Befimmo acquires the office building of the Courbevoie project in Louvain-La-Neuve

Tim Harrup

The Esprit de Courbevoie project in Louvain-La-Neuve has attracted attention from at least three of the major players in the Belgian real estate domain. Advised by up and coming broker Belsquare, the Thomas & Piron Bâtiment/BesixRed temporary association has sold lot 707 of the project to developer Befimmo, under a 94 year leasehold, for a price reported to be 27 million Euros. This part of the project was initially designated for residential accommodation, but in view of the growing interest in Louvain-La-Neuve as an office destination, Belsquare suggested transforming this into an office designation, which was rapidly and successfully achieved with the local authorities.

Lot 707 is to be constructed on the covering of the vast SNCB-RER car park scheduled in the plans, and will offer some 8,300 m² of office space with 200 parking spaces. The new building will have the advantage of excellent visibility and accessibility, being the first building at the entrance to Louvain-La-Neuve when arriving via the Boulevard de Wallonie.

For its part, Befimmo talks of the new district, as having direct access to the station and to the E 411 motorway. The developer also says that the majority of the space (around 5,000 m²) will be used for a new Silversquare remote/shared coworking centre, with the other 3,300 m² being in traditional office space. First discussions with potential occupants of this latter portion are already underway.The building is set for delivery in 2023 and is expected to attract BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification.

Phased development

At the end of its development, the Courbevoie district will comprise almost 60,000 m² of buildings: 500 residential units, an office building, a few shops and a one-and-a-half hectare park. This whole new district is being developed at the entrance to Louvain-la-Neuve. It will connect the districts of Lauzelle and La Baraque, by means of an elegant pedestrian footbridge which will be inaugurated in the coming weeks.

The architectural design of the project has been entrusted to the architectural offices of Syntaxe, Montois & Partners, R2D2, Cérau and A2M. The construction is being undertaken by Thomas & Piron Bâtiment and Entreprises Jacques Delens, a subsidiary of the BESIX Group.

The first phase of the project comprising 212 housing units has just been successfully completed; all of these have been sold and delivered. The marketing of the second phase of the project, the construction of which started at the end of last year, was launched in March 2020. In addition to the 8,500 m² of offices purchased by Befimmo, this second phase provides for 228 housing units of which 30% are already sold. A third and final phase, comprising two buildings of around 30 apartments each, will complete the development of this large-scale project. The design of these last two buildings is currently under development and will be followed by a permit application file.