One out of five new homes was once an office space in Brussels

OFFICES
Tim Harrup

According to figures from Perspective.brussels – the City urban planning bureau – in the Brussels Region, one out of five new homes was once an office space. Now, as a result of the corona crisis, there is pressure on office demand: employers are encouraging work from home. Large employers such as Proximus, the European Commission and Belgian public administrations wish to make significant cuts in the amount of office space they occupy. This is likely to result in even more conversion of old office buildings into housing, which represents the majority of the offices being repurposed (around 60%).

Nevertheless, the office building development pipeline for the coming years is well filled, with planning permits for more than 400,000 square meters. The largest increase will occur in the Brussels North district. But this will be of great interest for the whole district as these developments project are mixed use and include shops and services. According to figures from Perspective.brussels – the City urban planning bureau – in the Brussels Region, one out of five new homes was once an office space. Now, as a result of the corona crisis, there is pressure on office demand: employers are encouraging work from home. Large employers such as Proximus, the European Commission and Belgian public administrations wish to make significant cuts in the amount of office space they occupy. This is likely to result in even more conversion of old office buildings into housing, which represents the majority of the offices being repurposed (around 60%).

The office park in the Brussels-Capital Region now amounts to some 12.7 million square metres. The vacancy rate was 7.7 percent – almost 1 million square metres of empty offices – in 2020, but this figure hides major differences. No less than 61 percent of vacant office space is located in buildings older than 15 years. The percentage remains very high in the urban districts on the periphery of the region and in the decentralized districts of Brussels because the offer office buildings are no longer in line with demand.