Belgian group Cofinimmo has agreed to buy all shares in Belgian European Properties (BEP) as part of a deal that will boost the firm’s Brussels portfolio.
Subject to due diligence, the Euronext-listed group will take over a vacant office complex near the European Parliament.
The 16,500m2 complex comprises two connected buildings, one of which has already been revamped and is ready for occupation. The second will need extensive renovation work behind a classified (listed) façade.
Cofinimmo spokeswoman Séverine van der Schueren said: “The building’s status is not a problem. It just means the architects can’t start from scratch.”
Subject to due diligence, the renovation will begin this spring and is scheduled for completion in Q3 2007. According to Cofinimmo, the work will push the building’s investment value up to €60m.
A press statement forecast rental yields of around 6.5% for the complex – compared with whole-portfolio yields of 7.3% for the year ending September 2005.
Cofinimmo has reported overall portfolio yields of above 7% for the past four years.
Van der Schueren said 6.5% was “only an approximate figure”.
Despite reported interest from potential candidates, the firm has not yet decided whether to pitch the building as a single letting or a series of smaller offices. Given its current tenants - including the Belgian state - a single letting is more likely. “The building is in an excellent location and there is a need for big spaces,” said van der Schuren.
A selective increase in demand for rental properties in Brussels has encouraged Cofinimmo to pursue an aggressive acquisition strategy focused on the town centre, but it is not ruling out future deals on suburban and provincial real estate. Last month the firm acquired an office complex in Mechelen, midway between Brussels and Antwerp.