interests are represented, regularly discusses progress. Possibly the most crucial challenge for this initiative, led as it is by the local authority and the property market, is to develop through increased interaction a better understanding of the issues posed by transport operators and infrastructure providers.

A second observation deals with the node-place concept, again starting with the node element in the concept. Amsterdam Zuid station is in many respects very well placed in both

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