The Brussels Finance Tower, the largest standalone office building in Belgium, has changed hands in a deal valued at €1.2 billion, or approximately $1.3 billion. Breevast BV and ZBG Group of Cos. sold the 2.2 million-square-foot office property to a partnership of Meritz Securities Co. Ltd., Valesco Group and AIP Asset Management in the largest single-asset transaction ever recorded in Belgium.
The Finance Tower, originally developed in 1983, stands 36 stories at the center of Brussels’ central business district. Breevast and ZBG had owned the property since acquiring it in 2001 for €311 million, or approximately $345 million in current figures, in a sale-leaseback transaction with the Belgian federal government. In 2005, the partners commenced what would be a three-year, €325 million ($360.6 million in current figures) redevelopment program. Today, the building is home to various federal ministries and agencies, including lead tenant Federal Public Service Finance, under a long-term government lease scheduled to expire in December 2034.
CBRE represented Breevast and ZBG in the sale of the Finance Tower, while Ashurst and Arcadis stood in for the buyers. The transaction isn’t just significant in the Belgian market, as it also marks Europe’s largest real estate trade of 2020 thus far.
European appeal endures
Brexit, economic uncertainties and political concerns are making some investors skittish about commercial real estate in Europe; however, like Seoul, South Korea-based Meritz and AIP and London-based Valesco, many others are keen to remain active in the region. Hines commenced the New Year with the first closing of Hines European Value Fund 2, with commitments totaling roughly $708.9 million, more than half of the fund’s $1.4 billion target equity raise. Six months ago, Ares Management Corp. completed the final closing of its Ares European Real Estate Fund V SCSp with $1.9 billion in equity commitments, notably above the original $1.4 billion target. And Breevast and ZBG plan to use proceeds from the disposition of the Finance Tower to invest in key markets in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, as well as the U.S.