Silver Tower completed, renamed Iris Tower, and ready for Region

Tim Harrup

In a further demonstration of the fat that the current covid-19 crisis has not brought business to a total halt, Ghelamco has announced that it has fulfilled its commitments for completion of the Silver Tower within the agreed 18-month time frame. Within the context of its new role – as the administrative centre of the Brussels Capital Region – the building has also been renamed the ‘Iris Tower’. It is to accommodate over 2,000 officials of the Brussels Regional Public Service and Taxation Service.

The 137 m high Iris Tower has 41 floors, 34 of which are above ground and a total surface area of around 44,750 m². The building has a BREEAM Excellent certification and is described by Ghelamco as being above all a very energy-efficient building. The large glass areas provide high levels of light, and the ultra high-efficiency glazing ensures perfect insulation, so that energy efficiency remains very high.

The covid-19 crisis has nevertheless had something of an impact, as Paul Gheysens, CEO of Ghelamco Group, explains: “It’s all about using the right techniques; ours is a very high-tech sector. Corona further accelerates this trend because buildings will have to meet even more stringent sustainability requirements and particular attention will be paid to a safe working environment and the creation of genuine meeting places; that makes us particularly well-positioned for the future. The demand for ‘new’ buildings with efficient technologies is expected to surge, as many of today’s buildings are not suited for today’s work requirements.

In terms of location, being virtually alongside the North Station and technically forming part of the soon to be rehabilitated North District, appears to be ideal. However, just like its closest neighbour the Botanic Building, now known as the Botanic Tower, it has an in-built problem – that of being, quite literally, on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. Only a couple of hundred metres or so from the Place Rogier, getting there requires walking through a tunnel under the railway lines. This tunnel has been made more secure with better lighting etc., but still remains something of an unappealing prospect to individuals during hours of darkness. A little way in the other direction, the three tunnels leading directly to the North Station are less foreboding. The district is receiving attention however, and the perceived drawbacks may disappear. And none of this put off new owners (2019) Deka Immobilien, who acquired the asset at a reported yield of just 3.25%.