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South Korea consortium buys office in Brussels

by Andrea Waitrovich

German fund manager KanAm grundinvest Fonds has sold the last remaining major property within the liquidation of its open-end fund for an undisclosed sum to a consortium based in South Korea.

The asset is Square de Meeûs in Brussels, which totals 427,445 square feet of office and archive space and 400 parking spaces.

With the sale of 48 properties — around 95 percent of the original real estate assets — the fund management has largely achieved the main goal of the liquidation agenda 2016. Only four smaller properties remain in the fund, which only represent 5 percent of the original real estate assets.

The remaining properties are: Le Colombia (Bois-Colombes, Paris), Onyx (Clichy-la-Garenne, Paris), Blaak 555 (Rotterdam) and Robecohuis (Rotterdam). These properties have been handed over to the custodian bank with detailed plans for modernization and letting, including the necessary investment provisions, and the sales are scheduled to be prepared this year.

After strong performances in 2016, office investment volumes in Belgium witnessed a slow start to the year in first quarter 2017, with €520 million ($567 million) invested, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Appetite is still strong as the economic environment is forecasted to remain attractive this year. The prime yield is unchanged at a low 4.5 percent for Brussels and could even witness a slight further compression during 2017.

Office investment volumes reached €590 million ($643 million) during the fourth quarter 2016, bringing the total of the year close to €1.9 billion ($2.07 billion), the highest level since 2007.

Cushman & Wakefield expects 2017 to be a pivotal year for Belgium. Political uncertainties in Europe, increasing volatility and slightly growing interest rates will contribute to slightly decrease the attractiveness on the investment market in the coming years. As a result, investors will be more selective in their acquisitions, mainly focusing on core assets.

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