The landmark Brussels Finance Tower has been sold for more than €1.2 billion, the largest single asset deal ever completed in Belgium.
Dutch real estate developer Breevast and investor ZBG Group of Companies (ZBG) sold Brussels Finance Tower to South Korean financial services and investment group Meritz Securities and its London-based asset and investment manager Valesco Group.
The Brussels Finance Tower transaction was completed on 17 January. It is Europe’s largest real estate deal in 2020 so far.
For Breevast and ZBG, both controlled by Frank Zweegers, the sale of Brussels Finance Tower represents the final chapter of an extensive urban redevelopment as well as a new life cycle for this iconic building in Brussels that started more than 18 years ago.
The sale will accelerate Breevast and ZBG’s strategy to focus on creating new urban and property life cycles in core cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and the US.
Brussels Finance Tower (including the adjacent Door Building) represents approximately 200.000 square meters of high-quality office space opposite the Jardin Botanique in the Freedom Quarter in Brussels.
The project consisted of the Finance Tower and the urban (re)development of more than 150.000 square meters of office, residential and retail space in the RAC Belair sites (sold between 2014 and 2017). In total, more than 350.000 square meters has been redeveloped and newly developed. Breevast and ZBG were advised by real estate consultancy CBRE and legal and tax firms Loyens & Loeff, Stibbe, and PwC Legal.
Brussels Finance Tower sale is ‘significant achievement’
Henk Brouwer, CEO of Breevast and member of the Management Board of ZBG, says, “The sale of the Finance Tower is a significant achievement, representing a commitment by Breevast and ZBG of almost two decades to realizing a high-quality and sustainable asset in the heart of Brussels combining both office and residential space. This successful transaction reflects the growing international interest in large-scale urban revitalization projects in which we specialize. We have a full pipeline of residential, commercial and office projects which aim to address the growing demand for high quality urban real estate.”
Alexander Villaverde, member of the Management Board of ZBG, says, “We are pleased to hand over this high-quality asset to its new owners. This project, together with the adjacent RAC Belair sites, was a long-term commitment to the future of Brussels. The complete development represents one of the largest combined office and residential developments in Europe and we are proud to have played a role in realizing it. ZBG will continue to build its portfolio by investing in high-quality real estate & development as part of our broader investment activities.”
Meritz Securities, part of Meritz Financial Group, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is a provider of financial services and investments. It manages assets worth more than €45 billion. Meritz was advised by Valesco Group, a European real estate investment and asset manager based in London. In addition to the Finance Tower, Meritz has recently acquired large-scale office buildings in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Work completed on time and under budget
In December 2001, Breevast and ZBG acquired the Finance Tower for €311 million after winning a public tender organized by the Belgian federal government. This sale and leaseback transaction included a full renovation and redevelopment.
Work started in 2005, took more than 3 years to complete and cost €325 million. In a significant achievement, the project was completed on time and under budget. From 2008 onwards the Finance Tower has provided office space for approximately 4.800 civil servants working for multiple federal ministries and agencies based on a long-term lease agreement with the Belgian federal government. The neighboring RAC Belair project included more than 90.000 square meters of office space, 45.000 square meters of residential apartments, 5.000 square meters of retail, a 7.500 square meters school and almost 2.000 parking places. This project was (re)developed in phases and sold between 2014 and 2017.
The sale of the Brussels Finance Tower is the latest milestone for Breevast and ZBG. In October 2019 they completed the sale of one of Germany’s largest residential projects, an office complex site to be redeveloped into more than 1.200 new homes in the popular Gallus inner-city district of Frankfurt am Main. Earlier in the year, Breevast completed an investment in two office buildings in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, for US$153.5 million. The current development pipeline consists of more than 600.000 square meters of commercial, office and residential projects, with a focus on projects which help meet the growing demand for urban living and mixed-use areas.
Founded in 1963, Breevast focuses on the development, realization, investment and management of commercial and residential real estate in Europe and North America. It has approximately 1.7 million square meters of real estate under management, representing more than €3 billion in invested assets. It includes assets such as the office building on Spaklerweg 1 in Amsterdam, currently in use by DNB (Dutch Central Bank) and Nationale Nederlanden. The mainly residential development pipeline has a size of approximately 600,000 square meters, including large scale projects in the Randstad area, Eindhoven and Luxembourg.
In addition to its Dutch headquarters in Amsterdam, Breevast has offices in Antwerp, Luxembourg and Newport Beach (United States).
ZBG Group of Companies is an investment company founded in 1982. Its investment portfolio focuses on three areas: real estate development and investment, agriculture, and technology. With its investments, ZBG aims to have a long-term positive effect on the future. ZBG’s head office is located in Eindhoven.
Principal buys Torre Llacuna offices in Barcelona
Principal Real Estate Europe, the European real estate investment arm of Principal Global Investors, has acquired the Torre Llacuna office building in Barcelona from Goldman Sachs.
It was purchased for the Principal European Office Fund (PEOF) and the deal was managed through the Madrid office by Jaime Abad, Senior Transaction Manager, and Iñigo Taboada, Head of Spain.
The 13-storey multi-let office building at 166 Calle Llacuna is in the 22@ ‘innovation’ district in Barcelona, close to the iconic Torre Glòries building. It is occupied by several tenants including the video game developer Social Point and the hospital operator Quiron Salud.
Iñigo Taboada, Head of Spain and Asset Management at Principal Real Estate Europe, says, “We’ve chosen Barcelona for PEOF’s latest acquisition because of the city’s strong fundamentals including a robust occupier market and potential for rental growth over the longer-term. Take-up of space in the 22@ district, in particular, has increased steadily over the past couple of years, fuelled by a shortage of good quality office space in the city centre.”
Sebastian Lietsch, fund manager at Principal Real Estate Europe, adds, “Our first acquisition in Spain for PEOF, Torre Llacuna complements the fund’s existing portfolio of core pan-European office assets located in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Milan, Paris and Rotterdam. We continue to be on the lookout for well-positioned assets to add to the portfolio.”
Cushman & Wakefield (technical & commercial), SDH and EY advised Principal Real Estate Europe on the acquisition.
Principal Real Estate Europe manages eight assets in Spain.
The image is from WIkimedia and is by Zarateman.
London logistics facility acquired off-market £85 million
W. P. Carey Inc., has bought a 67,500 square meter Class-A, cross-docked logistics facility in the U.K. for $112 million (£85 million) in an off-market transaction.
The company is a leading net lease REIT specializing in corporate sale-leasebacks, build-to-suits and the acquisition of single-tenant net lease properties.
The facility is net leased to the U.K. operating subsidiary of Dixons Carphone plc, a multinational electronics and telecommunications retailer and services company.
- Market-leading tenant: The tenant is the largest business segment of Dixons, a leading multichannel retailer of technology products and services, with 14 brands in nine countries and operating across 1,500 stores and 16 websites. Dixons is a publicly listed FTSE 250 constituent company with a market capitalization of over $2 billion (£1.5 billion) and annual revenues in excess of $13 billion (£10 billion).
- Critical asset: The facility functions as part of Dixons’ largest and most critical distribution platform in the U.K., primarily supporting its e-commerce business, which is central to the company’s long-term strategy.
- High-quality, energy-efficient facility in prime logistics location: The facility is a Class-A, cross-docked logistics facility with up to 50-foot (15-meter) clear heights, solar panels and the capacity for automation and expansion. It is located in the East Midlands, one of the country’s most active logistics corridors.
- Long-term, triple-net lease with built-in rent growth: The facility is triple-net leased for a period of 13.5 years with fixed rent increases.
Gino Sabatini, Head of Investments, W. P. Carey, says, “As the competition in Europe continues to increase, our 22-year track record, local expertise and on-the-ground presence continue to differentiate us from other investors and enable us to secure attractive investments with industry-leading tenants. We’ve had excellent momentum in Europe over the past few months, which we look to further build upon in 2020.”
Karolis Adlis, Director of Investments, W. P. Carey, adds, “The U.K. logistics market remains an attractive asset class for investors as industry tailwinds support occupier demand for logistics assets, with high-quality, well-located assets continuing to command strong investor appetite. As such, we’re thrilled to have executed this off-market deal, which adds another Class-A logistics asset to our growing European portfolio and completes our second off-market transaction in the U.K. in just a few weeks.”
Valentine T. Beresford, Investment Director, of seller, LondonMetric, says, “W. P. Carey was a great partner to work with on this transaction. They were immediately able to understand our objectives and completed their acquisition process within the envisaged timeframe.”
W. P. Carey Inc. ranks among the largest net lease REITs with an enterprise value of approximately $21 billion and a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate, including 1,204 net lease properties covering approximately 138 million square feet. Its portfolio is located primarily in the U.S. and Northern and Western Europe and is well-diversified by tenant, property type, geographic location and tenant industry.
Two hotels bought in Olympic Park, Munich
LaSalle Investment Management has bought two Accor hotels in Munich from Commerz Real. The purchase is for its Encore + fund. One of the hotels is operated by the ibis budget brand with 162 rooms and one by the adagio access brand with 160 rooms.
Both are in Munich’s Olympic Park at Am Oberwiesenfeld. Built in 2014, they were previously part of the portfolio of the open-ended real estate fund Hausinvest.
Dirk Schuldes, Head of Hospitality at Commerz Real, says, “We have used the market situation, which is characterized by high buyer demand, for the benefit of our investors.”
Ibis budget is the low-cost brand of Ibis and adagio access that of Adagio aparthotels. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Commerz Real was advised on the transaction by the global real estate service provider CBRE.
Four shopping centers sold in Stockholm
EPISO 4, an opportunistic fund has sold four grocery-anchored, local shopping centres in Greater Stockholm. They have been sold to the Nordic institutional investor NREP for an undisclosed price.
EPISO 4 was advised by pan-European real estate investment manager Tristan Capital Partners.
The assets sold by EPISO 4 include:
- Näsbypark Centrum: A community centre in Täby, Stockholm, with a 11,300 square meters mixed-use area, anchored by a Hemköp supermarket, a senior living home and an elementary school.
- Viksjö Centrum: An 11,700 square meter convenience centre in Viksjö. It is anchored by one of the strongest performing ICA grocery stores in the country, as well as Systembolaget and several cafes and restaurants.
- Ekerö Centrum: An 11,000 square meter convenience centre in Ekerö. The centre is anchored by ICA, Systembolaget, cafes and restaurants, doctor’s practice and more. The complex includes 30 residential units.
- Rondellen: in Upplands Väsby, 26 km north of Stockholm, anchored by ICA.
Gyongyver Giday, Director at Tristan Capital Partners, says, “Since we bought the portfolio around three years ago we have disposed of two assets that were not strategically located and focussed on stabilising the remaining four assets located in Greater Stockholm. We have successfully executed on our business plans, securing longer leases with the grocery and other anchor tenants, upgraded their units at Näsbypark and Viksjö to improve performance and have made significant advancements in obtaining residential zoning for new units in Ekerö.”
Linklaters and Amblin advised EPISO 4 on the transaction.
The image is from Gpedia.com and is by Apbswe.
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