ION Residential Platform (IRP) acquired 100% of the shares of the company owning the new energy-efficient ‘Canal Brussels Terrace’ development. The building consists of 34 flats, 35 parking spaces, and a commercial ground floor in the Brussels Canal District. With this first transaction, the real estate investor is living up to its philosophy of acquiring sustainable and affordable rental properties in Belgium’s largest cities. “We are convinced that Belgium is evolving towards a larger rental market,” says Sam Bordon, Head of Investment at ION. “IRP wants to enable tenants to keep their overall costs under control by offering them energy-efficient housing, thereby improving affordability.”
The energy-efficient building at Groendreef 12-14 was recently completed and consists of 34 residential units ranging from 45 m² to 120 m². The average energy label of the apartments is B, which places the building among the 5% most energy-friendly homes in Brussels. With this score, the building meets the objectives of Brussels and Flanders to get the energy consumption of every home below 100 kwh/m² by 2050. As soon as the last details are finished, the building will be open to renters.
“The property is located just north of the Brussels city centre, close to the Brussels-North railway station, thus offering excellent accessibility. The Canal District is evolving rapidly, driven by the Brussels-Capital Region’s Canal Plan and the gradual transformation of the office district into a mixed-use zone. The opening of the Suzan Daniel pedestrian bridge, connecting the North District and Tour & Taxis, this summer will further improve accessibility and comfort for the tenants.” Sam Bordon, Head of Investment at ION
IRP acquired the company from KBT Kuwait. IRP’s advisors for this transaction include Stibbe, PwC, and ALIAS. BNP Paribas Real Estate acted as advisor for the seller.
Expanding the portfolio
Founded in March of last year, ION Residential Platform (IRP) was the very first unlisted institutional housing platform in Belgium. It is a joint venture between the fast-growing project developer ION and the institutional asset managers Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors and CBRE Investment Management. Together, they will invest at least EUR 280 million in some 1,000 sustainable and affordable homes in Belgium’s largest cities. The acquisitions will be sourced from ION as well as other developers.
“Our strategy is mainly focused on the acquisition of new build-to-rent projects, but we also have a second existing asset in the pipeline for this year. We are also actively looking for interesting opportunities – like this one – to expand our portfolio.” Sam Bordon, Head of Investment at ION
Evolving towards a rental market
IRP’s vision was clear right from the start: invest in the residential rental market because tens of thousands of Belgians will no longer be able to buy their own homes in the near future. The rising cost of living and real estate prices only seem to accelerate this trend. Today, seven out of ten Belgians own their own home, but experts expect that their number will drop to 65 percent by 2030, returning to 1995 levels.
This trend is most pronounced among the less affluent households (income below 60% of the median). Among them, the number of home owners in our country has steadily declined in recent years (from 45% to 37%) – well below the European average (50%). The need for affordable rental housing is steadily increasing in the Brussels-Capital Region in particular – it’s the most expensive region in the country. IRP aims to provide a solution for the affordability issue and this first transaction perfectly fits this strategy.
“This was a unique opportunity to acquire a new building that can offer a broad target group the opportunity to rent a flat in a new, energy-efficient building. Both housing prices and energy costs have risen significantly, so a sustainable home can help keep the tenants’ overall costs under control. Moreover, the location fits in perfectly with our objective of providing affordable rental housing: close to the centre of Brussels and in a district that is constantly evolving.” Sam Bordon, Head of Investment at ION