17 December 2020
Climate neutral in Brussels: Union Investment acquires “The First” project in Quartier Léopold
• Acquisition for special fund UII EuropeanM
Union Investment has acquired The First, an office project in Brussels, the Belgian capital, via a forward funding deal. The existing property, which was built in 1979, will be completely repositioned and new storeys added. The vendor and developer is Eaglestone Investment SA of Belgium. Union Investment is financing the project. The acquisition is being made for special fund UII EuropeanM. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Wolfgang Kessler, a member of the management team at Union Investment Institutional Property GmbH.
Located in the Quartier Léopold in the heart of Brussels, the property will be transformed into a modern, CO2-optimised Class A building with 11,710 sq m of rental space. Planning permission has already been granted and work will start in March 2021. Completion of the building, which will consist of eight storeys when finished, is scheduled for April 2023. Energy consumption in The First will be minimised in future with the aid of a heat recovery system and solar panels on the roof and façade, while a rainwater harvesting system will reduce mains water consumption. A BREEAM green building certificate with a rating of “Excellent” is being sought.
The First is situated on Square Frère Orban, one of the few green oases in the Quartier Léopold. This prominent micro-location is one of the prime addresses for multinational companies and public institutions. Due to its close proximity to the European Commission and many EU institutions, the neighbourhood is an established and popular office location. It benefits from very good public transport links and the surrounding area features a vibrant selection of cafés and restaurants. Rents are among the highest in the EU capital.
The property is already 73 per cent let to American law firm White & Case and to a data centre operated by American telecommunications provider Verizon.
The First is the fourth property in the UII EuropeanM portfolio. The fund invests primarily in the four commercial use types of office, hotel, logistics and retail, focusing on midscale properties in European real estate markets. Midscale properties are mainly characterised by prices in the double-digit million range, functional and timeless architecture, and moderate rent levels with sustainable cash flow.