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Business Interactive Media sprl - Belgium Real Estate Showcase 2017, a special issue of Profacility Magazine - May - June - July 2017 - 35 Eur - Afgiftekantoor Leuven Mail - P304098


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MARKET TRENDS vacancy, take-up, investment & letting trends


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POST X - IRET Development Jaspers-Eyers Architects Stephane Beel Architecten

KEY PLAYERS Rendering courtesy of IMMOBEL, Assar Architects

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Not the time to rest on our laurels


he Belgian real estate market continues to function as it always does, riding the ups and downs and emerging with some positive signs. We have once again asked some leading players on the market to give us their analyses, and you will read in these pages that where Brussels is concerned (and it is by far the largest market), a relatively good 2016 in take-up terms is likely to be followed by a similar 2017. On top of this, we are advised that the city is a top investment location, in European terms. However, there is a substantial down-side in terms of attracting companies. For you will also read that Brussels is poorly prepared for the ‘Brexit feast’ and comes after cities including Amsterdam, in terms of the preferred new locations for those organisations which feel they have to leave London… Why is this, are our buildings not good enough? It turns out that the suitability of what we construct (and we construct some very fine buildings indeed), is not the issue. What is at stake is the availability of the right people to work in them. The real estate market will continue to measure itself on key performance indicators such as take-up and investment volumes, however. And where take-up is concerned, we learn that while the gross figure of some 430,000 m² for last year looks reasonably healthy, the real situation is far from being so rosy. The net take-up, the amount of space absorbed into occupancy and removed from the ‘available’ figure, is more or less zero. This is not due to a high level of speculative development (we all know there is hardly any), but to companies and organisations moving within Brussels. Out of one building and into another does nothing to help vacancy. This situation begs another question: Why are companies not coming from the outside into what is, after all, the capital of Europe? And why are our developers still not betting on the future of the city with speculative developments? There may be many reasons, and the selfimposed moratorium on such development of a few years ago is not to be criticised. One of the reasons for this lack of action, however, is certainly the length of time it takes to get permits… How many times have we heard our political leaders say: ‘We are going to speed up the administrative processes’? Probably about as many times as we have heard the reason for the delays: ‘Too many layers of decision-making, too many people who all have to give their agreement’. A realistic look at our markets, Brussels in particular, is therefore illuminating. We have some of the finest architects, internationally renowned developers, and a city with much to offer. And we are often told by players both national and international, that this is a ‘stable’ market. But is not the word ‘stable’ in danger of being replaced by ‘stagnant’?

Tim HARRUP Final editor Pro-Realestate Media


Belgium Real Estate Showcase 2017 A special issue of Profacility quarterly magazine published by

Business Interactive Media sprl Avenue Louise, 523 - 1050 Brussels Phone: +32 (0)2 669 77 65 Fax: + 32 (0)2 626 37 17 - Publication Director Didier VAN DEN EYNDE - EDITORIAL Final Editor Tim HARRUP - Journalists Patrick BARTHOLOMÉ, Eduard CODDÉ, Kim VERHEGGE Our grateful thanks to Alexander Kortleve, Xavier van Reeth & Michael Taelman from CBRE, Guibert de Crombrugghe & Adrien Meert from de Crombrugghe & Partners, Bernadette Bouckaert, Adrian Glatt from JLL, Philippe Monserez from AG Real Estate, Kristiaan Borret, Vincent Callebaut, Jeroen Govers from Colliers International Belgium, Professor Steven Van Garsse. All of them have brought us their expertise and knowledge of the real estate markets & property management.

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06 31 08 >> → 33 REAL ESTATE MARKET TRENDS & PROJECTS Brussels office market & office buildings projects I Flanders office markets I Investment market I Evaluation of Brexit impact I Logistics market trends I Smart logistics I

© Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Paris

Image – be Baumschlager Eberle – Styfhals & Partners Jaspers-Eyers Architects

The ‘Real Estate Showcase’ guide gives real estate professionals a global view and analysis of the Belgian real estate market. It sets out market trends in terms of leasing and investment for offices, retail, main housing schemes and logistics estates. Complementary to the online real estate projects library, the guide presents major town planning projects and main projects for office buildings. It highlights some best practices in real estate development, property and workplace management.

34 67 → 33 08 >> TOWN PLANNING & REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FOR SMART CITIES Real Estate Intelligence I PPP proves its worth I Tech campus in the centre of the Euregion I DBFM Schools of Tomorrow I Brussels city priority development projects I Tour & Taxis 3.0 I How (e)consumers reshape last mile delivery I The rise of cohousing I

ASSET, PROPERTY & WORKPLACE MANAGEMENT European ‘Occupier Cost Index’ benchmark I Emerging Trends in Occupier Services I Business Case ‘Stay or Leave?’ I Best design & build workplaces I BREEAM 2016 NC scheme I Healthcare & Taxation I

88 68 → 33 08 >> BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 5

© be Baumschlager Eberle – Styfhals & Partners – Jaspers-Eyers Architects

The new headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis will be future-proof. The building will be able to accommodate 4,500 workstations, 70% more than its former capacity, with an unchanged overall floor space of 95,000 m².


REAL ESTATE MARKET TRENDS & PROJECTS Choosing an existing building in which to install your activities is more than ever a multi-facetted decision requiring a good knowledge of the district in which the building is located, projects planned for this zone which could improve – or deteriorate – accessibility, along with the technical qualities of the building, especially in terms of energy and environmental performance. In this section, you will find a real estate barometer of the markets and a shop window of exemplary buildings.


Increasing numbers of large companies and public administrations are locating their headquarters in the centre of Brussels, close to a station. As an illustration of this real estate strategy, AXA Belgium is to leave its premises on the Brussels periphery this year and install a short distance from Luxembourg station. BNP Paribas Fortis has also decided to locate most of its personnel in a new iconic building opposite Central Station, at the very same spot which was the headquarters of ‘Générale de Banque’ and then of Fortis.




© Rendering courtesy of Befimmo, Jaspers-Eyers Architects

The North District is undergoing profound mutation. Major projects are appearing. Office buildings are going to be vacated by the Flemish institutions, including the Noord Building at the end of this year. At the beginning of 2018, the building will be demolished by its owner Befimmo, making way for a 60,000 m² complex of four towers with futuristic architecture named Quatuor. At the beginning of March, Befimmo announced that it had signed an agreement with Beobank involving the take-up of one tower, or 22,000 m², of the Quatuor project.

A market still undergoing major changes As it will be recalled, the 2015 Brussels office market recorded a decrease in take-up of 18% compared to the average of the previous 8 years (+/- 450,000 m²). These disappointing

results were among others due to reduced activity from the public sector, to few large

scale transactions and all of this within a general mood of wariness in view of the terrorist

threat. By contrast with 2015, however, 2016 took off again and saw take-up back to the level of 430,000 m². Does this signal that things are back to normal? Not entirely. A critical

analysis of the situation by Guibert de Crombrugghe and Adrien Meert of consultancy and expertise bureau De Crombrugghe & Partners.


he public sector weighed heavily on the market results of 2016. Major transactions were concluded: the City of Brussels to the Rue de la Vierge Noire (37,500 m² – Brucity project), the City of Brussels on behalf of the Police to the Rue de Ligne (30,500 m²), the SPF Health to Pachéco (30,000 m²), Brussels Prevention and Security to C de Ligne (9,600 m²). The Eurospean Institutions also played a part through several major take-up transactions: on the one hand, the Eurospean Commission to Mérode (12,800 m²) and to Black Pearl (11,000 m²), and on the other, the Eurospean Parliament to Belmont Court (11,000 m²). In total, take-up by the public sector in 2016 amounted to almost 140,000 m², or 33% of total take-up. A major improvement on 2015, when this figure was only 20%. By contrast, it is regrettable that take-up by the private sector continues to decrease. This can be explained by several factors, including the new way in which work is tending to be organised, giving employees the opportunity, among others, to work remotely. This results in certain companies and public services requiring a smaller number of work stations, and thus of restricted surface area. So does this increase in take-up signify a return to normal? No. The after-shocks of the 2007-8 real estate and financial crises are still being felt. Whatever the initial signs, we cannot yet talk of a real economic recovery within the current political uncertainty.

Substantial gaps between the Eurospean District and the Periphery

The Eurospean District over-performed (70% up compared to 2015), thanks to substantial

take-up transactions, particularly by the public sector (see above). By contrast, the Periphery (principally Flemish) suffered a clear down-turn compared to previous years (down 66% compared to 2015). This can be explained by certain substantial transactions having been signed and accounted for in the take-up of previous years. These include at Brussels airport (Deloitte with take-up at the beginning of this year of 35,000 m² in the Gateway building), KPMG (13,000 m²) and Microsoft (3,500 m²) in the PassPort building.

Status quo in terms of net take-up

While take-up in 2016 appears positive compared to the previous year, it remains the case that the net figure has not changed. Most transactions, indeed, involve companies already located in Brussels which move to another building, and therefore leave empty space behind them. This is how 430,000 m² came to be taken up, but almost as much space was vacated and left empty! The office stock has hardly changed at all. Vacancy levels have come down very slightly. The reasons for all this are that there is not enough dynamism in Brussels to attract new companies which could occupy the currently empty buildings or those currently under construction or planned.

Guibert de Crombrugghe, Managing Director MRICS, de Crombrugghe & Partners

Pipeline of new projects

Current office stock in the Brussels Capital Region is around 14.86 million square metres. Evolution of stock in 2016 compared to 2015 is minimal, because the new office constructions are in part compensated for by converting former office buildings into housing, rest homes and other uses. Almost 270,000 m² of offices are currently under construction and set to be delivered during the next 12 to 18 months.

Adrien Meert, Consultant, de Crombrugghe & Partners




And 700,000 m² of offices are at project stage (permits granted or still awaited), speculative and non-speculative projects taken together. Many new projects are located in the North District. This factor is partly a result of the Flemish institutions, which have put their stakes on this district. In time, the Flemish region wishes to bring all of its civil servants here, thus creating demand approaching 70,000 m². On top of this, the growing importance of railway stations for mobility management and for company accessibility is set to play a more important role in the future, in the development of this district.

In the Leopold District, this level has dropped just below 5%, and is even at around 3% in this zone for Grade A buildings. The gradual increase in the quality level of buildings in this district is the principal reason for the decrease in vacancy. For information, we believe that within all of the unoccupied space, less than 10% is under 5 years old, and 60% is over 15 years old., which confirms the interest of tenants in quality buildings. The vacancy level in the Airport District will remain high over coming years. This is due to companies occupying substantial surface areas relocating (Deloitte, KPMG, Microsoft, etc.) into new buildings (enabling VAT to be recovered).

“The increase in take-up (+18%) in 2016 compared to 2015 is to be seen in relative terms, as net take-up did not evolve.“ The Leopold District (and in general terms Brussels as a whole) is in need of quality buildings, which means those responding to elevated energy performance standards, well located and easily accessible by public transport. One of the reasons why the rehabilitation of office buildings in this district has not been quicker is the clear slowdown in growth of the Eurospean institutions, the same phenomenon for unified Eurospe, which has led to a drop in demand and a stagnation of rental levels. Everywhere, a major brake on renovation is the difficulty and length of time required to obtain the necessary permits and authorisations. Demand for quality buildings and new energy performance standards, along with flexibility in occupation conditions and building fit-out, may change the situation and force owners to carry out profound renovations of their buildings.

1.45 million m2 of unoccupied offices

(1) Partially based on supply, published on Inventimmo.


The level of rental vacancy is slightly down. It has dipped beneath the symbolic level of 10% (9.9% to be precise), which equates to a total of 1,450,000 m² of offices currently available1.

These relocation operations will increase the stock in this district with no certainty that the vacated space will find new takers. The same goes for the North District: major projects are under construction or at project stage. Substantial surface areas are going to be vacated by the Flemish institutions. It is quite likely that by 2020 there will be 500,000 m² of unoccupied offices in this district.

Rent negotiations

Overall, rents are tending to remain stable. They are substantially less volatile than in other cities such as Paris or London. Grade A buildings are mostly taken up by the public authorities. Transactions usually involve very large surface areas. In view of the size of these transactions, the rental levels obtained in these buildings do not reflect their quality. Rents rarely exceed 220 Euros/m²/year. By contrast, private players involved in smaller size transactions are helping to push rents upwards.


Dashboard of the Brussels office market in 2016: 14.860.000 m² KEY FIGURES Stock







Periphery (airport)

Periphery (excl. airport)

Total BCR 14.860.000









Percentage of total stock









Proportion of second hand buildings









Vacancy level**

























Total Under Construction










Projects (non-speculative)










Projects (speculative)










under construction (non-speculative) under construction (speculative)


Total projects










Take up (2015)










Average take up (2008-2015)
























Number of years to absorb take up Prime rents ( €/m2/year)



Strong and week points of the various districts of the Brussels Capital Region Advantageous fiscal regime

















Quality of stock









Presence of facilities

















Acces by public transport

Presence of green areas ++ Excellent * Prime rent : best rent obtained

+ Good

= Average

- Bad

-- Very bad

** Vacancy level : % of office space immediately available Sources: de Crombrugghe & Partners / Expertise News


© Rendering courtesy of IMMOBEL, Assar Architects

The Möbius project makes, with Quatuor, major buildings set to revitalise the North District. This project developed by Immobel has already convinced insurance company Allianz which, at the beginning of 2020, will leave its offices on the Place de Brouckère in the centre of Brussels, to move into one of the towers (26,600 m2). The other tower will offer 33,000 m2 of office space.

Grade B or C buildings are occupied by less demanding tenants, who are looking to make savings on their rental costs. These tenants negotiate, as soon as possible (break, end of contract) rent decreases, free periods or partial financing by the owner of reorganising the space. Rental levels in the Eurospean District are recording a slight increase, 275 Euros/m²/year, partly due to new projects coming to the market at prices above the benchmark, and partly due to demand for quality buildings from the public sector. However, this demand for quality buildings remains relatively limited with regard to the whole of the stock, and in view of the demand for office space in this district, building renovations have up to now shown a lack of dynamism. Buildings located at the Airport, or very close to it, benefit from prime rents reaching 175/m²/ year. Nevertheless, this zone (and its rental levels) constitutes a market of its own, totally independent of that of the periphery – especially Diegem. This zone is therefore not representative of the whole of the district. Mobius Towers 12 BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017

Capacity to absorb supply

Taking current rental vacancy into account along with speculative buildings under construction or at project phase, the total availability of 2,120,000 m² should be taken up within 4.7 years, with average take-up of 455,000 m² per year (the average of the past 8 years). But this is only true if it involves new occupants and not relocations within Brussels. The North District appears to have a much slower capacity to absorb the vacancy, given the multitude of speculative new projects. This district is expected to be the subject of relatively sustained demand for office space over the coming years, particularly from the Flemish authorities, but demand which will, in principle, remain much inferior to supply. The capacity to absorb available space varies greatly according to district. The Louise District for example has a relatively short absorption period (in number of years) because the conversion of office buildings into housing is flourishing here. The same goes for the Leopold District because it has a relatively limited capacity for expansion, except for the Rue de la Loi to which the ‘Plan Urbain Loi’ applies.



This master-plan schedules vertical densification through increasing the floor space to ground area ratio.

The outlook for 2017 and beyond

The performance in 2016 may be repeated this year thanks to other good transactions and take-up deals, particularly by the public services. The needs of the Eurospean institutions between now and 2020 are estimated to be a little under 150,000 m². The market has largely anticipated this demand as almost 170,000 m² of offices are under construction or at project phase in this district. Other major organisations have officially declared their intention to move: the American Embassy which has been looking at the former Axa headquarters on the Boulevard du Souverain (the ‘Royal Belge’ building), the Justice public service, the Inami, the Eurospean Union, the Brussels Capital Region, along with the Flemish authorities which, instead of being spread across their six current buildings, would like to bring all of their personnel together into three buildings: the Hendrik Consciencegebouw, the Herman Teirlinckgebouw on the site of Tour & Taxis, with occupation scheduled for this summer, and a third building yet to be designated. The vacancy level for the whole of the market risks (temporarily) crossing above the 10% mark due to buildings under construction which are scheduled for delivery by the end of this year.

Restrictive legislation in terms of energy performance

Additionally, Eurospean directive 2012/27/UE, transposed into law by the decree of 27/12/2016 and relating to energy audits by the large enterprises and energy audits for environmental permits, has been in force since its publication. It makes it compulsory for large enterprises² to carry out an audit every four years, with an obligation for heavy consumers to implement the action plan of the audit.

From January 1st 2018, these audits will become compulsory at the permit request stage. The entry into force of this decree is thus going to boost demand for buildings which respond to the latest norms in terms of energy performance.

Impact of Brexit

While the consequences of Brexit on the economy in general, and on the Brussels real estate market in particular, will have to be left shrouded in total uncertainty, it is legitimate to hope for a relocation of companies from London to Brussels, such as insurance company Lloyds, which has confirmed that it has opted for Brussels (rather than Luxembourg). Lloyds is planning to relocate around a hundred people to Brussels. Not enough, it is true, to create a new take-up record, but this move may be replicated by others in the City, particularly insurance and reinsurance companies. The consequences of Brexit are quite clearly very vague at the moment, and all the more so as the elections in France, Germany and Italy could strengthen or weaken the position of Brussels as the capital of the Eurospean Union. Nevertheless, despite its 55th place in the ranking of financial centres, Brussels has many advantages to offer: one and a half hours by train to London, Paris and Amsterdam, office and residential accommodation which is very affordable in comparison with other major Eurospean cities, conference facilities, good international schools and a rich cultural offering.

(2) Large enterprises = enterprises with over 250 employees and turnover above € 50 million OR for which the total of the annual balance sheet is above 43 million Euros.

Guibert de Crombrugghe Managing Director MRICS de Crombrugghe & Partners Adrien Meert, Consultant de Crombrugghe & Partners




In the real estate library you will find a description of the principal office buildings projects under construction in Brussels and its periphery. Each description lists the players involved in the project, the scheduled delivery date along with the brokers so far designated and named for marketing the office space.

Buro II – Archi + I for ATENOR

Banimmo – Assar Architects

The search engine integrated into the website homepage enables you to access the description of a project by typing in its name or the type of project (offices, retail, residential…).


Jaspers Eyers Architects


IMMOBEL - ASSAR Architects



Art & Build Architects for Cofinimmo






ASSAR Architects

Fedimmo – Jaspers-Eyers Architects


Conix RDBM




BROUCKERE TOWER > Accarain-Bouillot – Atelier d’Architecture de Genval

Jaspers Eyers Architects


ASSAR Architects

DDS& Partners






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Flemish office market in good health The Flemish office market has been performing well, with increasing annual take-up

volume since 2013. Activity in 2016 reached a new high of 260,000 m², marking a 13% increase in take-up volume year-over-year, and a 24% increase in terms of number of

transactions. The Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Hasselt markets recorded average to good activity, while Bruges, Kortrijk, and especially Mechelen noted exceptional letting and sales.


“ The Flemish office market has been performing well, with increasing annual take-up volume since 2013.“

he beginning of 2017, while down on volume, tallies better than average deal count. The positive performance of the office market reflects the positive evolution of the wider Flemish economy. Imports have increased at a growing rate in the last three quarters of 2016, in line with record movement of goods in the major sea ports. Business services maintain outlooks near medium-term highs, consumer confidence is moving upwards into new territory, and the VDAB recorded 25% more job offers in the last 12 months than the 12 months before, particularly for skilled labour. Challenges to the economy and office market, however, still exist. Restructurings by companies such as AXA, BNP Paribas Fortis, and ING mark the sustained long-term consolidation of the finance industry. Mobility continues to plague Antwerp and other large cities, and legal objections are causing delays in new projects such as Post X.

Investment not fully recovered

Office investment in Flanders, excluding the Brussels periphery, has not yet recovered to precrisis levels. Deal count remains down by about half, though the volume picture is less dramatic. Antwerp has been the most resilient market, followed by Ghent. A shortage of investmentgrade assets is largely to blame, as investor interest has been building alongside the new office projects. Recently, institutional investors have been weighing Antwerp and Ghent opportunities to diversify portfolios and find value in a market of tightening yields. In 2016, Antwerp was the focus of 97 million Euross of office investment. These deals include the Carlton building acquisition by the Federale Verzekeringen (4 million Euros), the Winvest acquisition of Oudaan 5 (25.5 million Euros),

Alexander Kortleve

and the Mifreco acquisition of Britselei 68 (2.92 million Euros). Cores Development acquired the eight-building Markland portfolio (65 million Euros), though many properties will be rede-veloped. Additionally, Ghelamco took over the City Link 2&3 project from Willemen. Elsewhere, Baloise Insurance acquired a threebuilding portfolio from IRET Development in Aalst for 60 million Euross in one of the largest acquisitions of the year in Flanders.

Alexander Kortleve Head of Office Agency Flanders CBRE




Antwerp embracing mobility The Antwerp office market is Belgium’s most important market outside of Brussels. It amounts to more than 2 million m² across its four submarkets: the Port, Singel,

Periphery, and City Centre. After a sustained focus on residential projects in the city, new office development is finally bearing fruit, rejuvenating an ageing stock.


ajor projects have sensibly considered issues of mobility. The Link, Kievit, and Post X projects are centered around major train hubs, feature limited parking and are expanding biking options. Post X, for example, will offer 1,000 parking spots for an anticipated workforce of 4,000, requiring 75% of employees to rely on public and alternative means of transport. Additionally, infrastructure projects such as the Noorderlijn tram and potential capping of the ring road will enhance Antwerp’s appeal in the medium to long term.

Increase in take-up

2016 was a good year for the Antwerp office market, as it finished with a very strong Q4: 58,000 m² over 78 deals is the highest quarterly figure for some time. In terms of both volume and deal count, Antwerp activity increased by roughly 25%, year-over-year, to total 110,000 m² from 200 letting and sales transactions. Corporates were quick to tie up space in new projects including the Fidea sale of Kievit Office 5 (6,000 m²), Cosco Group acquisition of IndiaNatie (1,790 m²), Regus (3,995 m²) and KPMG

High vacancy level in older office buildings

Given the demand for office space in Antwerp and the available supply, vacancy is around 11%, remaining high compared with the Ghent and Brussels markets. Notable voids include the Atlantic House (9,400 m²), Green Plaza (5,300 m²), and the Theater building (4,700 m²). New projects are letting well and are thus not expected to have a significant, lasting impact on vacancy. Additionally, strong population growth and an improving economy have seen housing prices increase substantially (4.6% 10-yr CAGR for apartments), supporting the trend of converting older or vacant offices to residences. The Antwerp Tower on De Keyserlei, Friendship building on Rijnkaai, Rijnpoort on Stijfselrui, WTC Business Center on Frankrijklei, and part of the Twin building on Rubenslei are several offices targeted for redevelopment. New development and strong leasing activity have put upward pressure on prime rents. The best new offices with very good access and visibility are believed to achieve rents of 150 Euros/m²/year.

“ After a sustained focus on residential projects in Antwerp city, new office developments are finally bearing fruit, rejuvenating an ageing stock.“ (3,631 m²) letting in Post X. As a result, the Singel district outperformed recent years by 35% in terms of volume and more than 50% in terms of transactions. The Periphery and City Centre performed in line with recent years, but the Port saw a notable increase in activity, recording six deals greater than 1,000 m² in 2016. As big deals were closed at the end of the year, activity moderated in Q1, but remained in line with recent years.


Major mobility issue

In terms of urban projects, the Noorderlijn will enhance accessibility between the city centre and ‘t Eilandje beginning in 2017 and finishing in summer 2019. Several roadways and squares will also be upgraded along the way such as Frankrijklei, Roosevelt Square, and Opera Square. The Antwerp and Flemish governments have also proposed ambitious plans to relieve congestion on major roads.

The Oosterweel tunnel, A102-R11 project, and capping of the ring road are being considered, though legal ambiguity, efficiency uncertainty, and a price tag upwards of 9 billion Euros does not provide an immediate solution to traffic that has increased 36% on the outer ring and 20% on the inner ring in the last three years.

Projects pipeline

The office development pipeline for the Antwerp market remains moderate to strong. In 2016 deliveries included the 9,500 m² Syntra X by IRET, Post X building 6 (13,000 m²) and the Nieuw Zuid Green Desk (4,000 m²). Post X building 5 (8,000 m²) and Kievit II (6,000 m²) are in the pipeline, while the Kievit Phase III tender (1,900 m² plot) has been awarded to De Persgroep.

In total, the Post X development will feature 130,000 m² over nine buildings. In the north, the stunning new Havenhuis (12,800 m² custombuild) now houses the Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen. The Link 2&3 will offer 27,000 m² of speculative space in 2017/18. In 2017, the India-Natie project will comprise of 2,800 m² of office space (Pai building).

Alexander Kortleve Head of Office Agency Flanders CBRE

In total, the Post X IRET development located in the south of Antwerp, facing the Ring, will feature 130,000 m² over 9 buildings. Post X building 6 (13,000 m²) and building 5

(8,000 m²) have been delivered in 2016. Two major take-up were registered last year

Post - IRET Development - Jaspers-Eyers Architects - Stéphane Beel architects

for Post X: Regus (3,995 m²) and KPMG (3,631 m²).


Ghent continues to develop Ghent has become the second most important office market in Flanders after Antwerp

and continues to show it is a unique market with stand-out characteristics such as world-class research and high tech clusters.


hough about 60% of the office market’s 1.5 million m² is found in the city centre in older office buildings and historical mansions, modern business parks constructed in out-of-town locations to the south of the city have managed to attract tenants from central sites. A series of new office developments in and around Ghent have proved to be very popular, and have done well in terms of absorption, such as Blue Towers (fully let in 2016) and the Quantum building (71% let). The redevelopment of the area around Sint-Pieters Station continues to be a priority for the city.

Average take-up but more deals


Several large-scale office schemes have been approved, and should increase the Ghent’s office stock by over 275,000 m² over the next 15 years.


In 2016 take-up volume totaled 44,300 m² over 112 transactions. Compared to recent history, the take-up volume was average, but deal count was up by about one third. Leasing activity is generally concentrated in newer developments located in the southern periphery of the city, taking advantage of new-builds, very good access and visibility, and themed office parks. Significant deals in 2016 include KU Leuven acquiring Adbel (3,450 m²) in the city centre, the BNP letting in the Quantum building (2,603 m²) the ICT Cegeka letting of Blue Towers Schelde

(2,100 m²), and Arcadis Belgium letting (1,687 m²) in Zuiderpoort. 2017 got off to an average start, with the Re-vive acquisition of Nieuwewandeling 62 (3,700 m²) as part of the WATT project a notable transaction..

High prime rents due to very low vacancy

Vacancy in Ghent is one of the lowest in Flanders, registering around 5.1%. The market was underdeveloped for a long time, and, as a result, quality new space is limited. The city is taking a proactive role to promote and foster new development to meet the demand for welllocated space. Partly as a result of office scarcity, rents are among the highest in Flanders. The best offices in good locations in newly built premises in the city centre can reach up to 155 Euros/m²/year. Those premises with very good location and accessibility in the south of Ghent are seeing prime rents at 150 Euros/m²/year, while in the periphery around Ghent prices are generally 10% to 30% cheaper.



Increasing office space

As a consequence of the low vacancy, good demand, and desire to build on Ghent’s port and clusters, the City of Ghent is determined to increase the amount of office space in the coming years. Several large-scale office schemes have been approved, and should increase the office stock by over 275,000 m² over the next 15 years.

The Tetris Business Park (60,000 m², out of which 7,200 m² is already let to Deloitte) is a concept comprised of flexible office-like facilities and laboratories ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 m². The Flemish Environment Agency occupies a building located here. The Take-Off Business Park (30,000 m²) is a master project consisting of various buildings. The entire development scheme totals some 500,000 m², offering a mix

“ Leasing activity is generally concentrated in newer developments located in the southern periphery of the city.“ • Sint-Pieters Station The Sint-Pieters station is the main railway station of the City of Ghent and plays a vital role in the accessibility within Flanders. A project has been designed in cooperation with the City of Ghent, the Flemish Region, the Belgian Railways (NMBS-SNCB), the Flemish public transport organisation (De Lijn), Infrabel and Eurosstation. The project comprises a total of around 75,000 m² of offices and is organized around three development zones. The Diamond Building is planned to house the ING local headquarters (17,000 m²) after more than a year delay due to residents’ protests and permit issues. Additionally, Electrabel has chosen MG City Station (4,000 m²) for its new offices. The masterplan for the station area also recognizes the potential for development of a residential scheme, retail, the renovation of the station building and the tracks, and underground parking. The project is considered very important to the city and has a proposed completion date of 2024. • The Loop The site the Loop is a large development zone located in the south of Ghent on the old ‘Expo’ grounds. The Loop site is one of the most accessible locations in Ghent, with the E40, E17 and R4 motorways in close proximity as well as a direct link to the Sint-Pieters Station. Several development schemes in the Loop are in the pipeline.

of leisure, retail, expo, residential and office space. In total, some 150,000 m² of office space and 150,000 m² of hybrid offices are being planned. The construction and marketing of the first office components are well underway. The nearby KBC Tower, completed in 2012, is a major landmark for the area. • Artevelde Next to the Ghelamco Arena football stadium (21,000 seats), the Artevelde project is a mixeduse area. The Blue Towers (28,500 m²) are modern, grade A facilities that have achieved very good absorption since their delivery, and are now fully let. • Tech Lane Ghent Tech Lane Ghent is the new name given to the public-private partnership of Science Park Ardoyen and Eiland Zwijnaarde involving such institutions as the University of Ghent, Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and the wider City of Ghent and others. This new brand encompasses science research as well as a logistics zone of which the first phase totals 20ha. Technology Park, inclusive of Ardoyen, totals 52ha, houses 60 research-oriented companies and employs 1,700 people plus 1,100 researchers. This area has a strong science and biotech focus and is an incubator for new companies in these fields.


• The Dampoort District The Dampoort is next to the Dampoort railway station, on the eastern side of Ghent. At present, this district is a highly dense traffic zone giving direct access to the Ghent harbour. The city has created an RUP for this area that includes mixed development and improved mobility for this important city gateway. One notable project delivered in the last 18 months is the Quantum Building (9,200m²). This seven-storey building has experienced good absorption and com-mands high rents.

• Forum The Forum is a new development zone located at the Burggranvenlaan bridge over the Scheldt. Targeted at service, high tech, and SMEs, it will feature 16,000 m² of office and business space over five buildings. 250 homes over 29,000 m² will also be built.

Alexander Kortleve Head of Office Agency Flanders CBRE

• Oude Dokken The ‘Oude Dokken’ is located to the northeast of Ghent, a short distance from the city centre. Old warehouse compounds are being redeveloped into lofts and smaller office space. Old warehouse compounds are being redeveloped into lofts and other office spaces, and 1,500 homes are planned along the canal.


The redevelopment of the area around Sint-Pieters Station remains a priority for Ghent city. The master plan includes the construction of 75,000 m² for offices. It also recognizes the potential for development of a residential scheme, retail, the renovation of the station building and the tracks, and underground parking.



Another record year in 2017 ? The investment market has been buoyant for the past couple of years. And JLL is

expecting more of the same based on the results from the first quarter of this year. While offices lead the way, they are not the only assets making the news... Forecast and analysis by Adrian Glatt, Head of Capital Markets at JLL


roperty investment activity in 2016 proved once again robust. We recorded five transactions above 150 million Euros with, as the top 3, the Médiacité shopping center in Liège sold to CBRE Global Investors for 255 million Euros, the Herman Teirlinck office project sold to Baloise for 215 million Euros, and the Ellipse building sold to Fubon Life Insurance for 215 million Euros. Compiling all transactions together the volume over the full year 2016 was 3.8 billion Euros, lower than the 4.4 billion Euros invested in 2015 but if the exceptional Celsius portfolio transaction is excluded from the 2015 volume, 2016 is an even better year. The breakdown by asset class has returned to a more classic situation of 50% of offices, 28% of retail, with hotels, industrial and retirement homes on 6% each. The first quarter of 2017 has seen a stronger dominance of offices which have contributed to 61% of the approximately 700 million Euros transacted; retail represents 13% and hotels becomes the third asset class at 11%. The liquidity of logistics assets is currently limited but portfolios are on the market.

All-time low yields

One of the key distinctive characteristics of 2016 and Q1 2017 was the yield compression to all-time lows. This was especially true for offices, and more specifically on core-transactions. The best example was the recent sale to Swiss Life REIM of the Neo Montoyer in the Eurospean district. The yield obtained was 4.25%, such a level is common for single tenant such as an administration or a Eurospean institution, with lease terms exceeding 10 years, but in this case it is a multi-tenant property with average lease term of 6 years. The same trend for long term yields has been observed, and there have been several transactions well below 4% in central locations. In Q1 2017, for example, the Brederode building of Befimmo was sold to CBRE GI acting on behalf of an Asian separate account. It is let long term to the law firm Linklaters and Interparking and has still around 10% vacancy. The yield was 3.69%, and the volume 122 million Euros.

We now believe that yields will stabilize but the impact of any significant interest rate increase or geopolitical turbulence has to be watched closely.

2017: the return of shopping centres

There are currently three large shopping centers for sale in Belgium, including Woluwe Shopping in Brussels, the best known in the country. Typically such high volume products (more than 200 million Euros each) are opportunities for international investors from Asia, the Middle East or the Americas. Taking this in perspective, offices would however continue to lead the investment market. Media sources announced that the Finance Tower, a property of Breevast totaling more than 150,000 m² and occupied by the Finance Federal administration, could be sold. If this happens, such a transaction would be the highest ever realized in Belgium with a volume of some 1 billion Euros. Wait and see… Adrian Glatt Head of Capital Markets BeLux JLL

“ The property investments breakdown by asset class has returned to a more classic situation of 50% of offices, 28% of retail, with hotels, industrial and retirement homes on 6% each. “



Evaluation of Brexit impact THINK OF THE REAL REAL ESTATE MARKET A conference given by Colliers International at the recent Mipim show in Cannes was

partially, in principal, on the subject of the impact of Brexit on the European real estate market. But the presenters, Walter Boettcher - UK Chief Economist, Director of research

and forecast - and Damian Harrington -Head of EMEA Research-, invited those present to see the much wider picture. It is within this same logic that the main Belgian market, Brussels, can be seen both in its own right and as part of the European whole.


he opening remarks were that the European markets look relatively stable, and that even if 2017 has got off to a slowish start in terms of investment, the signs are that the year may even match the excellent results of 2016. Colliers believes that there are extremely powerful long term trends, and that these are going to more than offset short term issues such as Brexit. There has already been a substantial drop in the value of the pound sterling, the presenters went on to say, and this probably indicates that the Brexit effect has already been factored in to the markets too. So although there will be some knee-jerk reaction when things actually start to happen, there is unlikely to be a major structural change. And in any case, the 15% drop in the pound is no more of a change than can be seen in most normal cycles, from time to time. 24 BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017

Doom and gloom

Looking at the wider European picture, despite all the doom and gloom, up to now, around 50% of the major European markets are performing better than last year, and 50% of them worse. Belgium is (just) on the down side. And in the UK, take-up increased in the six major cities outside of London in 2016, with London suffering slightly. Vacancy in most major European cities, including Brussels, is under 10%, which Colliers considers to be natural, and should allow for rises in rental levels. Moving on to the much bigger picture, and taking us outside of our ‘real estate’ silo, Colliers’ experts were able to point out what really matters, and what will impact the market. It is all about demographics, jobs and disposable income, the entire real estate market is subser-

Walter Boettcher

“ What really matters, and what will impact the market is all about demographics, jobs and disposable income, the entire real estate market is subservient to this.“

vient to this. As part of this element comes the attractiveness of places to live from different viewpoints: is housing affordable, is it a good place to live, is the cost of living reasonable…?

Outflow of jobs

And on top of all this, where the location decisions of companies are concerned, comes the most crucial factor: the requirement for the right talent to do the job. This is why Brexit will not produce the mass outflow of jobs – 230,000 has even been mentioned – because the other European cities imply do not have enough talent to fill these jobs, and the British employees will not necessarily want to move abroad. So Colliers believes that a realistic figure for the outflow (there will obviously be some), is around 10,000.

And, it goes without saying, if these jobs are not moving out of London (the only British city to be affected in any meaningful way), they are not moving into anywhere else. The Colliers experts even went as far as to say – and this goes contrary to what the politicians are always telling us – that companies are not looking for the place with the best transport links, but with the best available talent. And returning to Brexit, it will be this and the outcome of the talks in terms of the functioning of trade, which will have an impact on real estate markets.

Attractiveness of Belgium

Moving back to Brussels and Belgium, finally, there is good news and bad news. The good news, says Colliers, is that according to their own multi-criteria calculating model, Belgium comes 12th out of 30 in terms of the most attractive countries in which to invest. The bad news, however, comes in very stark terms, and makes us consider the repercussions of what has always been considered to be the fundamental reason for the stability of the Brussels office market – the presence of the European institutions: “Brussels is a European Union city which does not have a workforce suited to the modern economy”. And this economy (with its technology) itself is changing so fast… Food for thought indeed. Suddenly it appears that having a super-ecological building with a metro station underneath may not be the key to successful real estate after all. It’s not about the buildings so much as the availability of the right people to go into them. Tim HARRUP BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 25

JOIN US IN CONQUERING THE (INTER)NATIONAL REAL ESTATE MARKET FOR OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS UNIT, WE ARE LOOKING FOR AN ACCOUNT MANAGER REAL ESTATE. You know the (commercial) real estate market like the back of your hand. By engaging your own network, you will put SGS on the real estate map in Belgium and beyond. You can anticipate developments and see opportunities, and you know how to capitalise on them. You get a lot of energy from sales, as well as from innovation and business development.

ARE SALES AND NETWORKING ENGRAINED IN YOUR DNA? We are looking for a truly service-oriented colleague with plenty of experience and a significant network in the (commercial) real estate sector. Your activities here will include, among other things: • finding new clients at home and abroad; • selling and coordinating Technical and Environmental Due Diligence inspections; • offering existing inspections and certifications to owners of real estate; • setting up an European real estate positioning, with a vital focus on internal networking with our other offices. This position requires a creative and independent person. You don’t mind being on the road a lot. Travelling between the Netherlands and Belgium, but also regularly beyond these countries. In order to provide our clients with bespoke advice and recommendations, you must be able to converse with them in Dutch, English and French.

WHAT DO WE OFFER? An independent and very diverse position in a highly professional environment. You will work with intensely driven colleagues to further drive the growth and development of the Built Environment business unit. The ambitions are high, and we give it our all to realise them. Does this sound like the enterprising position for you? We look forward to hearing from you!

CONTACT Eef Heiremans Or call us at tel. +0031 (0)88 214 66 00



SGS Recruitmentadv RealEstate AM DEF.indd 1

26-04-17 14:29



Record take-up by virtue of large-scale warehouse transactions Demand for industrial & logistics space reached an all-time record in 2016, with the

sector rapidly moving towards larger and more technologically advanced warehouses. Multi-modality is highly sought after, and e-commerce is a strong driver for take-up,

requiring considerably more warehouse space compared to traditional brick & mortar retail activities. Market analysis and trendwatching by Xavier Van Reeth, Head of Industrial & Logistics at CBRE Belgium.

Carglass agreed terms on a 50,000 m² custom built distribution center in Bilzen along the Albertkanaal. Currently spread across four sites in Belgium, Carglass Distribution will centralise all its activities here. The new logistics warehouse should be ready in 2018. JostGroup has gained control over 300,000 m² of land on the Trilogiport site in Liège, by acquiring a majority stake in D.L. Trilogiport Belgium. D.L. Trilogiport will allow for the construction of 180,000 m² by 2021, of which a first logistics warehouse of 39,000 m² will come online by September 2017.

Demand rises for distribution logistics

Xavier Van Reeth


n the first quarter of 2017, industrial and logistics demand amounted to 260,383 m², in line with Q1 2016. Take-up in the Belgian industrial and logistics sector reached 679,893 m² in Q4 2016, bringing total take-up of 2016 to a record high of 1,691,101 m². The improving economic climate and the change in distribution logistics has led to an increase in demand, reflecting a 4th consecutive uplift in year-on-year activity by virtue of another series of large-scale warehouse transactions.

Large-scale transactions

Notable recent transactions include two transactions on the De Hulst industrial zone in Willebroek, with Decathlon leasing 39,385 m² and Nedcargo committing to 42,240 m². Montea acquired an additional warehouse here, in the form of the 14,000 m2 facility let to Metro Cash & Carry Belgium NV (Metro group).

E-commerce, consolidation and economies of scale are significant drivers of logistics market activity, as shorter delivery times and efficiency gains are propelling the distribution sector forward. Occupiers vie to acquire or lease new and larger facilities developed on a ‘design & build’ basis, well-equipped with the latest and most innovative inventory management infrastructure. XXL logistics warehouses (+40,000 m²) have experienced a significant increase in popularity due to the rise of e-commerce, offering solutions to online retailers looking to consolidate their warehouse operations. A range of factors is driving the remodeling of logistics networks, such as a growth in the number of product lines and order complexity, customer demand for quicker delivery times, and the need for flexibility to cope with demand volatility. Demand is increasingly focused on multimodality, with land and warehouses providing railway and especially canal connectivity and container handling proving to be extremely popular among 3PL actors. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 27



Sites such as De Hulst in Willebroek, Antwerp East Port in Grobbendonk and Trilogiport in Liège have proved to be very successful. Another recent trend is the more efficient use of land through vertical building solution. Efficient picking and quick-to-reach storage locations might be other reasons for a vertical solution. The consequences for the industrial real estate sector can be far reaching, as building requirements profoundly change and the rent and service cost charges of a vertically structured warehouse could be different from that of a standard warehouse.


For modern XL warehouses or city depots there is basically no current availability, explaining the rapid growth of the development-on-demand pipeline. Development at risk remains limited. At the end of Q1 2017, CBRE registers a vacancy rate of 5.08% for logistics warehouses. Voids in the Belgian logistics market are trending upwards as older stock is replaced by larger and newer distribution facilities.

“ Occupier demand is driven by Build-To-Suit projects.“ A number of second hand warehouses will return to the market in 2017, especially in between Antwerp and Brussels along the A12 and E19 highways.

Turnkey development

Plenty of developer owned land is still available, although the best large plots, providing multimodality, are quickly being absorbed. At this moment, 1,690,752 m² of land (down from over 2,000,000 m² a year earlier) is actively commercialised nearby Belgium’s seaports and along its main traffic axes. Especially in and around Brussels, demand for new space has been strong to allow for speedier and more efficient city distribution. New land has been made available in Machelen and Vilvoorde, largely as a result of conversion and sanitation of old industrial sites. Renault-Vilvoorde for example will provide for 80,000 m² in potential warehouses. (see further the Top 35 list of notable turnkey projects of more than 10,000 m2).


Rental values

Headline rents for prime locations remain stable. Rents are particularly strong in areas where land is scarce or in high demand such as dense urban areas or sites with exceptional multimodality. In other locations, rents have softened as investors with voids or developers with land reserves eagerly await leasing opportunities. Lower rents are easily compensated by value appreciation through yield compression on exit.

Market in Europe remains very tight

Logistics occupier demand in Europe continues to grow, and in a number of countries 2016 or Q1 2017 proved to be a record. Occupier demand is driven by Build-To-Suit projects, however, which are growing in scale. This is partly driven by economic and retail sales growth, partly by a structural shift to e-commerce and partly by the investment market. Vacancy gradually rose in Q4 2016, but has ticked back in Q1, underlining the current strength of occupier demand. Overall, the logistics market in Europe remains very tight, despite the fact that speculative construction is on the rise. In general, rents are under upward pressure but in markets with a strong development activity (mostly in northern continental Europe) much of that pressure is relieved by new construction which can be offered at competitive rents. In some markets a split between Build-ToSuit development and existing properties has started to become visible. Industrial investment has remained solid and Q1 figures are again showing a very strong quarter. Prime logistics yields have ticked down again, but room for further compression seems limited. An increasing number of market voices is expressing worry about logistics price levels and many specialist investors have turned to development rather than buying at current prices. The capital base for prime logistics is growing in volume but narrowing in scope; it mainly concerns ‘big capital’ from institutional and sovereign wealth funds. Private Equity has meanwhile shifted focus to light industrial with the first big portfolio acquired.


“ Plots of land providing multi-modality are quickly being absorbed.“

Top 35 list of notable turnkey projects > 10,000 m2. 1 Antwerp East Port 2 Antwerp Express Port 3 Antwerp South Logistics 4 Ardenne Logistics 5 Beringen (Machiels) 6 Boom (Goodman) 7 Bornem Logistics 8 De Hulst 9 De Wille 10 Eiland Zwijnaarde 11 Vilvoorde (Renault) 12 Genk (Cordeel) 13 Herentals (Heylen) 14 Hulsdonk (Bolckmans) 15 Katoen Natie Gent 16 Krekelenberg II 17 Kruishoutem Logistics 18 LangerBrugge Projects

29,200 m² 49,262 m² 36,000 m² 100,000 m² 75,000 m² 28,000 m² 22,086 m² 50,000 m² 20,000 m² 36,000 m² 80,000 m² 64,000 m² 35,000 m² 12,000 m² 45,000 m² 46,000 m² 25,000 m² 18,000 m²

19 Liegistics 20 Loghidden City 21 Magna Park La Louvière 22 Mechelen (ODTH) 23 Opglabbeek Logistics 24 Puurs Logistics 25 Rumst Logistics 26 Tessenderlo (Cordeel) 27 Tessenderlo (Prologis) 28 The Bridge Logistics 29 Tongeren (Prologis) 30 Trilogiport (WDP) 30 Trilogis 32 WDP Heppignies 33 WDP Meerhout 34 WDPort of Ghent 35 Wilrijk (Essers)

10,000 m² 100,000 m² 185,000 m² 18,000 m² 35,000 m² 26,100 m² 20,164 m² 56,000 m² 70,000 m² 10,000 m² 18,000 m² 20,000 m² 34,300 m² 86,640 m² 23,000 m² 160,000 m² 48,000 m² © CBRE

We expect more yield compression for light industrials as a result. The sale of PE logistics portfolios will be a big driver for investment volumes in the coming six months.

Xavier Van Reeth Head of Industrial & Logistics CBRE




Environmentally friendly logistics At the 2017 edition of the internationally renowned MIPIM Real Estate event in the French

City of Cannes, there was no shortage of Belgian projects that made it into spotlight.

One of these was the ‘NIKE European Logistics Campus’ in Laakdal, which won the MIPIM Award in de category ‘Best Industrial & Logistics Development’.


Photo courtesy of Jaspers-Eyers Architects

he ‘NIKE European Logistics Campus’ numbers five distribution centres, the latest one of which officially opened its doors at the end of May 2016. It is one of the multinational’s 58 distribution centres across the globe, which all together process 1 billion products a year (footwear, sportswear and equipment). The decision to go with the Belgian Laakdal was among others inspired by its central location. Within a 500 km radius, the distribution centre caters for no less than 60 % of the European spending power. During 2016, a staggering 300 million NIKE products left Laakdal for 38 European and Asian markets. 3000 people are employed here.

No less than 99 % of the freight traffic into NIKE European Logistics Campus in Laakdal arrives via the adjoining Albertkanaal.

The site run on 100 % renewable energy and is self-sufficient in terms of its own energy requirements. That has been achieved by combining five different sources: wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal power, hydroelectricity and biomass.

Ambitious sustainability goals

Sustainable innovation, whether in matters of product development or the construction of its distribution centres, has always been central to the NIKE ethos. Bert Moris, Facility Manager Nike European Logistics Campus (ELC): “Our objective is to double our turnover and halve our carbon footprint by 2025! These ambitious sustainability targets go far beyond limiting our CO2 emissions”. Circular economy is a goal, a ‘closed-loop’ manufacturing process that uses fewer raw materials to produce products with a longer useful life.

“On the other hand, the ELC in Laakdal will allow us to achieve our mission of bringing the entire NIKE product range to consumers faster than ever, no matter where they are based, whether they’re looking for a single pair of sports shoes or a consignment of 10,000”. No less than 99 % of the freight traffic into the ELC in Laakdal arrives via the adjoining Albertkanaal, which reduces the number of truck transports by 14,000 a year. Electric trucks to move trailers to the loading/unloading quays are currently being tested. More than 95 % of all waste is recycled on site. Shoe soles, for instance, are given a second lease of life as a soft surface for playgrounds. All the paths our staff use have been covered with this type of surface. We even have a flock of sheep grazing the NIKE site and much has been done in the way of biodiversity. In the space of one year, more than 1000 new people were hired. Staff with a daily commute of 15 km or more are entitled to an electric bike.

The design by Jaspers-Eyers Architects makes maximum use of the incoming daylight. Bert Moris explains : “Aside from the windows, we opted for a unique system of ‘light catchers’ on the roofs, which diffuse the natural light inside the buildings via a labyrinth of glass fibres. In addition, we opted for 100 % LED lighting,

The designof the building makes maximum use of the incoming daylight.

Within a 500 km radius, NIKE European Logistics Campus caters for no less than 60 % of the European spending power. On-site energy

The construction of the ELC in Laakdal started in 2013 with the assembly of the warehouse racks. The actual building itself was constructed as a shell around them. It took one and a half times the amount of steel it took to build the Eiffel Tower! Yet, this method, where the warehouse racks also form the supporting structure, allowed us to dispense with the need to build concrete columns and beams, which meant a tremendous saving on materials and generated far less waste. The entire site is run on 100 % renewable energy and is self-sufficient in terms of its own energy requirements. That has been achieved by combining five different sources: wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal power, hydroelectricity and biomass. The wind turbines have a capacity that could supply 5,000 families with power, our solar park is the size of three soccer pitches.

controlled by means of dimmers and presence sensors, to reduce energy consumption to a minimum and ensure an efficient operating environment.” The cranes that put the pallets in the racks and take them out again are the fastest ones on the market and are fitted with a recovery system that converts braking power into electric power. Right from the design stage, the need to encourage biodiversity was taken into account. Sheep tend to the grass around the buildings in a natural manner. Beehives around the site will also enhance biodiversity on and well beyond the NIKE site. This year, NIKE will start building a new sixth logistics building, specifically for the distribution of clothing. Commissioning is scheduled for mid-2019. Eduard CODDÉ


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Embracing the ‘New Way of Investing’ Colliers International is building up its capital markets business in Europe, with around 180 persons in Europe at the moment, and plans to increase to over 300 in the next few

years. As part of this, they have appointed John van Paassen to head this department

in Belgium. Coming from a broker background, he was keen to be part of a new way

of thinking within the investment business. His background was with two of the largest

Anglo-Saxon based brokers. His views on the firm and the business show just why Colliers is emerging so rapidly.


olliers’ ambitions have been clear to see for some time. Taking over AOS Studley and IDB added a certain amount of critical mass, and raised the profile of the company to that of a substantial player. Other high profile personnel have also been brought in by Colliers over recent times. Moving from a charming but not very ‘businesslike’ building (a small chateau in the Brussels periphery) to one of the most iconic buildings of the capital, is another demonstration that the company has arrived. Theses ambitions represented one of the factors which convinced John van Paassen to make the move to Colliers, and the other was that the firm intends to stand apart through a better quality and understanding of the processes, which is of great importance to institutional investors in particular.

Evolving investment concepts

The DNA is very different here – very much New Way of Working – John van Paassen has no office, no desk, no fixed phone, just a locker… And this type of DNA, he believes, is going to be increasingly seen in the investment world. Within Colliers, Belgium appears to be leading the field in this respect. When investors are looking to place their money in real estate, they are looking for sustainable investments beyond just having, for an example, an energy-efficient building. They are looking for long term value. Quite simply, is it a good long term investment? The new thinking is more that owners and investors are no longer just renting out space, but renting out work solutions. It is not a question of just transacting bricks and mortar, but solutions. This does not mean, of course, that the crucial factors within an operation are abandoned, but that they are seen to be supporting the real reason for the deal – they are not the real reason in themselves.

This is what Colliers recognises, that the core of the deal, the most important aspect, is that tenants are happy, and able to work in the space they have, in a way that enables them to maintain their revenue streams in their own businesses. This is a totally new approach, and Colliers are embracing the concept entirely.

Not just figures

Investors are looking not just at ‘What’ they are investing in, but at ‘Why’. They have a completely new set of criteria than just five or ten years ago. It is no longer enough just to show them the numbers on the tenancy schedule – although these are still important of course – but to explain why the building offers best solutions for its tenants, the investor’s clients. Colliers Belgium is no longer working merely in the traditional manner when advising investors, therefore, but is “predominantly focussed on” the occupier client’s needs and business. In this respect, the Belgian operation is embracing the changing business model. There is the right mix of talents and experience in the firm, all of the services which are important within the whole context of a real estate transaction, all focused on meeting the needs of the client.

Colliers International Belgium 166, Chaussée de la Hulpe BE-1170 Brussels TEL 0032 2 775 95 11 John van Paassen, Head of Capital Markets

Vincent Callebaut’s vision on how to further develop Tours & Taxis site towards a mixed-use eco-neighborhood


TOWN PLANNING & REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FOR SMART CITIES By 2020, it is expected that 70% of the population in Europe will be living in cities. This constant growth requires new thinking, in order to bring greenery back into the city, decrease carbon missions, produce renewable energy, ensure a social and functional mix within districts, encourage ‘soft’ and multi-modal mobility and the use of public transport… The challenges are numerous for cities which wish to be worthy of the name ‘Smart Cities’ in the future.



© Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Paris

For this, it is necessary to think out of the Box. And this is exactly what Architect Vincent Callebaut did upon request from EXTENSA for the future metamorphosis and development of the 40 ha Tour & Taxis site, rehabilitating the historical ‘Gare Maritime’ for 40.000 m2 of offices, meeting and exhibition factilities and developing 85.000 m2 of dwellings across three green residential towers, each 100 meters high and surrounded by vertical forests.



Bringing best practice to Belgium Professional association UPSI works to further the cause of intelligent real estate

planning and execution in Belgium. And they look beyond the borders to find best practice… Secretary General Olivier Carrette and new President Serge Fautré, explain. You have chosen to have ‘HafenCity’ in Hamburg as the topic for your keynote seminar at Realty this year. Why? Olivier Carrette: Because each year we try and find a good example of major developments in countries which are similar to Belgium. Last year it was urban development in Paris, and this year it is Professor Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, the CEO of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, which is the largest inner city development project in Europe at the moment, who is coming to talk to us. This is a development of no less than 2.4 million square metres.

There is a university, shops and trading, residential, offices, hotels… it really shows how political will, together with the vision of the private sector, when they join their ambitions. Public & private sector have to work hand in hand to develop ambitious, future proof real estate projects. If private developers wish to sell good products quickly to consumers at the right price, they have to understand how society works, how it acts. How do people, live, work, move about, spend their money, spend their leisure time? This is why we believe that HafenCity really is an example of best practice and of what can be done.

In what way is HafenCity a model to be followed by other cities, other projects?

Staying in Belgium, do you believe there are any projects which are following this example?

Serge Fautré

Serge Fautré: It is a very fine example of a successful partnership between the public and private sectors. They realised that this cooperation was necessary for redeveloping a site that had been left abandoned. It was a brownfield site along the Elbe, and thanks to this intelligent and visionary collaboration they were able to redevelop this enormous site in a real mixed use city district, a city within a city.


Olivier Carrette

Olivier Carrette: Not of such a size, clearly, but in the same spirit we can point to the Atenor project along the canal in Anderlecht – City Dox – a new sustainable mixed urban development (equipment, residential, integrated business services, shops, school, service flats, rest home). Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp (Triple Living) is a gigantic development of around 20 hectares, and also with offices, residential, a crèche, a senior housing

project along the Schelde. So there are indeed examples in Belgium of intelligent urban redevelopment projects, and which look at brownfield sites rather than Greenfield. Both public and private sectors need to provide the right investment opportunity in a swift and efficient regulatory framework.

How is UPSI involved in all this? Olivier Carrette: UPSI works as a facilitator between our members and the various political bodies. We explain to the authorities that we are there to help, and we try to make things go more smoothly, to boost the economy. We are living in a world which is evolving very rapidly, and it is our job to show the authorities what is being done elsewhere. But we are not, of course, directly involved in the projects of our members. We just ask to be consulted so that we can add our knowledge to the discussions.

What are the major strategic priorities of UPSI this year? Serge Fautré: One of our major priorities is regulatory stability, from the points of view of permits, fiscal regulations, ground planning, new legislation… this stability issue is a real subject. Rules and regulations are established but investors fear a relative lack of stability. Real estate developers and investors are very wary with regard to these regulatory changes. This is also due to the complexity of the regulations in Belgium. Tim HARRUP

© Photo Maxim Schulz, courtesy of UPSI

HafenCity in Hamburg is a development of no less than 2.4 million m2. It is very fine example of a successful partnership between the public and private sectors.



Charleroi city - the renewal has begun Among the many cities within Belgium which have town planning projects, none has been more visible than Charleroi and its ‘lower town’. Belgian developer Atenor, itself very active in creating new city districts, spoke to Georgios Maillis, Bouwmeester (Chief

Architect) of Charleroi City, to find out how the city sees its future. Outline of the interview published in Atenor’s Divercity e-magazine.


eorgios Maillis started by saying that there is a whole series of projects which are designed to redevelop the urban infrastructure. In the lower town, this involves the business district, the River Towers project and especially the railway station district. He points out that the station represents the link between Marcinelle Villette and the city centre. Moving to Charleroi upper town, Georgios Maillis explains that there are major institutional projects, including the football stadium, the extension to the law courts and the Charleroi Creative District project.

He hopes that with a whole series of projects, the city will be able to attract citizens back, citizens who had tended to forget a bit that Charleroi existed.

The objective of all these town planning projects is to improve the city for its inhabitants through both private and public projects, and by making better use of the public areas. The public areas, he goes on to say, represent the link between all of the other projects. It is therefore within this context that the Bouwmeester and his team are involved.

Moving away from the Atenor interview, and taking a closer look at the book [CHARLEROI METROPOLE , Un schéma stratégique 20152025 ] published by of the Bouwmeester’s team and the website, this shows a number of important projects. These include the interconnecting of three infrastructures: the Palais des Expositions, a new congress centre and the renovated Fine Arts Palace. It will also be remembered that at Mipim, Charleroi made a major presentation at which it said that it has around twenty ongoing projects, all of which will be at some stage of advancement by the first half of next year. This will be an opportunity to publish a more in depth presentation and status of Charleroi’s major projects in the next edition of the Belgium Real Estate Showcase. And on the thorny subject of mobility, the city acknowledges that this is not yet at the required level, and so the authorities are focusing on public transport, with an extension to the metro, and better pedestrian facilities.

Bringing residents back

One of the objectives of the work Georgios Maillis is trying to achieve is to avoid making great architectural statements, to avoid creating buildings which are simply iconic. According to him buildings which fit into the existing urban fabric are required. In an amusing aside, Georgios Maillis said that some years ago, the (then) Mayor of Antwerp visited Charleroi, and said this: “You are lucky, you have a reputation – it’s a bad reputation but at least it’s there: use it!” Georgios Maillis says he is rather surprised at the reputation of Charleroi as a ‘sooty’ city. It may be rather dark, but it can also be astonishing! He and the city authorities are working on changing this reputation of being a ‘black city’ through the various projects, and including the new Charleroi ‘C’ logo with a crown on top.

Georgios Maillis


Talking of the city’s most famous recent achievement, Rive Gauche, Georgios Maillis was obviously involved in this major development project. He also points out that when the centre opened with great fanfare, this was not the celebration of the opening of a shopping centre, but of a city reborn, a new Charleroi.

Major projects


Listen to Georgios Maillis live interview via The book [CHARLEROI METROPOLE , Un schéma stratégique 2015-2025 ] can be downloaded via



Limburg PPP proves its worth A ‘Public-Private Partnership’ was the driving force behind the creation, development

and success of ‘be-MINE’, a large-scale mixed-use project to convert a disused and

abandoned industrial heritage site in the Limburg City of Beringen. Internationally, ‘be-MINE’ did not go unnoticed either, for it managed to win the much coveted MIPIM award in Cannes this year.


he ‘Beringen Coal Mine’ produced coal from 1922 until 1989. It was one of the seven mines in the Kempen coal-mining area. August 2009 saw the launch of ‘be-MINE’, a large-scale reconversion project with an investment value of more than 150 million Euros and respect for the site’s industrial legacy of buildings and machinery, acclaimed to be the best-preserved mining site in the country.

© photo courtesy Van Roey Group – photograph Jonathan Vaes

From among the 215 entries, ‘be-MINE’ was selected as ‘Best Urban Regeneration Project 2017’ at the annual global MIPIM real estate competition in Cannes. This particular category awards projects that contribute significantly to the development of a city and lead to social and economic progress.

Urban regeneration project

‘be-MINE’ is the result of the conversion of 32 hectares of mining land, including 100,000 m² of existing floor surface, into a tourist and recreational project, combined with residential, business and retail units. The ‘Beringen Mine PPP’ came about via the nv be-MINE, founded in 2009, though not on the basis of the traditional DBFM formula, but rather with urban generation/ area development in mind. The public partners were the City of Beringen, the Province of Limburg and the Flemish Government, the private partners LRM, Developers DMI Real Estate and Van Roey Real Estate. The stately old mining buildings are now home to an interactive museum that brings the work above and below ground of yesteryear back to life.

‘be-MINE’ is the result of the conversion of 32 hectares of mining land, including 100,000 m² of existing floor surface, into a tourist and recreational project, combined with residential, business and retail units.

“Europe has created clarity in the manner in which PPP projects must be accounted for in the budget. PPP partners now have legal certainty.“ The project also includes a residential area with more than 500 residential units, the residential care facility ‘Sporenpark’ - the brainchild of Senior Living Group - and ‘Be-MINE Boulevard’, 12 shops with a total retail area of 15,000 m². The retail part was designed by Jaspers Eyers Architects in collaboration with regulated real estate company Retail Estates, which specialises in peripheral retail property. On 14 October 2014, it won the prize for ‘best retail centre in the country’ at the Shopping Awards organised by the Belgian Luxembourg Council of Retail and Shopping Centers (BLSC).

Stunning sporting facilities

One of the two slag heaps was turned into a hiking area, the other one into an adventure mountain with a challenging play landscape and an MTB trail on the mountainside. At the end of 2016, the play landscape was named ‘best landscape project of the year’ in a worldwide competition organised by the Landscape Architects Network on account of its original, fun-filled way to experience a piece of industrial heritage. The former power plant now accommodates one of the largest and most state-of-the-art climbing centres in the country (Alpamayo). ‘Sportoase be-MINE’, a PPP within a PPP as it were, because it is the result of a Public-Private Partnership between the City of Beringen and the Company ‘Sportoase’, offers even more leisure facilities and does operate on the basis of the traditional DBFM methodology. The swimming pool is located next to the majestic cooling towers and comprises an outdoor pool with sunbathing area and playground, a 25-metre pool, a teaching pool, a toddler and infant pool and a recreational pool with slides and 4 saunas. Nothing short of spectacular is ‘TODI’, the first indoor snorkelling and diving centre in Europe, where users can safely enjoy an underwater adventure, complete with tropical freshwater fish and a true-to-life decor, in optimal conditions.

Steven Van Garsse

Restored confidence and new dynamics

In the past, we’ve seen plenty of projects launched in the form of a ‘Public Private Partnership’, often out of sheer necessity because of a lack of funds to get them off the ground. Quite often, this has resulted in resentment and dissatisfaction. Mistrust between public and private partners because of complex financial constructions rarely makes for a sound basis for any project. “The many projects completed today are testimony to the fact that it works.” comments Prof. Dr Steven Van Garsse, University of Antwerp & Hasselt & Antwerp Management School, who has been familiar with the matter for years, including as Manager of the Flemish PPP Knowledge Centre. “The feeling of success is infectious and creates fresh enthusiasm, an enthusiasm that is inherent to the joint accomplishment of a project”. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 41



While PPP was synonymous with construction projects run on the basis of the DBFM (Design, Build, Finance & Maint) methodology for years, we now also see many urban renovation projects and development areas that opt for PPP. “That doesn’t only apply to the Limburg beMINE project but also to ‘De Krook’ in Ghent, for instance,” Steven Van Garsse adds. After a difficult period, where PPPs were viewed far too critically, there is a new ‘hunger’ for this type of collaboration these days, because it gets things done. “A significant factor in that turning point is the fact that Europe created clarity in the manner in which PPP projects must be accounted for in the budget and that the partners now have legal certainty”, clarifies Prof. Dr Steven Van Garsse. “Take the new wave of school-building for instance, where 300 million Euros are currently being invested, although, initially, an amount of 200 million Euros had been allocated.

© photo courtesy Van Roey Group – photograph Dries Luyten

© photo courtesy Jaspers-Eyers Architects

be-MINE Boulevard’,12 shops with a total retail area of 15,000 m². It won the prize for ‘best retail centre in the country’ at the Shopping Awards organised by the Belgian Luxembourg Council of Retail and Shopping Centers

‘Sportoase be-MINE’, a PPP within a PPP offers even leisure facilities. Its swimming pool is located next to the majestic cooling towers and comprises an outdoor pool with sunbathing area


The success of the ‘Schools of Tomorrow’ (Scholen van Morgen) programme is the best proof that PPPs make sense and work, and give PPPs a fresh momentum”. In our country, we have some 10 to 15 years’ experience of PPPs to call on. Over time, involvement of the various stakeholders, often recurrent in various projects, has intensified. “These companies/partners have organised themselves accordingly and take a deliberate decision to enter into a PPP.” analyses Steven Van Garsse. “In view of the sheer scale of projects such as these, many disciplines are needed, which allows the various stakeholders to prove themselves as partners. Aside from being intellectually challenging, the award of a PPP project also provides (job) security over a longer period”. Eduard CODDÉ



DBFM Schools of Tomorrow EUROPE’S LARGEST PPP IN SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE Scholen van Morgen (‘Schools of Tomorrow’) is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Flemish government, AG Real Estate and BNP Paribas Fortis. As a catch-up operation on school infrastructure, DBFM Scholen van Morgen is undertaking 182 school building projects.


ith a total investment value of 1.5 billion euro, Schools of Tomorrow is deemed the largest public-private partnership for social infrastructure in Europe. The specific facts and figures behind the infrastructure might help concretise the order of magnitude of the programme: 1,238 classrooms, 111 lunchrooms, 328 playgrounds, 100 sports halls, … These numbers add up to a total surface of 710,000 square metres of new school infrastructure, to the benefit of 133,000 students.

The programme covers the design, construction, financing and 30-year maintenance of the school buildings. Over this 30 year period the school board pays an availability fee. At the end of this period, the infrastructure is transferred free of charge to the school board. Appointed as delegated developer, AG Real Estate is responsible for the operational completion of the programme. The delegated developer organises the entire design and construction process and maintenance during 30 years for each individual school. A dedicated team of 60 experts possesses the knowledge and knowhow necessary for the programme to succeed.

Highly positive status

The Schools of Tomorrow programme is delivering on its promises. Everywhere in Flanders new school infrastructure is being built, inaugurated and used. This is the status of the programme’s realisations at mid-May this year: • 130 schools have been delivered and are now in use • 30 projects are being built at this moment • 22 projects are being designed, prepared or procured (17 of which were recently added to the portfolio thanks to the reduction of the VAT on school-building)

Own identity for each school

Within the standardized approach typical of a large-scale public-private partnership, each school project is individually designed according to the specific surrounding area and specific requirements of the school boards. The importance of architectural value manifests itself as well in the importance accorded to sustainability. From the earliest phase, AG Real Estate focuses on structures and processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. Where possible, audacious choices for new energy sources or new technologies were made, such as geothermal heating. In other projects, existing infrastructure with historical value is respectfully restored, resulting in interesting interplays between old and new. Additionally, in 87% of the projects the completed infrastructure can serve as joint-use facilities for the community and thus contribute to the neighbourhood’s social fabric.

For almost five years, Philippe Monserez has successfully headed AG Real Estate COPiD, the lead developer of the Schools of Tomorrow programme. He still retains today the strategic leadership and remains the representative of AG Real Estate in relation to the Flemish government and other stakeholders for the Schools of Tomorrow PPP.

Quality education requires contemporary and inspiring school infrastructure. AG Real Estate proves that these infrastructural needs can be fulfilled on a large scale and at a record speed with a well-implemented DBFMformula.

Philippe Monserez Chief Design & Build Officer AG Real Estate




Tech campus in the centre of the Euregion ´Corda Campus´ is the metamorphosis of the Philips site in Hasselt, where the curtain

fell in 2002 after almost a quarter century of innovation and production. The provincial development company POM Limburg, the city of Hasselt and the Limburg-based investment company LRM decided to bring the Philips site back to life. Today LRM is the principal shareholder of Corda Campus.


urrently 50,000m² are already in use, and this will quickly grow to 70,000 m². Where earlier it was a site with a single factory (Philips Hasselt), there are now over 200 different companies working in one and the same environment. Around 100 ´startups´ are expanding there into ´scale-ups´. Corda Campus has now become the professional home for 3000 employees whose average age is under 30. It’s a magnet for companies of very different kinds, so that the number of professionals will continue to rise steadily to an expected 5000!

Campus atmosphere

In addition to renovating existing buildings, new ones are also being erected. ´Corda 1´, designed by the Antwerp architectural firm ELD, offers 14,000m² of surface area and stands out with its sloping green roof. The layout offers many units with smaller surface areas because there was, and is, high demand for precisely that. One also finds there the ´Corda INCubator´, where around 100 ´start-ups´ are busy becoming ´scale-ups´. There are important links with Silicon Valley and New York: for some, this is the ideal springboard to the technology Mecca. The campus offers an auditorium, the modern and elegant ´Corda Bar´ which is accessible for external visitors and the hip ´Corda Plaza´ meeting zone with self-service restaurant, soup and sandwich bar, a hairdresser, break-out zone for parties, physical therapist and a KBC bank office.

“The campus feeling results in a unique atmosphere and working environment, entirely different from what the real estate sector typically provides for offices, while each company has the necessary space for the development of its own identity” emphasises Kristof Vanvelk, Operations Manager Corda Campus. “The users of the entire Corda Campus site enjoy general and technical services in the broadest sense of the term, with a centralised helpdesk that deals with workplace management and parking policy, mobility on and around the site, communication with the occupants… Those who work here might possibly consider changing employer, but never the working environment”. High praise for the Corda Campus!

New developments

More new construction projects that are in the pipeline include Corda 2 (2018) and Corda 3 (2019). This fall will see the commissioning of halls A and B, former production halls with 6m-high ceilings and each offering a surface area of 3000m². For this Procos, company specialised in office design & build, developed an extremely creative ´loft atmosphere´ with modular office entities (35m² of floor space, 2 levels) which can be joined together to match the needs of the tenants. In front of the fully renovated halls (energyoptimised, solar panels) comes a steel and glass entrance hall, so that the Corda Campus receives an attractive front for those visiting the site from the ´Hasselt Kiewit´ train station. Eduard CODDE

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Brussels city priority development projects Half way through his mandate, Brussels Bouwmeester (Master Architect) Kristiaan Borret has given an update on the progress of some of the major priority projects of the Brussels Capital Region.

building, the ‘Maison des Médias’, which will be on the Boulevard Reyers itself. Five firms are being selected at the very end of April, and they will submit proposals. This is a mixed building which will also house the Brussels TV company ‘Brussels One’.

Ixelles Barracks is another project which is not in the news as much as some of the well-known developments…

Kristiaan Borret


he projects themselves are led by other partners within the Brussels Capital Region structure, such as Perspective, the planning agency and SAU which is the public real estate company. The Bouwmeester’s role is to supervise the overall quality of all that is done. Despite the notorious administrative problems in Brussels (many levels of power, long delays in obtaining decisions and permits…) there has been progress in many areas.

First of all, tell us about Mediapark at Reyers. Well first of all, the name Mediapark accurately reflects what this will become. It is not just the headquarters of the RTBF and VRT, but will have other media companies, a large park and a great deal of housing. So a real mixed use city district. The latest move is that the two architectural competitions for the two television headquarters have taken place, and the process of elaborating the final plans is now underway. These are now just about ready, and the building permits can be requested. On top of this, the masterplan is being further evaluated. A tender has been launched for a third


PERSPECTIVE has just launched a tender for the PAD (a new planning instrument which replaces the former PPAS). This is because the land use has to be changed from its current police use to residential. The PAD will be established during this year. Following this SAU will launch two separate tenders – one for the university building and the other for student and family housing. The most important aspect in all of this from my point of view is to get rid of the negative ‘closed’ connotation of the former barracks. So it is not just about opening this area up, but benefiting from the architecture which is after all, exceptional, by keeping the character of these buildings without the negative connotation. This is a PPP development and all of this will be discussed within the framework of the new PAD, with the private partners.

Is anything happening with regard to the St. Gilles prison? There is nothing much happening at the moment, and it is all linked to the construction of the prison at Haren, of course. I am not involved in this at all.

Let’s move on to the ‘old’ NATO site then. Too early to answer very precisely, but there are exploratory studies taking place within the Region. This is quite interesting because many of these studies are in collaboration with the Flemish authorities, so it is a good example of metropolitan reflections, because this area is on the boundary.

We are reflecting on the entire stretch between Bordet and the airport, which we refer to as the ‘European Boulevard’. This area really has the potential to become an important metropolitan area, especially with the future arrival of the metro, making Bordet a main hub. This could be one of the new main central areas of Brussels.

NATO will certainly be demolished and rebuilt, but there is the question of the Belgian Military, which has a building there too. We have to see whether they will stay there, demolish and rebuild as well… So we are really looking at the future role of the whole area. The landscape is important too, as it is one of the rare areas in Brussels where we still have this open landscape. We don’t want to just build everything up, therefore. But it needs programmes to turn the boulevard into an urban road, with façades looking out onto it. I would emphasize, therefore, that while this is not an immediate priority, a wider reflection than just the NATO site itself is taking place, involving both Brussels and Flanders.

South Station, this is a troublesome dossier There is certainly less activity than we had hoped for. This is partly due to internal political discussions between the Brussels communes and the Region. But it is also largely due to problems between the SNCB and its project development company, Eurostation. This company is restructuring and times are not as good as before. Investment in the station, and a relocation of the headquarters of the SNCB would change the look of the area, and free up some land to the rear of the station, Rue de France. The front side of the station, Rue de Fonsny, could then be regenerated. But the railway operator is lagging behind, and we are waiting. We want to launch an architectural competition, for example, for the Victor project.

© Rendering Agence Leclercq

The Brussels Mediapark will be more than just the headquarters of the RTBF and VRT, it will become an exemplary real mixed use city district with a large park, a great deal of housing and other media companies.




The upcoming Picard bridge will connect, with a future tram line, Tours & Taxis site with the North station multimodal public transport hub

And West Station… The dynamic here is good, by contrast. There is a good relationship between the SNCB and the Brussels Region and we have just appointed a bureau – Taktyk – to draw up a masterplan, with Brussels architectural bureau 51N4E, so this plan will be developed within the next six months. Part of the masterplan is to create a park, and another part involves a densification of the housing. This is a first signal that something is happening already, with these projects able to be started even before the masterplan is fully completed. The Infrabel academy training centre will in fact be the very first construction – a first signal of public investment in the area. This is ready for the building permit to be requested, and construction should start next year.

Tell us about the canal area It is a sort of zone, but widely spread and with very different characteristics from south to north. I think that what is interesting is that things are actually happening. Sometimes slowly, such as the Picard bridge for the future tram line, and the ‘Parc des Matériaux’ next to Citroën – the future Pompidou Centre Brussels. The architectural competition for this is imminent – early May at the latest.

So we are almost there, and I think that next year construction of both these projects can begin. The Region believes that a lot of housing and public infrastructure needs to be built along the canal, but this also has to be combined with industrial activity, the productive economy, though on a small scale. We are helping private developers to provide both of these elements within the same project. The building permit for the first housing project within Tour & Taxis has also now been lodged, and I hope this will be granted this year. Other projects are on-going around the Biestebroek basin, housing projects, and there are many smaller projects which involve integrating some of these semi-industrial aspects I was talking about. Interbeton and our office has instigated a competition along with my office, and in the Tact area between Tour & Taxis and Tivoli, there will be other buildings for economic activities, which will also be instigated via architectural competitions. We have good architects in Brussels, and from my point of view it is very important and interesting to apply this know-how to industrial programmes, productive economy programmes. These competitions also involve questions such as truck access, minimising nuisance for local inhabitants, and the competitions have really been refreshing, showing how the bureaux can turn their efforts to this aspect as well as just ‘business as usual’. Tim HARRUP





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Further metamorphosis of Tour & Taxis TOWARDS VINCENT CALLEBAUT’S MIXED-USE ECO-NEIGHBOURHOOD CONCEPT Upon request from Extensa, for the future metamorphosis and

development of the 40 ha Tour & Taxis site, Vincent Callebaut is sharing with us his concept for rehabilitating the historical ‘Maritime Station’ involving 40,000 m2 of offices, meeting and exhibition facilities, and

further developing on the site 85,000 m2 of dwellings across three green

residential towers, each 100 meters high and surrounded by ‘vertical forests’.

Vincent Callebaut


y 2020, it is expected that 70% of the population in Europe will be living in cities. This constant growth requires new thinking, in order to bring greenery back into the city, decrease carbon emissions, produce renewable energy, ensure a social and functional mix within districts, encourage ‘soft’ and multi-modal mobility and the use of public transport… The challenges are numerous for cities which wish to be worthy of the name ‘Smart Cities’ in the future. For this, it is necessary to think out of the box. And this is exactly what Architect Vincent Callebaut did when imagining and drawing up the concept for the future metamorphosis and development of the Tour & Taxis site. Vincent Callebaut explains his approach: “Most European cities have a water element. Brussels has got rid of this water element in the past by covering over the River Senne, for what were believed to be hygienic reasons. Brussels has to once again live alongside water!” And this is the reason why between the redevelopment of the ‘Marine Station’ and the Sky-villas – three green residential towers each 100 meters high surrounded by ‘vertical forests’, lies a large marsh pond with a giant lily-pad offering exhibition and event space, as well as an open-air rooftop auditorium. Vincent Callebaut is also very much in favour of a mixed-use district for reasons of energy efficiency and of mobility. “A combination of living and working is essential in order to create a balanced environment in the city. Through working and living close together, the amount of energy required is cut in half! We also have to take mobility needs into account, which can be done by putting working and living close together, with the additional benefit of integrating nature and leisure”. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 51



Think out of the box for the rebirth of the ‘Maritime Station’ FROM HISTORY TO MODERNITY


inimal energy use always has a part to play in Vincent Callebaut’s visions, within which he seeks to improve the relationship between technical elements and nature. The ecological circuit based on knowing and respecting the ‘triple R’ theory: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, forms an essential part of his developments. These principles are uppermost in giving a new life to the 4 hectares of the Maritime Station, a veritable Biocampus in which it will be pleasant to both work and relax. The Biocampus establishes an individual architectural identity for each of the five Marine Station naves – enhancing the industrial heritage while guaranteeing visual permeability between the large three main naves. All the planned co-working spaces can be allocated to multiple long-term businesses, or be turned into a start-up cluster. For their construction, only biosourced materials are used that are recycled and/or recyclable according to ‘cradle to cradle’ standards.

Wrapped in waterproof and airtight façades with high thermal inertia, the revamped Maritime Station forms a micro-climatic space that reduces energy needs. It also incorporates the concepts of passive bio-climatics and cutting-edge renewable energies, such as: rainwater harvesting; earth-air heat exchangers for natural ventilation; evapo-transpiration gardens; biomass cogeneration; geothermal stations. There will also be a wind farm with 88 magnetic levitation vertical axis wind turbines located on the cornices, solar and heat energy roofs and southern façades made of silicon cells. All of these contribute to the development of a BEPOS (energy-plus building) that generates 186% of its annual needs. Self-sufficient, the Marine Station is set to provide 86% in value-added energy that can be redistributed in real time to the neighbouring historic buildings and future sustainable housing units across from it.

The historic facades of the Marine Station on the Rue Picard are equipped with solar captors directly integrated into the glazing.


The different plazas and buildings will be linked by groundlevel bicycle paths, while over 6.6 meters above, tree-perched footbridges are set to offer unique perspective views.

The ‘Geodesic domes’ conceived by Vincent Callebaut to be erected in the median nave of the Maritime Station, incorporate restaurants and bars, along with sports and leisure areas.

During its construction at the beginning of the 1900’s, the Maritime Station was one of the largest stations in Europe. Frédéric Bruneel, the railways’ chief engineer, decorated it like an Art Nouveau masterpiece, with wrought iron and stylized vegetal forms that still adorn the pillars and arches today. It was therefore absolutely necessary to preserve this architectural heritage. In the concept designed by Vincent Callebaut, all the new architectural entities are to be completely detached from the existing historical structure and façades, highlighting them while ensuring the reversibility of the project. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 53





ccording to Vincent Callebaut, for smart cities the only option is vertical building. Having for such a long time desired to have our own place in green surroundings as a status symbol, in Belgium we have lost too much green space. The ground is used for individual houses. Horizontal development is no longer sustainable. Vertical construction is therefore the solution for cities to remain liveable in an age of worldwide population growth. By building vertically we make room for green space in the city. For Vincent Callebaut, vertical building has nothing to do with the ‘apartment barracks’ of the past. He sees a typical piece of land in a city as though it were vertical, and makes this self-supporting in energy terms. Vertical development has to go hand in hand with an ecological reflection, scheduling as much own energy as possible, and through planning ahead own food production too, in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

It is thus within this spirit that Vincent Callebaut, with regard to the masterplan which schedules the construction of 85,000m2 of residential accommodation, proposes the construction of 3 Sky-villas, three green residential towers, each 100 meters high and surrounded by ‘vertical forests’, three buildings of roughly 32,500 m2, 28,000 m2, and 24,500 m2, aligning with the ridges of the Maritime station’s three large naves and separated from each other by gardens. Although Vincent Callebaut is recognised as a visionary architect, he pays great attention to making sure his concepts are feasible in concrete terms. This results in his exceptional interest in new techniques and in knowledge in general. He merges together architecture, bio-techniques – with a special consideration for the re-use of materials and energy production which does not harm the environment – and high tech. Eduard CODDE Photos © Vincent Callebaut Architecture, Paris

The façades reveal the social diversity of the project, like a giant Tetris, using inclined ramps that shelter the ground-level orchards and common areas. The Tour & Taxis park extends over green roofs, offering strolls overlooking the large central pond.


To the south, the height of the towers does not exceed 24 meters, thus aligning with the ridges of the Maritime Station’s three large naves. To the north, along the future Avenue Tour & Taxis, their height reaches 100 meters on more than 30 floors, with panoramic views of Molenbeek, Laeken, and the Atomium a little further away.

ers, ge




How will new (e)consumers reshape last mile delivery? There is much talk of ‘last mile delivery’ these days, and most of it centres around being environmentally-friendly. A utopian picture is evoked which would see all the nasty

polluting trucks arrive at the edge of town, unload their goods and go away again. The

goods are then delivered into the city by electric van/scooter/bike… and we can all breathe more easily (literally).


t the Mipim exhibition this year, however, a conference looked at the effect all of this might have on real estate, and particularly on traditional distribution centres. A ‘front-line’ panel consisting of Jérôme Delauney, Head of Asset Management France, Axa-I.M., Ben Bannatyne, President, Prologis Europe and Logan Smith, head of Logistics Real Estate – International Investment Group, BNP Paribas Real Estate, was moderated by e-commerce consultant Raimund Paetzmann, who himself has many years of experience with one of the biggest distributors of them all – Amazon.

Reversed flows

Looking at the way people think, it was made clear that just thinking about today is not the way forward. Companies are looking at the use of robots, and at the situation where these (and increased digitalization) would lead to the supply chain being turned upside down. It would no longer be a ‘push’ system where goods are delivered to a store which then tries o sell them, but a ‘pull’ system where the customer dictates what he or she wants, when and where. This is what was described as the era of ‘instant gratification’, one click and I get what I want. In this world, two day delivery is no longer good enough – today or tomorrow is what is required. In an Amazon trial in the USA, robots bring the shelves of the distribution centre to the order pickers, rather than the pickers going to the shelves. And because the robots know exactly where everything is, goods no longer necessarily need to be stored by category. Other methods of distribution are also being trialled. In a USA project, trucks full of food go to a neighbourhood, in the sure knowledge


(thanks to big data) that it is carrying exactly what that neighbourhood wants. Retailers in the area thus use their shelf-space more effectively and do not get left with large quantities of unsold goods. Another potential change to last mile delivery is, it was stated, being considered in London: banning personal deliveries to offices in order to get the masses of white vans off of the city’s roads. Does this mean the end of the distribution centre as we know it? Not really, because as the experts pointed out, the new digital operating mode does not replace either buildings or people. The technology helps the people to do their work, and the goods clearly have to be held in buildings before they are delivered. As it was said, and with regard to other major disrupters in our lives ‘Uber still needs cars and Airbnb still needs rooms…’

Evolution towards more urban distribution centres

What may change, however, is the type of building. More flexibility is quite obvious, and large distribution centres may even need trading zones so that people can come and pick up their goods if they so wish. This eventuality will have to be considered when building permits are requested. The real impact may come in the fact that the new technology can be integrated into any type of building. In cities such as Brussels, which has a structural level of obsolete office stock, conversion to residential use is now part of the real estate market. But conversion to smaller, more local distribution centres is also possible. In other words, the changing face of distribution could impact on real estate sectors other than just its own. And while the transparent distribution process known as blockchain makes the new distribution concept possible, it will not fundamentally

change the requirement for buildings. Purposebuilt distribution centres may possibly be higher, and they may be rented for shorter periods than is currently the case, but this is not game-changing. There will probably be a need for more distribution centres close to city centres, and then for more storage in the city centres themselves. But as has been stated, these could be almost any type of building, and even someone’s garage… It is also believed possible that last mile delivery could become a sort of utility, provided to districts just as all the other utilities are. A last delivery point in a shopping mall may become the norm (nobody is suggesting that shopping malls are on the point of extinction, despite the digital on-line world we are living in). A rapid and very broad brush summary would perhaps be that the entire delivery system may be undergoing substantial change, but merchandise still has to be stored in a building of some sort before it gets to the customer.

“The supply chain is being turned upside down : no longer will it be a ‘push’ system where goods are delivered to a store which then tries to sell them, but a ‘pull’ system where the customer dictates what he or she wants, when and where…“




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Cohousing THE NEIGHBOURLY FEEL OF A TRADITIONAL VILLAGE CENTRE ‘Cohousing’ has existed in Denmark since the 1970s, and today about 5% families have

been won over by the concept. In Flanders, cohousing first appeared some 20 years ago. Brussels and Wallonia have now also discovered the concept, which combines

the privacy of individual homes with shared functions and a social ethos that brings neighbours together.

There is a lot of interest in cities because cohousing can provide answers to a number of urban development issues such as the need for smarter space use, the demand for quiet neighbourhoods with safe spaces for children to play, more compact building, more conservation of green spaces and attention to water management.

Input from residents

People can put themselves forward as candidates to live in a cohousing project, while others offer land or residential areas where a cohousing project can be set up. The projects are split 50/50 between new construction and renovation, although there is a definite trend towards combining the two. Such projects may involve the repurposing of castles, monasteries, churches and similar buildings. Ideally, those involved work with a professional project developer.


ef Tanghe, manager of Cohousing Projects (Ghent), a recognised cooperative company offering professional services for cohousing: “With cohousing you have privately owned dwellings which are kept fairly compact and communal areas in a conventional co-ownership set-up, which are used however the residents jointly decide. Everyone can do their own thing – such as gardening, for example – and can put ideas into practice either on their own or with other residents. Cohousing is definitely not the same as living together in one house.” Cohousing projects consist of 8 to 34 fullyequipped private homes (with private kitchen and bathroom), plus common facilities such as a ‘central building’ with guest rooms, a pedestrian street, playgrounds, relaxation areas and so on. Those interested in the formula can decide for themselves whether a smaller or larger cohousing project is preferable.

“Cohousing means privately owned dwellings which are kept fairly compact and communal areas in a conventional co-ownership set-up used however the residents jointly decide.“ “The people who opt for cohousing rarely know each other beforehand”, says Eef Tanghe. “Prior to the construction or renovation project, we bring the people together in a council, so that they gradually get to know one another and help shape their cohousing project. This also applies to the central building with its various functions. The possibilities include a communal kitchen with a large dining room for parties, a laundry room, a children’s playroom, a television room, a coworking space, a music room, a studio, guest rooms and so on.“

© Photo Maxim Schulz, courtesy of UPSI

Eef Tanghe

HafenC fine ex




“The process leading up to the actual implementation of a cohousing project takes three to four years on average.“

Legally, at least 50% of the available outdoor space must be shared and at least 10m² of each private residential unit must be contributed to the common indoor space. The indoor space must specifically contribute to greater social interaction and not be confined to purely functional purposes such as storage, basements, circulation spaces or shared building services spaces. The future residents control much of the design process themselves, in order to create a neighbourhood that will meet their needs. A contractual relationship is therefore needed between the group of owners and the architect.

Smart living

The process leading up to the actual implementation of a cohousing project takes three to four years on average. In the big projects, there can easily be a hundred or so residents involved. The future residents together determine how simple or luxurious their cohousing project will be. “Very often we see projects with a strong ecological focus taking shape, as their scale makes them easier to achieve for a group than for an individual“, notes Eef Tanghe. “Cohousing does not work out as less expensive, but it offers the unquantifiable added value of the fellow-occupants. All management tasks are taken care of by the owners without the need for a property management company.” Cohousing leads to smarter living. Many of the things found in a conventional home, such as guest rooms, lawnmowers, swings, tents, children’s bikes or a car, are not needed every day, and are therefore ideal for sharing with neighbours. In principle, cohousing projects involve owners with unlimited property rights, but in some cases tenants may also come into the picture. If someone decides to leave the project – and it has been found that the houses sell quickly and at a good market price – the new owners often give the project a fresh boost.


Eef Tanghe: “We aim for a mix of residents – singles and couples, families with children and older people – so that the advantages and disadvantages are equally shared. But in sequential terms, it is mainly young families and families with older children just leaving the nest and whose house has become too large, that express an interest in cohousing. The latter group wants to maintain a sense of belonging and is looking for contact with younger families. Families with teenagers rarely become involved in such projects.”

Cohousing on a grand scale

In the Ghent district of Sint-Amandsberg, the industrial site of the metal-processing company Malmar is being converted into ‘Bijgaardehof’, the country’s largest cohousing project, with no fewer than 57 residential units and a local health centre. In 2015, Sogent, the Ghent urban development agency, issued a call for future residents which attracted interest from 70 families or individuals. Sogent brought the selected candidates together to give shape to the plans for their new homes, working with an external coordinator (Trizone in collaboration with SpaceLab). After more than fifty meetings, their collected ideas were then moulded into a master plan by Bogdan & Van Broeck architects. The conversion of the factory building is the final element in a larger urban densification project near Ghent-Dampoort railway station. The enclosed location of the old Malmar factory makes it less suitable for a traditional housing development project with private gardens. The total area of the factory is 5,000m². Most of the land is earmarked for (compact) residential development, but 2,000m² will be added to the already created Bijgaardepark. The 57 families will move into Bijgaardehof by 2020.

Eduard CODDÉ

© 360 architecten © 360 architecten

Cohousing projects can provide answers to a number of urban development issues such as the need for smarter space use, the demand for quiet neighbourhoods with safe spaces for children to play, more compact building, more conservation of green spaces and attention to water management.

© Bogdan & Van Broeck Architects

BotaniCo I Leuven

BotaniCo I Leuven

Bijgardehof I Gent

© Team Kampvuur

© Alides_EVR-architecten

Kerselaar I Oostakker

Rinkkaai Paviljoen I Gent

© Stramien architecten

Gecco I Gentbrugge






© Architects : KCAP | Art & Build | Jean-Paul Viguier

© Architects: Be baumschlager eberle I Styfhals & Partners

In the section within the information platform you will find detailed description of town planning and land development master plans: projects of a ‘districtwide’ size, involving a high degree of mixed use (offices, residential, retail, infrastructure) and integrating sustainability and mobility concerns. Forthcoming large office building projects are also highlighted in this section together with major shopping and leisure centers developments. All projects descriptions include the short listing of key players involved in those real estate projects and for some of them their company profile.




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DELTA OUEST © MDW architecture




© ASSAR Architects

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© Architects : DDS & Partners | A2M for AG real Estate


TIV ww


© Jaspers_Eyers Architects



© Ateliers Christian de Portzamparc (master plan)



PROJET URBAIN LOI © Image courtesy of ADT

© Architectassoc. for Citydev







KEE www


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ZNA www


OST www




RINK www

OUDE DOKKEN I GHENT © VK studio | Robbrecht & Daem



© Karel Somers







© Crepain Binst Architecture

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© Image: SPI

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© Atelier Architecture de Genval Aupa Cerau Greisch


VA ww

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CH ww

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LE ww

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©Syntaxe Architects

© Syntaxe Architects for Besix RED

© Architect: DDS & partners for Eagelstone


© Architects: ABR | Altiplan for Equilis







→→ Which assets will bring the biggest returns, or returns guaranteed over the long term? Which are the buildings that will be most favoured by future occupants? Which are the most sustainable buildings? Location and accessibility are crucial, but what is going to make the difference in the eyes of occupants, patients or consumers…? In particular, the way in which they will live and experience their workplace, shopping, stay… In the north of Antwerp at the entrance of its renowned international harbour, the stunning new Havenhuis designed by world famous architect Zaha Hadid is a new landmark for Antwerp. Linking the past with a bright future, including with the New Way of Working methods adopted by the public servants working in the building.




Workplace occupancy cost: Belgium o As it does every year, Colliers International has published its ‘Occupier Cost index’

(OCI), which calculates the total annual cost of a workstation per member of staff. This index is calculated on the basis of data from over 3,650 buildings across 29 European countries, and representing some 33 million square metres. The OCI

involves over 1.7 million employees and is considered as a barometer of real estate costs for the professional property sector.


or Belgium, the workplace cost amounts to 11,263 Euros per FTE (Full Time Equivalent), which is 4%, or 500 Euros, down on last year, per employee. Last year the OCI for Belgium offices had already dropped by 2%. It should be noted that our northern neighbours are 24% less expensive, while our southern neighbours are 30% more expensive. The Eurospean average stands at 8,972 Euros against 8,443 Euros in 2015, an increase of 6.26%.

not possible at just any time within the contract duration, which explains why this approach is slow to get off the ground”. Jeroen Govers repeats again what he recommended last year: “The savings potential is substantial for critical contract management”. The problem with the Belgian OCI nevertheless remains the high level of employment charges (management of the company and facilities).

“ Belgium is still clearly above the European average, and so there is room for improvement. It is therefore possible to do better, in particular by renegotiating existing lease contracts, by optimising space use and by better adapting services to needs.“ The cost of a workstation in Belgium is virtually 20% higher than the Eurospean average, but this is only half of what it was last year, when the difference was 39%. Belgium is therefore on the right track where strengthening its competitive position is concerned, but there is still very much work to be done.

Margin for improvement “The cost of a workstation could still decrease by 10%”, states Jeroen Govers, Senior Director, Real Estate Services at Colliers International. “We are doing much better than our French neighbours and than many Eurospean countries, which have seen significant rises. In France, there are less and less ‘large’ office areas available, which is causing rental costs to climb. In 2016, France was the fourth most expensive country in Eurospe. But Belgium is still clearly above the Eurospean average, and so there is room for improvement. It is therefore possible to do better, in particular by renegotiating existing lease contracts, by optimising space use and by better adapting services to needs. Renegotiation is unfortunately


The decrease in the OCI is essentially due to the ‘Personnel and Organisation’ categories (-9.9%), and Central Functions (-9.6%). The decrease in costs for catering should be noted, the result of an offering which has less choice options. Jeroen Govers: “This does not mean that concessions have to be made in terms of quality. The provision of catering during meetings is diminishing. In view of the quest for talent, blind cost reductions which could have a negative impact at this level are not being implemented”.

Sell some property Despite a slight rise at the end of 2016, interest rates remain particularly low. This enables cheap foreign capital to be attracted. Jeroen Govers: “For companies, the returns from their own core business are higher than those from owned property. This is why the formula of leaving the property to investors, whether under sale and lease back or not, represents an option”. Freeing up cash to invest in the core business provides a better return. Although rents are indexed, increases remain minimal.

m out of line with European trend Space and Infrastructure

Eurospean situation Belgium ranks ninth in the listing of the highest cost per workstation, out of the 29 countries forming part of the study. The list is headed, as was the case last year, by Switzerland, with an OCI of 18,484 Euros, which is an increase of 3.5%. Bulgaria holds the list up, again as last year, at a cost of just 2,556 Euros (up 1.71%). In Germany, the OCI is lower than here in Belgium, 9,482 Euros. Luxembourg and France are towards the top of the list, with costs of 14,305 Euros per year. Luxembourg is thus 27% more expensive than Belgium. The Netherlands have changed this year, with an OCI per FTE of 8,564 Euros, which is 3% lower than last year. This is more than 2,500 Euros less per employee than in Belgium, and is even below the Eurospean average. Jeroen Govers: “The low cost per FTE in the Netherlands is above all due to the relatively low rental levels for office space. The Dutch real estate crisis of a few years ago, with many vacant office buildings, made itself felt. Nevertheless, the low point has more or less been reached: the 3% decrease this year is substantially less than last year, when it amounted to 10%. Another explanation is the much lower salary levels in the Netherlands. This had already made a difference in the past”. The decrease in costs in the Netherlands is to be found in the ‘Personnel and Organisation’ category, and more specifically in the ‘Document Management’ and ‘Security’ departments. This last item is remarkable in view of the terrorist threat which is hanging over the whole of Europe. Jeroen Govers concludes: “We can expect a decrease of the OCI in 2017 once again, along with a narrowing of the gap with those countries which are currently the least expensive and where it is in particular costs relative to services which will climb. The focus on cost saving and efficient management of resources remains a priority, independently of the sensitive point of salary costs”.




France The Netherlands

67% 84%

Germany 0%


People and Organisations 100%







The Netherlands Germany




Central Functions 100%



Luxembourg France

68% 84%

The Netherlands Germany




Total 100%





France The Netherlands

Eduard CODDÉ



Germany 0%

76% 84% 100%



Emerging trends in occupier services In recent years, corporates have sought to maintain a firm control on operational

costs without stifling opportunities and performance. Born from this delicate balance are workplace changes and trends focussing on technology, productivity and flexible working to better align real estate with the wider strategic goals of the business.


conomic market fundamentals have recently begun consolidating in a consistent manner. While no doubt a positive for business, external forces have added to a general sense of uncertainty. In a recent CBRE EMEA survey, 64% of corporates cited economic uncertainty as the major challenge facing their organization, compared with 58% the year before. This is no doubt influenced by recent political elections, the terms surrounding Brexit and a Quantitative Easing and low-interest rate environment showing signs of unwinding. Other growing challenges include workforce and talent preferences and technology disruption, while concerns of regulations and cost escalations ease somewhat from previous surveys.

In terms of goals, occupiers are clear about what they want to achieve: cost reduction and strategic alignment between real estate and wider business aims. A third goal cited by more than three-quarters of occupiers was talent acquisition and development.

Flexible workspaces

Occupiers’ primary method of achieving these goals is through productive and flexible workspaces. Flexible working concepts and principles are becoming more accepted, requiring less C-suite oversight. Technology is the fastest growing method to enhance flexibility including video conferencing, virtual desktop access, and ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device). Other methods cited by a majority of occupiers are homeworking, hot-desking, and flexible work hours.

“ A natural consequence of the reported occupier goals is sharing space, interest in doing this within the next three years has grown 70% year-over-year. Favouring Wellness

A more human-oriented approach to productive workspaces is a growing appreciation for wellness. More than half of the companies surveyed have wellness programs, while another 15% plan to introduce one. This means of enhancing productivity feeds through to real estate through building choice, as threequarters of those surveyed who have/plan to have a wellness program prefer WELL-certified buildings. Health/wellbeing awareness sessions, healthy food, and mental health awareness are the main vehicles of this trend. Michael Taelman


MA K I N G S PAC E WO RK S M ART E R Efficiency gains and enhanced strategies are driving occupiers’ MAKING SPACE WORKworkplace SMARTER decision making

Efficiency gains and enhanced workplace strategies are driving occupiers’ decision making GOALS AN D C H A L L E NG E S







ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY and technology disruption a growing concern


TOP WORKPLACE DRIVER Better collaboration

Aiming to optimise occupancy management


efficiency programmes

OF OCCUPIERS say cost-reduction and business alignment


86% 78% COST


58% Disposal of vacant space





70% Space




TOP WORKPLACE FACTOR FOR LABOUR FORCE Indoor environmental quality



Turn portfolio and w insight into advanta through intelligent application of build workplace technolo







MORE INTEREST OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS Driven by: short term needs and lease flexibility

Future-proof assets attract and retain te Prepare for new for occupancy.

Source: CBR

Cost reductions


In strict cost reduction terms, occupiers are looking towards efficiency gains and restructuring programs, as reported by 70% of respondents. The more dramatic disposal of vacant space is often considered, though this is largely sector dependent. Banking, finance, and professional services are more likely to dispose of surplus space, whereas tech and telecom companies are more focused on space efficiency. Cost-management methods such as capex reduction and lease and contract renegotiations have largely taken place earlier in the cycle.

Co-working space




This allows companies to maximize a more limited office environment and utilize shared space as needed. Michael Taelman Head of Advisory & Transaction Management Belgium CBRE

Findings sourced from the 2017 CBRE EMEA Occupier Survey

A natural consequence of the reported occupier goals is sharing space. Interest in sharing space within the next three years has grown 70% year-over-year. Almost half of European occupiers surveyed expect to have moderate or substantial use of co-working space by 2020. Co-working and shared spaces are no longer the domain of the SME, as larger corporates increasingly see it as a solution to short-term space needs, lease flexibility and reducing costs. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 73



To move or not to move Automotive supplier Tenneco was approaching a lease-break in its Brussels premises. ‘Stay or Leave’ was the question, and real estate advisors Colliers carried out the

analysis… Colliers Real Estate Services Senior Director Jeroen Govers explains what was at stake, and what the final decision was.

to move, a decision as to which region to opt for (with lease price and tax differences), had to be considered. On top of this, they also have premises in St. Truiden, around 50 km to the east of Brussels, so an ‘internal move’ was also a possibility. They own the site there, which is mostly warehousing and production, and there is enough space on the site to build an extra office building. Or, of course, they could go somewhere new…

The current scenario

Jeroen Govers


ike all well-managed companies, Tenneco is always looking to be as cost-efficient as possible. This is especially true in the automotive sector, which is facing constant challenges. So when Tenneco realised that they probably had more space than they required, it was a logical step to consider what to do next. Part of the whole reflection also involved how the people work, whether the company needs visibility from its building, could the activities evolve…?

Three way decision

Tenneco started with Colliers’ help on a completely open reflection about what was best, they had no preference for any specific scenario, stay or leave. The current building is close to NATO on the way to Brussels airport. They used to lease the entire building at first, but over time reduced their space, and now have a little over 3,000 m² with ample parking. The reflection on what was the best way forward involved more than just a simple decision. Their current building straddles the Brussels Region and the Flemish Region, so if they were


Colliers took a closer look at their future requirements, and compared these with what was possible in the existing building, at St. Truiden or elsewhere. With regard to the current Brussels building, Tenneco occupied three floors – ground floor plus two – and would have enough space with just two of these. So relinquishing the ground floor, which was largely made up of a vast entrance hall, meeting rooms and other facilities – was an option. Colliers therefore renegotiated the running lease with the landlord and looked at how Tenneco could reorganise within the building. Following the negotiations, it was possible to compare the ‘stay’ option with what was possible at St. Truiden or in a totally different building. There is more involved than finance alone, however. Moving a population from Brussels to St. Truiden is not an easy task, and has social repercussions too. Despite the fact that the space was there to build, the final decision not to go to their own site at St. Truiden was, therefore, also based on a human, not only an economic, issue.


Where ‘staying’ is concerned, the landlord agreed that if Tenneco decided to stay, they would take back the ground floor and leave them with the two other floors. And the landlord was also willing to improve the general lease conditions for the remaining space.

“The whole ‘Stay or leave’ analysis implyies of course cost-efficiency but also involves how the people work, whether the company needs visibility from its building, could the activities evolve…“ Another option discussed, and within a context of looking forward towards other needs at a later date, Colliers also discussed with the landlord the possibility of once more increasing the space rented in the building, if this should become necessary. So an improvement of costs and a reduction in space, along with flexibility, was what was on the table. In terms of moving to a completely different building, Colliers clearly knows and investigated the market very well. The conclusion was that a deal as well-suited to Tenneco’s needs, and at a better price, as the one on the table in their current building, would not be easy to find. So following a close look at all options, the decision was taken to stay, with the financial and non-financial conditions of the lease contract renegotiated. Tim HARRUP

Part of the reflection involved re-laying the remaining interior space. Colliers interviewed members of staff to challenge them about the future requirements and work concepts. There was an openness towards ‘New Ways of Working’, but for the time being the areas will not be redesigned in this way. Tenneco knows this is an option, however, and they know the budget involved. If extra space is taken in the future, Tenneco may well decide to move in this direction for that area, however.

The building partially occupied by Tenneco is well located in Evere, Avenue du Bourget, close to NATO on the way to Brussels airport.


© Yvan Glavie – courtesy of COFINIMMO

Space layout


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Tenant and landlord fully support 100% partnership The Hendrik Conscience building at Koning Albert II laan, Brussels, belongs to AXA

Belgium and houses the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training. The lease on the

building did not expire until 2023, but in March 2015, owner AXA Belgium put forward a proposal for a thorough renovation of the building with a view to improving its sustainability and introducing the new way of working.


n practical terms, the aim of this far-reaching renovation was to bring the building up to date. “The building no longer met our current expectations in terms of sustainability, but as the Flemish Government, we prefer the North District of Brussels because of the excellent access by virtually all forms of public transport. No fewer than 90% of the users in the Hendrik Conscience building come by train!” says Frank Geets, Administrator-General of the Facility Management Agency.

the Hendrik Conscience building, particularly given the fact that the building envelope, for instance, is not being modified” Frank Geets admits. The plan developed by the two parties together includes both architectural adaptations and a complete refurbishment. The entrance to the building is being repositioned and redesigned to create more openness. The ground and first floors are intended to be a public space, set out as a meeting centre.

Focusing on BREEAM Excellent

The renovation of the Hendrik Conscience building also provides an opportunity for the transition to the new way of working for public servants. That means, among other things, giving up individual workstations in favour of an open-plan layout. At the moment, around a thousand people work in the Hendrik Conscience building. After the renovation work, the capacity will increase to 1,600 workstations. The renovated Hendrik Conscience building is also to set an example in terms of ICT. In addition to a cable and wireless IT network, mobile phone network cover will be provided throughout the entire building (4G). DECT telephony will no longer be used. Instead, ‘unified communications’ will ensure that all forms of communication reach the right staff member.

The Flemish Ministry for Education and Training is to remain in the Hendrik Conscience building until 2032 while AXA Belgium will bear the cost of the major conversion work. The Flemish Government gave the go-ahead for this at the end of 2015 and the contract was signed at the end of January 2016. An open communication procedure with owner AXA Belgium was set up and this ultimately led to a 100% partnership and a win/win situation for both parties. Sustainability is a key word in the Flemish Government’s real-estate policy. Recycling buildings to improve them and ensure that they remain useable in the future is fully in line with this sustainability policy. The Hendrik Conscience building is now around 15 years old and the far-reaching renovation will earn it the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ label. The building will be modified in phases so that it can remain operational. So there is no question of temporarily relocating to another site. The main focus in order to obtain this label is the technical installations, including passive cooling, along with acoustic comfort.

Attractive working environment

Read the full article published in our previous edition. It can be downloaded from > 27/05/2016

Architectural rejuvenation cure

“The new VAC Brussel complex is going for an A-energy performance label, which is extremely difficult to obtain for existing office premises like

Frank Geets, Administrator-General of the Facility Management Agency


WORKPLACE PROJECTS LIBRARY, a co-creation made in Belgium Through multiple reports combining interviews and case studies, the PROFACILITY Workplace Showcase special edition became over the years a showcase of ideas and concepts, technologies and methods and of course the perfect spot for sharing experiences. In the face of the success and the enthusiasm of our readers regarding the first issue of the magazine in 2012, it was soon decided that this issue would become an annual event. In 2015, we enriched our information portal by adding an online library which brings together a set of reports

and studies of cases relating to the ‘Workplace Design, Build & Manage’ and connecting businesses, public administrations and hospitals having such a project with the best suppliers and providers of services. Through the library we are delighted to share this know-how and expertise; to participate in the creation of a center of knowledge. A co-creation facilitated thanks to Web 2.0.

Bar www

Delaware I Ghent

Wabco I Brussels

Elia I Brussels

ON ww

AG Real State I Brussels

Deloitte @ the Edge I Amsterdam

Con ww

Barco I Kortrijk

Claeys & Engels I Antwerp


MSF I Brussels

ONVA I Brussels

Continental I Diegem

RMB I Brussels

Microsoft I Luxembourg

Havenhuis I Antwerp

Colliers @ Glaverbel I Brussels

Marc Detiffe

Yvan Glavie








Marc Detiffe

Service de presse OLV Aalst


PW ww

Toon Grobet




Polo Architects




Stijn Bollaert

Marc Detiffe




Valérie Clarysse





MIVB - Royal Atrium I BRUSSELS

Marc Detiffe

Marc Detiffe



Marie Bourgonjon




A wider and deeper spectrum for BREEAM NC 2016 Last year, the new BREEAM environmental certification scheme for new constructions – BREEAM INTERNATIONAL NEW CONSTRUCTION 2016 (NC 2016) – replaced the

previous scheme which had been used by the market for three years. As a continuation

of BREEAM International NC 2013, it now completes the range of certifications with BREEAM INTERNATIONAL REFURBISHMENT AND FIT-OUT (RFO 2015) for the renovation and fit-out of buildings. The B4F team of assessors have taken a close look

at this reference, in order to provide an overview of what has changed, compared to previous versions.

• Launched in the United Kingdom in 1990,

• Along with residential buildings, offices,

BREEAM has become one of the most

shopping centres and industrial buildings,

widely used environmental certification

other types of buildings can be certified by

systems in the world. It is the most widely

BREEAM NC 2016. Certification has been

used in Europe, and in Belgium, where 33

extended to hotels, serviced residences

new buildings have received final BREEAM

(rest homes, student residences etc.) and to

certification and 36 projects an intermediary

educational establishments (schools,


universities…). BREEAM Bespoke is still able to be envisaged for ‘non-standard’ buildings such as prisons, cinemas,

• BREEAM promotes the use of high energy

conference centres etc.

and environmental performance, by going beyond the regulations and rules in force in this domain. As these are constantly

• The life-cycle cost approach to a building

evolving, the certification system evolves at

project was already dealt with in previous

the same time, in order to always stand

versions. BREEAM now grants a supple-

apart. This evolution helps the construction

mentary credit if this phase is handled

and real estate sector move forward, and

at the programming stage, the stage at

challenges property developers, encouraging

which the decision-making power is

them to construct buildings which respond to

strongest, and enables maximum benefit

the challenges of the moment (environ-

to be gained over the long term.

mental, climactic, sanitary, ecological etc.). • A focus is put on minimising pollution of • By contrast with previous BREEAM scheme,

the air inside the buildings, particularly

BREEAM NC 2016 numbers three

through promoting an ‘Indoor Air Quality

evaluation options: ‘Fully fitted’, ‘Shell

Plan’, drawn up by an expert.

and Core’ and ‘Shell only’. While the first of these enables buildings which are ready to


be used immediately to be evaluated, the

• Supplementary credits are also attributed

other two enable buildings to be certified

when a holistic approach to the effects of

without taking account of how they made be

global warming is adopted. In this case,

finished for tenants.

particular attention is paid to issues such


as flooding, thermal comfort, energy consumption etc. in order to minimise needs in terms of primary energy and emissions of greenhouse gases, BREEAM insists more than before on passive design (location, climate,orientation, construction method, natural lighting…) and on passive cooling.

• New concepts have been introduced to minimise the environmental impact of materials used, and of waste: material efficiency by minimising the building’s needs in primary energy along with minimising the production of waste during the dismantling/demolition of the building. Functional adaptability by studying possibilities for renovating the building or converting it to another use. Extra importance is accorded especially to demolition waste. Finally the recognition of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) should be mentioned.

It can be observed that in general terms, the overall approach remains similar to the previous version. Nevertheless, given the evolution of regulations (such as, for example, the Building Energy Performance in Belgium – PEB), the demands of BREEAM have been reinforced in line.

Read the full article published in our previous edition. It can be downloaded from > 05/06/2016

You may be just the person we’re looking for! Do you have experience and references in facilities and real estate management?

Then you may match the profiles outlined in the job offers published on the Profacility media platforms.

Be the first to know – take a look at the FM and RE job offers on op




‘Exteriorise’ and mutualise THE LOGISTICS PHILOSOPHY OF LIÈGE CHU The Liège CHU (University Hospital Centre) has recently made a move which is a first for Wallonia: it is bringing all of its support services together on a common site. This large scale logistics operation comes with a fiscal element which also represents a precedent… and may give ideas to others.

which needed more space, which would easily have used these adjoining areas, which had become too ‘prime’ for storage alone. Another decisive factor then became apparent: the strategic development plan of the CHU clearly demonstrated the need for further premises for medical activities, particularly in terms of clean rooms and of pharmaceutical robots for the individualised preparation of prescriptions. It was quite obvious – we had to move”.

Unsuitable hangars while waiting for something better

Jean Codognotto


ean Codognotto, director of the logistics services for Liège CHU, insists on one detail: “This is ‘exteriorisation’ and not externalisation. This is not an outsourcing operation but a regrouping, centralising all of our services, stocks and personnel onto a dedicated site outside of the hospital and strategically located with regard to our various installations”.

Cramped in premises too ‘prime’ for this use

It is the pressure of a growing need for space which convinced the heads of the logistics services of the CHU to look for innovative external solutions: “Over time, we had increased the number of beds, centralised at Sart-Tilman the stocks and the personnel required for 6 sites, felt the effects of the growth in activities and the increase in recourse to disposable items, all of this in the same premises as in 1987 and without being able to ‘push back the walls’. We were also suffering from the pressure of other medical and pharmaceutical services 84 BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017

Between 2005 and 2015, the logistics department made use of industrial hangars, not very suitable, for the passive storage (without on-site personnel) of non-sensitive materials such as photo-copying paper or cellulose items. This exterior space amounted to 3,000 m². Outsourcing was also investigated. “Too expensive”, concludes Jean Codognotto without leaving any room for doubt. A solution within the organisation therefore had to be found, but on an external site.

“ The hospital has to become a technical medical installation. Anything which involves support services is out of place. “ Inspired by the Gasthuisberg and by France

“The KUL (Leuven University) as is often the case, proved to be innovative with its logistics centre at Aarschot, the first of its kind in the country, serving the Gasthuisberg hospital site. This example was an inspiration for me, as was that of France, where all of the CHU’s are already working according to this model. I visited the one at Dijon, a very similar city to Liège, as well as Lille, Toulouse…”.

It was then necessary to find a suitable site, centrally located with regard to the six sites in the Liège perimeter. Fortune smiled on the CHU in the form of an industrial site (formerly that of Stella bandages) located at virtually the epicentre of the activities of the CHU, in the commune of Chênée. But the building is in a poor state and unsuitable. Three million Euros of refitting work are necessary. This is feasible but in July 2013 the developer proposes another solution: demolish and reconstruct. This is agreed in six months, and in January 2014 the demolition works begin. In January 2015 the department begins to transfer all of its depots, offices and personnel, including the stock of ‘sensitive medical items’, which required a derogation from the pharmaceutical authorities, which was granted in the form of a pilot project. Another first…

Ready to mutualise

“I also suggested to the management that we should install the call centre here, which organises the appointments for all of the sites (2,400 calls a day!)”, adds Jean Codognotto. “We will soon have Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) which will give us the computer capacity to easily manage on behalf of third parties. Our storage capacity is three times what we need. I firmly believe in mutualising not just our purchasing, which we already do with other hospitals, but also our supply logistics. And that in very short circuits (carbon footprint requirements), from a central point at Liège”. The proposition made by the CHU’s logistics department is transparent…

The CHU turns 30 in 2017

• • •

Inaugurated in 1987 with 635 beds on a single site Achieved in 2017, via the mergers imposed by the Dehaene law, 895 beds on three hospital sites, to which can be added three polyclinics, a growth in activities in terms of the number of admissions and of days spent in hospital. The Chênée logistics site: 7,000 m² of which 5,300 m² of stocks, 700 m² of leisure space and 1,000 m² of offices. A potential to service 3,000 hospital beds. BELGIUM REAL ESTATE SHOWCASE 2017 85



“Apart from a few square metres of offices, exoneration was virtually totally agreed, and ad infinitum, as long as the activity remained that of a hospital.“

Bernadette Bouckaert

Property taxation

Bernadette Bouckaert, an independent consultant in property tax laws (Immotaxconsulting. be), was originally consulted by Integrale, the owner of the site, so that she could dispute the cadastral revenues, which is her core business. “But the overall tax volume was reasonable, around 35,000 euro”, she explains. “I therefore recommended doing nothing about this. By contrast, I saw the possibility of claiming a virtually total exoneration of the real estate withholding tax, justified by the nature of the activities: health needs”. It should be noted that according to the law, the sectors of education, health, care homes, children’s and pensioners’ holiday homes and ‘other good causes’ (this last point obviously widening the domain of possible action), benefit from such an exoneration, provided that it is established that the activity is non-profitmaking. But the tax collection authorities did not see things in the same light: ‘The logistics department is a tenant and is exercising its activities outside of the confines of the hospital, so there is no reason for exoneration’. Several months of discussions later, along with visits by the fiscal agents, of examination of the designation of the site by the cadastral department, of reference to superior bodies, the tax authorities agreed to give way in almost all areas.


“Apart from a few square metres of offices, exoneration was virtually totally agreed, and ad infinitum, as long as the activity remained that of a hospital. It was quite clear that the civil servants had to arrive at this conclusion: a hospital cannot function without syringes. In defence of the civil servants, it has to be recognised that this was very much a first, and that the law is very imprecise. Nevertheless, this could not justify a reaction of the type ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’…”

Open doors by invitation at Chênée

The idea is likely to be emulated and cause headaches in other local branches of the tax authorities, because according to Jean Codognotto, there isn’t a hospital in Wallonia which hasn’t made its way to the site at Chênée (where they are welcomed with open doors and books…) to further investigate the organisation of their logistics centre. This affair is doubtless going to make legal case law.


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Large-scale projects developed

We are contributing to the attractiveness

Brussels, La Hulpe, Namur, Mons, Ath,

with dedication and passion

and evolution of the cities.

Luxembourg, Bucarest, Budapest.

The objective of Atenor is to allow city dwellers and users to feel comfortable, taking into consideration the specificities of each city. Atenor places a strong focus on its projects locations. The accessibility and the development potential of the selected districts are two of our main criteria to enhance the cities’ attractiveness.

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27/04/17 09:15

Belgium real estate showcase 2017  
Belgium real estate showcase 2017