Danish consortium acquires part of Jernbanebyen to create one of the world’s healthiest urban villages

October 5, 2021

The southern section of Jernbanebyen in central Copenhagen has a new owner. The Baneby Consortium, comprising NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension, has bought the land from Freja Ejendomme. The ambition is to create a green, partly car-free environment that will also be one of the healthiest in the world.

ernbanebyen is the last major tranche in the urban renewal of southern and central Copenhagen. This 365,000-m2 development area will be transformed into a new urban district that will have two large parks and three football pitches. With its consistently green character, everyone with a connection to Jernbanebyen will live and work with nature up close in an otherwise partly car-free environment.

One owner, Freja Ejendomme, has just sold its part of Jernbanebyen – a plot of 78,000 m2 – to NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension, which will thus be involved in developing the area in the future.

“We have long had a dream that Jernbanebyen will become a very special district that sets new standards for preserving and transforming the architectural heritage of the area, for sustainable solutions at both the building and urban village level, and for establishing green, active communities. Having the Baneby Consortium as our new development partner ensures that this will not merely remain a dream but that we can further develop and realise the dream together – we share the same vision,” says Carsten Rasmussen, director at Freja Ejendomme.

Big ambitions
The newly established Baneby Consortium, owned equally by NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension, will now continue to work with Team Cobe’s project for transforming Jernbanebyen into a green, sustainable urban village, which won the architectural competition for this area in the spring.

Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, Director of Urban Development, NREP, says: “Team Cobe created a fantastic project, and we fully support the City of Copenhagen’s ambition to create an eco-friendly urban village with mixed housing. We will also use this unique opportunity to develop a new district and, together with Freja Ejendomme, Team Cobe and others, create a world-class sustainable urban village. This applies to the environment and climate and especially also health, and with our competencies within buildings and urban spaces, we have set ourselves the goal of creating one of the world’s healthiest urban villages,”

Optimised indoor climate and many recreational areas
The health ambitions will be achieved by such initiatives as reducing the development’s carbon footprint and using environmentally sound and energy-efficient building materials. The buildings will be optimised based on parameters such as indoor climate, acoustics and daylight, and the green spaces and recreational areas between the buildings will characterise life in the southern part of Jernbanebyen and contribute to the area’s biodiversity. Wastewater and food waste will be utilised locally, and there is an ambitious plan for sustainability certification at both the building and urban village levels. For example, the plan is for all residential properties to be certified as DGNB Gold and DGNB Heart.

“We see great prospects in developing Jernbanebyen, and the investment fits well with Novo Holdings’ strategic focus of investing in sustainable properties and infrastructure. We expect the investment to generate an attractive return and view this as an exciting opportunity to be part of long-term value creation in the Baneby Consortium and thereby contribute to the ambitious, healthy and green development of Copenhagen with its focus on diversity,” says Morten Beck Jørgensen, Managing Partner, Novo Holdings.

From vision to local plan
Freja Ejendomme, together with the other landowner, DSB Ejendomsudvikling, has been working for some time to translate Team Cobe’s project submission into a final comprehensive plan that will form the basis for the initial planning report and local plan for Jernbanebyen. Team Cobe, the City of Copenhagen, local committees, neighbours and other stakeholders continue to collaborate on the project in an open and inclusive process. NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension will now also be included in this work, in which ideas and requirements will be transformed into specific local plans.

“We are pleased to contribute to the development of a new large sustainable urban village for Copenhagen residents. It will be a diverse district, with a really good mix of social housing, housing for young and old people and owner-occupied housing, and we expect many new jobs. This is a long-term investment and a partnership that we expect will provide solid and stable returns for the members for many years to come,” says Jan Østergaard, Head of Unlisted Investments in Industriens Pension.

Freja Ejendomme and the Baneby Consortium will soon start talks with interested actors in Jernbanebyen – including social housing associations in particular.

Development will begin in the southern part of Jernbanebyen, and the agreement between the Baneby Consortium and Freja Ejendomme covers this element. A proposal for a local plan is expected in 2022 with final approval in 2023. Work is expected to begin in 2023 or 2024. Freja Ejendomme will continue to be a key part of the development project until a local plan for the 78,000-m2 site has been adopted.

The sale is subject to the European Commission approving the creation of the Baneby Consortium and an approved local plan.

About the Baneby Consortium
The Baneby Consortium is owned equally by NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension. The three parties see themselves as combining long-term Danish capital and strong competencies within planning and urban development. The Consortium will continue to work closely with Freja Ejendomme on the local plan, which will ensure the best and most value-creating plan for Jernbanebyen.

About Jernbanebyen
Jernbanebyen is located between Vasbygade, Enghavevej and Ingerslevsgade in Copenhagen and comprises a total area of about 555,000 m2, of which 175,000 m2 is designated for railway use and for the Metro CMC Control and Clearing Centre. DSB’s share of the urban development area is 287,000 m2, and Freja Ejendomme’s share is 78,000 m2. Freja Ejendomme’s share of the area has now been sold to NREP, Novo Holdings and Industriens Pension. The remaining part of the urban development area comprises Den Gule By (the Yellow District) and smaller areas owned by the City of Copenhagen, HOFOR A/S and Copenhagen Metro. Read more at www.jernbanebyen.dk (in Danish) and follow Jernbanebyen on Instagram.

About NREP
NREP A/S is a Nordic real estate company based in Copenhagen that develops, manages, invests and innovates to improve the built environment to benefit all stakeholders. NREP has a long-term approach to value creation across its primary segments: housing, logistics, nursing homes and offices. The company has more than 400 employees, and the property portfolio of more than 3 million m2 in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Poland has a total value exceeding DKK 75 billion. On average, NREP makes more than one investment per week and is a recognised pioneer in sustainability, customer focus and using new technology. See more at www.nrep.dk.

About Industriens Pension
Industriens Pension is one of Denmark’s largest occupational pension companies, with about 415,000 members. About 8,000 companies in industry and the food sector in Denmark contribute to the pension scheme. All profits go to the members. Total investments amount to DKK 224 billion. For more information, see www.industrienspension.dk.

About Freja Ejendomme
Freja Ejendomme develops and sells disused properties owned by the Danish government and Denmark’s administrative regions. The portfolio comprises very different properties in rural and urban areas throughout Denmark – including prisons, listed townhouses, hospitals, barracks and large development areas. Freja investigates and develops properties with a focus on finding new uses to benefit both future users and surrounding local communities. Freja Ejendomme A/S is a public limited company owned by the Danish government, to which the company pays dividends annually.

About Novo Holdings
Novo Holdings is a Danish limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is a holding company for the companies in the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, and is responsible for managing the Foundation’s assets. Novo Holdings is recognised as a world-leading life-science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of assets outside the life-science segment and invests in high-quality infrastructure, modern sustainable real estate and other projects. Novo Holdings’ investments generate funds for grants for scientific, social and humanitarian purposes. Read more at www.novoholdings.dk.