July 20, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Belgium buys 23 administrative buildings from the European Commission for one billion euros

Belgium buys 23 administrative buildings from the European Commission for one billion euros

This is a huge two-stage deal. First, the European Commission sold 23 buildings to SFPIM for approximately one billion euros. SFPIM will then immediately sell 21 buildings in the European area to Cityforward, the Federal Investment Corporation fund, “transforming them into a sustainable and dynamic area,” according to a press release issued on Monday.

The remaining two buildings are located outside the European Quarter and have been sold to Vicinity and neighborhood developer Matexi, which will redevelop them into “sustainable and affordable apartments for rent and purchase.”

In the wake of the Corona crisis, the European Commission decided to halve the number of buildings it manages by 2030. This represents 350,000 square meters of office space in prime locations in the Leopold region, saving several hundred million euros. The broad outlines of SFPIM's plan to purchase the properties were announced a year ago, but are now final.

Cityforward is a fund created by SFPIM itself and the insurance company Ethias, with financial support from the big four banks (BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC, ING and Belfius), among others. Their partner in Brussels and Antwerp, Whitewood, will manage the fund.

Since in addition to SFPIM, Ethias and Belfius are also owned by the government, this means that the redevelopment will be largely funded by the government.

Transformation of the European region

The European Commission, SFPIM and Cityforward have agreed on a market price of around €880 million for the 21 buildings in the European Quarter – covering an area of ​​300,000 square metres. The ambition is to transform the buildings into 70 percent sustainable offices and 30 percent shops, public facilities and especially homes. Whitewood estimates that this will require another billion euros.

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“With this transformation, we are strengthening our capital's position as the heart of Europe. At the same time, we are also responding to the strong demand for diversification and additional housing in the European quadrant,” said Laurence Bovey, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SFPIM. , in the current situation. She has a signature PS and is known to Brussels residents as the CEO of Vivaqua.

“These additional residential units will eventually double the number of families in the heart of the European region. The first new residents and office workers can move here from 2028.”

The first permits should be obtained in 2026 and the first apartments and offices should be delivered in 2028.