The Belgian state is buying 23 buildings from the European Commission for 900 million euros

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This large-scale operation led by SFPIM aims to anchor the European executive and prevent it from moving elsewhere. However, it is clear that in the context of a very complicated real estate market, financing was difficult. Apart from bank loans, only Belgian institutions with a public share close to SFPIM invest. SFPIM is in first place with an amount of several hundred million euros. Ethias insurance company is the second contributor with several tens of millions of euros before Finance& (the holding company of the Brussels region) and Belfius.

Two of these 23 buildings, located in the Beaulieu district, are being sold by SFPI for €20 million to private companies Matexi and Vincinity, which plan to convert them into sustainable housing.

Large investors, cooled by the rise in interest rates and the poor state of the real estate market, did not respond to SFPI’s call to put money in the bank. They were further chilled by the fact that the project was not subject to a rent guarantee from the Commission, as it would be illegal for him to sign a lease without planning permission.

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A big rebuild

The next step will be to launch an architectural competition to convert these approximately 300,000 square meters (out of a total of 870,000 currently occupied by the Commission) into offices and housing according to the strictest environmental and sustainability criteria. The idea is to start with buildings that are already empty. “This transaction is the starting point of a large-scale redevelopment that should ultimately lead to the provision of sustainable offices from 2028 in which European institutions can settle and anchor in Brussels for decades to come,” emphasizes the press release published on Monday. The total cost of the building conversions carried out by Whitewood is estimated at around €1 billion.

For the Cityfoward fund, this is the third major operation in Brussels office real estate after the investment in the Engie and ITT towers.

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