Number 05 - February 2012 

Belgian real estate showcase at MIPIM
Next Tuesday, the Palais des Festivals in Cannes will open its doors to the international real estate exhibition - Mipim - for the 23rd time. With an expected 19,000 visitors, including 4,200 investors, Mipim is the most important real estate show in the world. The Belgian real estate industry is always well represented at Mipim, with exhibitors including the Brussels Region, the city of Ghent, and Wallonia. A number of political figures also attend. On top of all of these, all the major real estate consultants have substantial international stands, with the highest level Belgian representatives present.
This year, germany will be the 'country of honour'. The presence of such leading German personalities as Joschka Fischer, the country's former Foreign Minister, and Reinhard Schäfers, German Ambassador to France, will be among the highlights of the event-rich programme.
Belgium will also be in the spotlight, with three projects selected for the 2012 Mipim Awards - it is hoped to see one or more of them on the podium once again. Lavoisier, firstly, is a project which has transformed a former industrial site (British American Tobacco factory) into a business unit for SME's. Midi-Suède, by contrast, is a residential project which is part from the rehabilitation scheme of the district around Brussels South railway Station and which contributes to providing the substantial quantities of extra housing which will be required in Brussels over the coming years. The third Belgian real estate project nominated in the category 'Best Futura Project' is the 'Hôtel de Police' in Charleroi ... Read more...

Passive towers - Brussels Region sets the ball rolling
BuildGreen has just hosted a conference on one of the hottest topics of the moment – Passive towers. Is it possible to construct them, will the market accept them, what are the economic advantages (or disadvantages…?). Antoine Crahay from the office of Brussels Environment Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck, explained that his department had commissioned a wide ranging study into the feasibility of this concept. The study therefore looked at whether passive towers were technically possible and to undertake the study, a team of industry experts was gathered. All were asked to look at three typical tower configurations – rectangular, H-shaped and Z-shaped – and to simulate results for each of these under two different concepts: a ‘normal’ tower and a passive tower.

Intelligent 'sale & lease-back' operation for Erasme Hospital
Anixton has been selected to bring to fruition one of the biggest and most 'intelligent' sale & lease-back operations yet seen on the Brussels market. The operation is both intelligent and unusual as it involves not offices, or retail or residential accommodation, but a hospital. And it is very much a win-win situation: one of the most famous hospitals in Brussels - Erasme - is in need of renovation and also wishes to expand in order to become a truly 21st century care establishment and be able to absorb all or part of the activities of its sister hospital, Bordet. Around half of the anticipated 150 to 170 million Euros realised by the sale & lease-back operation will be reinvested in the existing and new infrastructure in this way.

Permit granted for the new Finance Tower in Liège
Liege – known in French as ‘the passionate city’ – recentlty stirs up real estate passions. A new demonstration of this fervour which could be described as ‘Latin’ comes in the form of the Finance Tower project in the Guillemins district, as an extension to the majestic Calatrava station. This new 28-storey finance tower – peaking at 118 metres – is scheduled to rehouse the 1,000 functionaries of the Federal Finance Service by 2017, functionaries who are currently accommodated in the Finance Complex, set to be demolished. The project has just moved into a new phase on its way to becoming a reality, with the obtaining of the single permit, granted by the Walloon Planning Minister.

Belgium still of interest to investors
A report just published by Ernst & Young points to a continuing confidence on the part of international real estate professionals for the Belgian market. Drawn up in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit, the survey entitled ‘Trend Indicator Real Estate Assets Investment 2012’ indicates that 84% of those questioned believe Belgium to be an interesting market for real estate investments. This is the first time that Belgium has appeared in this survey covering 12 European countries, coming in at eighth place.


VK project selected for MIPIM again
Amongst its most recent projects, VK is proud to see that the ‘Hôtel de Police’ at Charleroi has been nominated for the 2012 Mipim Awards. This project, designed by architects Ateliers Jean Nouvel and MDW Architecture, benefits from the experience of VK for the stability elements. The ‘Hôtel de Police’ is part of a joint project including Charleroi Danses Performing Arts Center, and together they amount to 45,000 m². The objective is to give the police a public and accessible image and to open the site out to the city. A conical 75 metre, 20-storey tower will be visible from various points of the city.

Live it UP-site
UP-site is one of the most ambitious urban regeneration projects to be seen in Brussels. And developers Atenor have ensured that it will meet a number of criteria not only providing entire satisfaction to its future occupants, but also meeting various objectives set out by the Brussels Region. Where occupants are concerned, firstly, UP-site will offer resolutely modern apartments located in the tallest residential tower in Belgium (140m), ensuring that the building will rapidly become iconic, and providing spectacular views across the city, especially from the rooftop promenade deck…

Brussels Region Exemplary buildings - the list gets longer
In announcing the results of the fourth ‘call for exemplary buildings’ by the Brussels Region, Environment minister Evelyne Huytebroeck explained to the audience of several hundred people in ‘Bozar’, that this annual call was not an isolated event; “It forms part of an overall urban regeneration plan with money from both the Region and Europe”, she said. There were 70 candidate projects last year, which was felt to be a substantial success, proving that the euphoria of the first such call had not disappeared .In total, Brussels now boasts 156 exemplary buildings, which are granted this status not just for their energy efficiency, but as a result of an entire concept of ecological friendliness from construction to use.

Mipim Awards 2012 - Belgium out in force again
Once again this year, Belgian projects have been nominated for the prestigious Mipim Awards. Belgian success in these, probably the most highly rated architectural and real estate awards in the world, has been substantial over recent times. This year, the Brussels Region Development Agency is very much to the fore. Two of its projects have been nominated in different categories, and each of them also responds to the current and future needs of Brussels in different ways. Lavoisier, firstly, is a project which has transformed a former industrial site (British American Tobacco factory) into a business unit for SME’s.

Uplace waiting to receive its environmental permit
Uplace Machelen is the ambitious project next to the Vilvoorde viaduct, on the brownfield site of the former Renault factory, in the long neglected canal zone of Machelen. This real estate development aims to be a one-stop destination experience, a city within the city, in which shopping, working and entertainment are no longer built in isolation from each other but woven together in a single space. Despite the fact that the building permit has been granted by Philippe Muyters, the Flemish planning minister, the mega-project still has the protectionists reaching for their armour. The Flemish government is set to give its decision in mid-March on the environmental permit for Uplace Machelen

 Focus on office buildings projects

Silver Tower >>

Port Sud >>

Trebel >>

de Ligne >>

Dexia space on the market
Dexia Bank Belgium began its office space optimisation programme in 2007 and has been much heralded for this ambitious and forward-thinking project. The ‘Mobile Work’ project involves desk and office sharing and various forms of flexible use of the available space. One of the objectives of the plan was always to occupy less space, and this element, which is designed to save substantial sums of money, has now reached an even more concrete stage. Dexia has just mandated Jones Lang LaSalle with finding new tenants for part of the spaces in their owned buildings : 30,000 m² which will be set on the market by the end of 2012, increasing to 50,000 m² by 2014.

City Mall Verviers, on the way to reality?
'Au fil de l'eau', the City Mall shopping centre project (formerly Foruminvest) at Verviers may be about to speed up. Although the permit delivered by Minister Philippe Henry in 2011 is still dependent on a decision from the Council of State (suspension due to a procedural irregularity), where those on the ground are concerned there seems to be clear desire to get moving quickly. In this respect, Minister Philippe Henry has just confirmed his support for a new version of the project, rectifying the problems pointed out by the Council of State.


Montindu puts European district in six figures >>

Developers behind bars >>

Provincial towns popular with retailers >>

Waterside finds a tenant >>

Some uncertainty in industrial market >>

Toison d'Or to be covered? >>

New Australian owners for DTZ >>


MIPIM Trade Fair
06> 09/03, Cannes - Palais des Festivals
Congress 'Smart Mobility Management' 2012
15> 16/03, Brussels - Hotel Bloom
UPSI/BVS Seminar -Training 'Breeam' Part I
29/03 > Brussels - Hotel Le Plaza
Hospital Build Europe trade Fair
24 > 26/04 Belrin, Berlin Messe
Seminar 'Antwerp Real Estate 2012: Urban development'
25/04, Antwerp, BNP Paribas fortis -Meir
REALTY trade fair
22>24/05, Brussels-Tour &Taxis
Facility Awards 2012
22/05, Brussels - Tour &Taxis
Urban Land Institute - Europe Summer Council
30/05, London
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