Adding dwellings in an inexpensive price category to the plan

There are several arguments in favour of including more dwellings in the plan. In the current proposal, dwellings are only situated in those parts of the building complex (the two towers on top of the office block) where they do not have a direct view on the public areas. By situating dwellings high up in the air, they do not contribute to the safety of the area. Arguments to realise more dwellings in the building complex will especially be brought in by the parties Dutch railways and the municipality in the negotiations, because they are mostly concerned with the quality of the public areas. It could be worthwhile for the safety of the area to situate dwellings in the lower part of the complex, where they are nearer to the flow of passengers.

The municipality will probably introduce another argument to realise more dwellings of a different type, because they want to attract other target groups to this area of the city, for example students. This argument can be motivated by the fact that there is a large demand for student housing in Utrecht, especially in a luxury segment. Young people are generally attracted to urban living and like to be easily accessible by public transportation. Students are not such a burden to the parking capacity of the locations as office employees or residents of more expensive types of dwellings are.

The geometrical model will be changed to include small studios situated right above the passenger terminal (Fig. 9.1). The floor plan of the dwellings is such that they are oriented towards the roof above the railway tracks. This roof is meant to function as a park, a public area. The access to the dwellings is through a gallery that can be seen from the passenger terminal.

Not only the geometrical model will be changed, also the input of the numerical model will be changed, in accordance with the geometrical model. The minimum values of the exogenous variables that say something about the number of dwellings of the studio type, will be changed from zero to sixty. The minimum amount of sixty studio apartments has been chosen because a certain critical mass is necessary of each dwelling type.

The most relevant outcomes of this new solution are shown in Table 9.1. The new outcomes show that it is possible to add seventy dwellings of the studio type to the plan, as long as more offices are also realised. A shift of the number of dwellings of the two types of apartments should also take place. The proposed spatial changes in the new outcomes can take place because of

Figure 9.1 The position of the dwellings in the building complex

a reduction of the size of the skylights above the passenger terminal (4 200 m2 instead of 6300m2). It could also be realised by an enlargement of the total gross surface area of the real estate, or by a combination of both. The addition of offices and dwellings demands for more parking spaces.

The combination of adding offices and dwellings makes it possible to get a higher gross return than in the basic model. The net present value of the revenues is much higher in this solution, because not only the amount of square metres of offices that can be rented out has increased, but some of the rental prices have been raised as well. Namely for offices (€ 178/m2 instead of € 153/m2), and for apartments and lofts (€ 864 and € 1182 instead of € 773 and € 1091). The enlargement of office space and the increase of the number of dwellings cause a rise in investment costs. As the investment costs will not rise as much as the expected revenues, however, the financial results of the project will increase considerably. The higher expected revenues are mainly under influence of the increase of rental prices in this solution. The increase of rental prices in combination with an increase of offices and dwellings explains the new gross return of 7.5%. The gross return is determined by the rental incomes in the first year divided by the investment costs minus the investment costs of the dwellings that will be sold.

To summarise, the comment that initially was made, 'to include more dwellings in the functional programme demands a financial sacrifice', is proved to be incorrect in this case.

Table 9.1 Outcomes of adding inexpensive dwellings


Basic outcomes

New outcomes


Total surface area dwellings (m2)

21 000

24 000

3 000

Number of standard apartments





Number of studio apartments





Number of large apartments

41 -165




Number of lofts





Total surface offices (m2)

> 30 000


48 200

1 600

Number of parking places





Investment costs (C million)





Revenues (net present value, C million)




Gross return (%)





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