Number 07 - May 2012 

Realty set to be a great success
Next week the 4th edition of Realty will open its doors at Tour & Taxis in Brussels. Organisers Artexis have been outlining the basic facts involving this year’s show. Show director Gregory Olszewski explained that from 88 exhibitors in the first year, there were now set to be 123 this year. Realty is confidently expected to attract over 5,000 professional visiting the exhibition, including a substantial number of international investors, mainly from bordering countries. There will be a full programme of seminars, and major events include a permanent exhibition of ‘Brussels exemplary buildings’ by the office of Environment Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck, and the election of the first ‘Facility Manager of the Year’ during the Facility Awards gala evening, organised by IFMA (International Facility Management Association). ‘Booming Cities, blooming cities?’ and the Retail Forum Belgium are among other highlights. The former is in the form of series of seminars over two days and will examine the challenges facing the Belgian and European capital over the next few years, with an increase of around 180,000 in population predicted ).

Neo - a step nearer...?
The ongoing saga of the Heyzel plateau redevelopment, under the name of Neo, has taken another step. Just a few days ago, the City of Brussels authorities launched a new phase by setting in motion the procedure for the two main procurement contracts. This follows the decision last year to appoint a master planner for the site, the chosen bureau being KCAP (Kees Christiaanse) of the Netherlands, and the further step earlier this year of modifying the ‘Brussels Ground Use Plan’ or PRAS. The city authorities seem to be aiming to give a signal to would-be stakeholders that Neo is now reaching a decisive stage in its pre-construction phase.

Brussels office market moving steadily
The recently published DTZ Property Times points to a first quarter of 2012 on the Brussels real estate office market more or less in line with expectations. Following on from the worst year of the decade in terms of office take-up, the 95,000 m² recorded during the quarter are roughly similar to the average over recent years, although somewhat ahead of last year. More than half of this was in the Central districts (Leopold, North, Central, South, Louise). The 24,000 m² taken up by the European Commission at the end of March in ‘New Orban’, a real estate development project of AG Real Estate, was the major transaction, boosting the figures. No other major transactions were recorded, and average space taken up during the quarter was only a little over 600 m², well down on last year. There were also 27,000 m² of space renegotiated by tenants, who might otherwise have chosen to move but prefer to favour caution in the continuing economic uncertainty.

Retail investment still in favour
The report published by real estate consultants Savills shows that the investment market in Belgium is continuing to perform well, and that the retail sector is still attracting the lion’s share of the money. During the first quarter of 2012, total investment volumes in real estate amounted to some € 533 million, which is in line with the same quarter last year, but around a third up on the last quarter of that year. In total, Brussels property attracted a little over a third of all investments. Around a half of the sums invested were placed in the retail sector. This in particular included the Toison d’Or shopping gallery in the uptown area of Brussels changing hands (to Prupim) and the Westland Shopping Centre in Anderlecht being acquired by AG Real Estate.

Sale at Collines de Wavre demonstrates attraction of Brabant-Wallon
Phase V of the Colines de Wavre business park has been sold by its developers, Codic, to Tribeca Capital Partners for a private investor. Codic was advised by Heilporn & Kadaner and Cushman & Wakefield. The transaction involves three buildings totalling 11,500 m², of which 10,400 m² is office space, and represents the latest phase of this project, which Codic began in 1995 and which now totals some 35,000 m² (before the building of phase VI). Commenting on the success of this zone of the Brussels peripheral office market, Codic Belgium General Manager Christophe Jacobs said: “The province of Brabant Wallon is Brussels’ second peripheral office market after Zaventem, with 350,000 m² of space. It is also one of the best performing markets with a vacancy level of 5% compared to 21% in the periphery as a whole. ''


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…

Be part of the 'Longest Cocktail' at REALTY
Do you want to talk about your real estate project?
Visit VK at REALTY. As everyone organizes a cocktail on REALTY and VK has always been a pioneer, we would like to be the first to organize 'the Longest Cocktail'. Maybe not the most sustainable idea in terms of health, though we believe it helps to build sustainable relationships! Join us for a bite and drink on Wednesday 23rd of May at 12 am (booth 2212)
Different VK projects opened doors : In Brussels, the renovated Thon Hotel EU ( 405 rooms and 31 apartments) opened its doors recently. It is a conversion of 4 office buildings in the rue de la Loi.


Fourth European School making progress
The former Royal Cadet School at Laeken is being transformed by the Belgian State Buildings Agency to become the fourth European School. The new school has become a necessity due to the increased demand as new member states join the European Union. The new school is set to accommodate 2,500 students, and will include nursery, primary and secondary sections. The original school was built between 1899 and 1902, on a total ground area of 4.7 hectares, close to the Royal Palace at Laeken, on the northern edge of Brussels. The Régie des Bâtiments mandated an architectural consortium of Archi 2000, Atelier d’Architecture du Sart Tilman, Conix Architects, DMV Architects and Marcq & Roba to design the new school.

Finance Tower goes to appeal
The planning permit for the construction of the Liege Finance Tower (27 floors, 118 metres) located on the Rue Paradis and juxtaposing Calatrava’s monumental Guillemins station, is going to appeal. This is on behalf of the local inhabitants who, unsurprisingly, believe the project to be ‘oversized’. More astonishing is an appeal emanating from SNCB Holding via Vincent Bourlard, director of Euro Liège TGV, who also decries the height of the tower, referring to the Communal Ground Use Plan (PCA) and above all to the Urban Re-allotment Plan (PRU) which does not envisage any building higher than the 40 metres of the station itself.

Antwerp awarded 'Best Small City for Foreign Direct Investment’
As part of its bi-annual report ‘European Cities and Regions of the Future’, the Financial times – through its magazine fDi – has recognised the city of Antwerp. The award as ‘Best Small City for Foreign Direct Investment’ has gone to the Flemish city for the second successive time. This award considers the cities and regions of Europe in terms of their economic potential, human resources, quality of life, cost efficiency and business-friendly climate. This award means that Antwerp came out ahead of 253 European cities, of which 73 submitted a file on investment strategy. The denomination ‘small city’ within this context applies to cities of up to 500,000 inhabitants. To win, Antwerp thus had to beat contenders such as Lyon and Liverpool.

Station2station, the new concept of railway business centres
With 'Station2station,a joint venture between Regus and the Dutch railway operator NS, the Regus is extanding its network right into the mobility chain. People either waiting to catch their train, in between trains or having just finished their journey, can simply drop in to this fully fitted centre and work in professional surroundings. Explaining his vision of the future, Mark Dixon - Regus founder and CEO - said that technology is now changing the way people are able to work. “Companies are looking for new ways of supporting their workforce, and this workforce can use telephones, computers and iPads anywhere. It is no longer necessary for everybody to go to the same building to carry out their work. On top of this, companies are looking at ways of driving down costs in these economically challenging times, and they are beginning to shut down some of their fixed offices. These pressures are not going to disappear any time soon, and this is why the future is mobile”.

NETWORK - People on the move

Nicolas Orts

Serge Fautré

Vincent Querton

Jean-Edouard Carbonnelle

Cédric Van Meerbeeck
 Focus on real estate projects

Abatan unveils major project around the Brussels canal zone for abattoirs >>

The MG Tower – future KBC Tower – symbolic entrance gateway to the city of Ghent >>

The Park Tower complete the redevelopment of Antwerp Park Spoor Noord >>

Begium Real Estate Showcase
The 2012 edition of the 'Belgium Real Estate showcase' gives real estate professionals a global view and analysis of the Belgian real estate market. The guide describes major town planning projects. It sets out market trends in terms of letting and sale for offices, retail and logistics estates. It presents the main projects and players for office buildings and shopping centers and highlights the best practices in property and buildings management. Ask for your free copy of this guide at REALTY or download here the digital edition of the guide >>.

Excellence in Facility Management
The ‘Facility Awards 2012’ prize-giving ceremony will take place next Tuesday at Tour & Taxis in Brussels, within the context of the ‘Realty’ real estate exhibition. Through these awards, the IFMA intends to make Facility Management better known in Belgium, and to emphasise the value of the profession and its best practices. Following the election of several ‘FM Project of the Year’ winners, this year will see the first ‘Facility Manager of the Year’ named: this honour will go to a man or woman who, through his or her reflections, vision, commitment and action, has created more awareness about the job of Facility Manager and contributed to its professionalism.

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