Consortium, led by Round Hill Capital, receives green light for first phase of construction of an eco-community of 6,000 homes in Utrecht

Utrecht, 10 March 2021 – Round Hill Capital, a leading real estate developer, investor and asset manager, recently signed the agreement with the municipality of Utrecht and other land owners to create a new city district within the Merwede Canal Zone.

By signing the agreement, they have committed to a long-term cooperation with each other and the neighbourhood. The plans will include a new community of 6,000 new homes, with over 3,000 affordable homes, and supporting amenities emerge in the Utrecht area.

The agreement is a significant milestone for the development, acquired by Round Hill Capital in 2018 as a joint project with real estate developers G&S Vastgoed and Boelens de Gruyter – and allows for design plans to proceed for the first phase of construction of 1,075 new highly sustainable homes.

The former industrial site is located between the avenues Koningin Wilhelminalaan and Beneluxlaan. The total site (240,000 sqm) allows for 6,000 residential units, offering space for more than 12,000 Utrecht residents to live and work in the district. Round Hill Capital will develop 1.075 residential units (45.000 m²).

The area has been designed for harmonious living in the middle of the city, and sustainability will be a key priority. On completion, the public area and landscape will be carpark-free, and will prioritise public transport, cycling and pedestrian access. Merwede will host a range of amenities, including restaurants, a sports hall, primary and secondary schools, as well as community halls, ensuring that it becomes a very attractive area for a large varied audience.

The rental and owner-occupied homes are located right beside the new park, Merwedepark, and along the Merwede Canal. Rental properties will be offered in the social, middle rent and free sector segment, and all homes have been designed to be both high-quality and highly sustainable.

Michael Bickford, Founder and CEO at Round Hill Capital, said:
“We’re delighted to reach such a significant milestone in our plans to create a new urban renewal project in Utrecht. Round Hill Capital has a well-established and successful track record investing in and operating residential housing across Europe – and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to address the demand for high-quality, affordable housing in the city.”

Over the past seven years, Round Hill has successfully established its residential investment and asset management platform in the Netherlands and has consistently acquired portfolios throughout this period, with its total number of units acquired over 16,000. Round Hill has acquired and managed more than 135,000 residential units across Europe.

The construction of Merwede will be split into two phases, so that the effects to the environment can be taken into account and so that necessary measures can be taken to reduce disruption. Construction for phase one is expected to begin in the first half of 2023.

Maarten de Gruyter, director of Boelens de Gruyter:
“We’re looking forward to undertake the next step in this project. For Utrecht as well as the Netherlands, but also for Europe, this will be a unique new city district. Besides, we contribute to the reduction of the large housing shortage.”

The cooperating parties for Merwede are: area developer AM/Synchroon, Bouwfonds Property Development (BPD), Greystar, G&S Vastgoed/ Boelens de Gruyter/ Round Hill Capital, Janssen de Jong ProjectOntwikkeling, Lingotto and the municipality of Utrecht.

Design team and advisors Merwede: BURA, Stad2, Goudappel Coffeng, OKRA Landscape Architects, Merosch, Impuls, Mark Rabbie urban concepts, Empaction and RebelGroup in collaboration with the Municipality of Utrecht and various architects.