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Antwerp riding high and 'on trend'

Real estate advisor JLL has been taking stock of the Flemish office market, and its performance during last year and the beginning of this year. Antwerp is of course by far the most important office market in the Region, and had a spectacular 2016. Take-up in 2016 amounted to over 114,000 m, which is a full 34% up on 2015, and 33% up on the 5-year average. The number of deals transacted was also at a record high, 207 against the previous years 175 and the 5-year average of 157. The beginning of 2017 has seen 41,000 m taken up In Antwerp, through 77 deals.

JLL goes on to say that projects in the best locations, combining easy access by public transport and road and attractive design, are success stories. For example The Link I, developed by Ghelamco next to Berchem Station (Ring) has attracted its first tenant with law firm Astrea Law which will occupy 1,853 m. The last phase of the redevelopment of the Kievit behind Central Station will see De Persgroep will build a prestigious new headquarters of 8,000 m designed by Crepain Binst Architects. The Post X along the ring has closed its most recent transaction of 3,995 m with Regus.
This remarkable transaction flow, says JLL, confirms the revival of the Antwerp office market, and it seems that the boom of demand for brand new high quality offices in Ghent is now replicated in Antwerp.

The vacancy level in Antwerp, however, is standing at 10.9% against 9.9% previously. JLL puts this down to further space being available in Post X.

The trend for converting obsolete office buildings to other uses, has also taken hold in Antwerp, JLL points out. Over the last decade, the broker has registered the reconversion of a total of 783,500 m to other uses, in 86 projects. Whilst offices are the principal source of reconversion projects, the trend has been observed in many other original property uses. Ten years ago, among the first properties which were sold for reconversion was the Military Hospital, that was reconverted from its former public use as a hospital to 45,000 m residential, 4,000 m offices, a 4,000 m hotel and 1,000 m of retail space. Another more recent example is the Cadix project, a former industrial warehouse north of the city centre which was reconverted to 22,000 m of residential area and 2,000 m of retail.
The reconversion of office space amounts to a total of 344,000 m in 37 projects, representing respectively 44% of the total reconverted space and 43% of the number of projects mentioned above. In 2009 the first completions of reconverted office space were registered, amongst which the refurbishment of an office property on the Terninckstraat into a mixed residential/retail project (3,200 m It was followed by the reconversion of 7,500 m to a school in Berchem, the development of 3,000 m new residential property on the Borzenstraat.
Residential use represents 58% of all office reconversions, followed by new offices and hotel use.

Post X is part of the success story 
(Image: antwerpen.be)
Post X is part of the success story (Image: antwerpen.be)

| 20/06/2017

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