Geneva, the 21st September 2022
AB Alternative Fund SICAV-SIF, European Real Estate Sub-Fund continues to expand its portfolio and has just completed its sixteenth acquisition, with the purchase of an office building in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, from a global investment manager. The asset is ideally located in the student city of Louvain-La-Neuve, in the heart of Louvain-la-Neuve Science Park and UCL University (“UCL”), home of more 260 innovative companies and the 1st Belgian Science Park. The building is only 20 minutes’ drive to Brussels and Brussels Airport, only 10 minutes’ walk to Louvain-la-Neuve train station and also benefits from a bus stop at its front. The UCL educates around 27’261 students from 127 nationalities in all areas of studies at its different campuses. It has educated a large part of Belgium’s elite and is still considered as a centre of excellence in many fields.
While Brussels is the capital of the European Union, Belgium also shines globally through its excellence in the Life Science & Technology sectors. In the last ten years, the Belgian life sciences industry has generated more than 10’000 jobs and more than doubled its exports and R&D spending to reach €83bn in 2021 (e.g. pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotechnology, etc.). Belgium counts seven universities in the top 100 most innovative universities worldwide and UCL is one of them.
The asset has been built to suit for AGC Glass’ European headquarters. AGC Glass is a subsidiary of the Japanese Mitsubishi Group (S&P rating A) and produces, processes and distributes flat glass for the building industry (external glazing and interior decorative glass), the automotive industry (OEM and replacement glass) and various other sectors such as transport, solar power and high-tech applications. The asset is AGC Glass Europe group’s showcase for glass and presents multiple possibilities in terms of architecture, design and innovation. The most advanced and sustainable glass techniques and energy control features have been used to develop this project making it a true example of a green office building, highly awarded in Belgium and on the international scene. The building is a near zero energy building (NZEB) and is BREEAM certified, one of the highest internationally recognised measure of a building’s sustainability. The building totalizes 11’280 sqm area over 2 levels and has nearly 900 photovoltaic panels on the roof with an automatic sun regulation through unique movable glass louvres.
This acquisition is in line with the fund’s strategy to invest in secondary office locations in European dynamic cities, with a strong bias towards the ESG transition. The asset has a strong cash flow stream, which will strengthen the net operating income of the fund, and will definitely enhance the overall portfolio performance.
The deal was originated and advised by Savills Investment Management. On the legal side, K&L Gates advised the fund for this transaction. Savills Investment Management will be responsible for the asset management of this property, including the other assets in the portfolio.