'Core investment' Astro Tower goes to Union Investment

Tim Harrup

The Astro Tower in Brussels has a new owner. Union Investment has acquired the landmark office building for its institutional real estate fund UniInstitutional European Real Estate. The vendor is Patrizia AG, who conducted the acquisition, asset management and now sale on behalf of one of its institutional individual mandate clients, South Korean consortium AIP Asset Management.

At 107 metres high and comprising 30 office storeys, Astro Tower is described by Union Investment as having been a feature of the Brussels skyline since its completion in 1976. After undergoing major refurbishment in 2015/16, it received the highest possible level of energy efficiency certification. The office building is strategically located on the inner ring road, at the intersection of the three main neighbourhoods in Brussels’ central business district, and enjoys excellent public transport links. Astro Tower is fully let to Actiris, a public employment service agency, with 21 years remaining on the lease.

Martin Schaller, head of Asset Management Hospitality at Union Investment, comments: “We are delighted to have secured this extremely sustainable office building for our institutional real estate fund. With its long-term lease and its prime office location in one of Europe’s most important markets, it ticks every box for a core investment. The fund attracted significant inflows when it recently opened for investment, and this transaction allowed us to promptly invest the money raised in a cash flow generating asset with a very stable value.”

This is not the first Brussels asset for the Union Investment fund. The UniInstitutional European Real Estate fund (with a volume of 3.7 billion Euros, already holds The Precedent (formerly Le Président) office building and a Motel One hotel in Brussels.

Union Investment was advised on legal and tax aspects of the transaction by Stibbe, and on technical aspects by Bopro. Financial due diligence for Union Investment was conducted by RSM.