The Office Observatory (37th edition) published by citydev.brussels and its internal partner perspective.brussels, shows that total office stock in Brussels decreased in 2016 for the third consecutive year, and is now 231,00 m², or 2.5%, lower than it was three years ago.
The Observatory, released on the eve of Realty, takes a close look at the Midi district, where it finds that despite this decrease, vacancy has actually increased, from 6.8% to 8.4%. However, this has to be put within context, because despite all the plans for this district (mostly mixed use projects) it only represents 4% of total Brussels office stock. Just over a third of this is public (administrations), and virtually all of this stock is occupied by public federal services, social security, employment and health in particular.
The next largest occupier is the SNCB, with just under 150,000 m² of space occupied. Other rail-related occupiers add a further 17,000 m².
Where the future of the district is concerned, there are a number of projects (Atenor’s Victor is the most well-known) which will provide offices, housing, public areas and shopping. In an interview in this year’s Belgium Real Estate Showcase magazine, Brussels Bouwmeester Kristiaan Borret says that the district’s development is largely being slowed down by internal problems within the SNCB concerning the redevelopment of the station itself.
Moving on to the wider picture in Brussels, overall vacancy is 7.9%, but in the CBD it has decreased from 6.5% to 6.3%.
Looking at stock once again, this time in the Louise district, the Observatory finds that this zone is particularly popular for converting obsolete office buildings to residential use, and the office stock has thus decreased noticeably (- 4.2%). There is now less than one million square metres in this, the fourth largest office district of the capital.
Finally, the Observatory believes that the arrival of some new projects will probably put a halt to the decreasing vacancy, and even increase it, especially as new projects are taken up at the expense of older ones, which are vacated.