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LIÈGE, THE DEALS EXPECTED TO SHAPE THE MARKET IN 2020

PART 3 – Liège, the deals expected to shape the market in 2020 | Written by Shane O’Neill

In the concluding article of our three-part series on the Liège office market, we look at how Liège will demonstrate its resilience in the face of the COVID-19 in 2020 with our local expert, Stéphane Moermans, Head of our Wallonia office at Cushman & Wakefield.

With new developments slated to hit the market en masse over the coming four- to five years, a long-required increase in activity has now been set in motion. We examine the deals expected to shape the market in 2020 – despite the complications brought about by the COVID-19 situation.

Our prediction is that Liège will record take-up in the region of 40- to 45,000 sq m without too much difficulty in 2020. To put this figure in perspective, the five-year average in Liège has been just over 28,000 sq m – including an outstanding 53,000 in 2019. We outline below the major moves expected this year.

CHART: LIÈGE TAKE-UP AND FORECAST, SQ M

Deals linked to upcoming deliveries

Liège Office Center (11,000 sq m, Guillemins district) is now fully let and accounted for 5,500 sq m of deals in 2020 alone, most notably this includes a 1,400 sq m letting by EY.

◆ The nearby Paradis Express saw the SPW prelet a further 4,000 sq m earlier this year and Silversquare (Befimmo’s in-house co-working operator) will occupy 4- 5,000 sq m on the lower floors as announced in the recent results. Negotiations for the remaining 6,000 sq m are well underway with serious leads.

Deals linked to existing assets

❖ The 1,700 sq m currenly available in the Parc Zenobe Gramme will soon be occupied with a letting for 1,400 very close to fruition and strong demand for the remaining 300 sq m.
❖ Espace Guillemins: an agreement with IDEWE for a 500 sq m is nearing completion.

In addition, Ethias have made no secret of their wish to wave goodbye to their emblematic Rue des Croisiers headquarters in the centre of Liège. They are looking for as much as 17,000 sq m of new office spaces and have a strong desire to come to a decision by the end of 2020.

Further spaces of tangible interest to other occupiers on the move this year include En Féronstrée 54 (10,000 sq m) as well as CALA (6,500 sq m remaining).

Major owners and developers on the Liège office market are reassured by the solid foundations of demand in more uncertain times such as those we currently face. It is no secret that traditionally, Liège’s main occupiers are the public sector as well as the banking and finance sectors. These players can be relied on to maintain the strong current market dynamic, particularly with the strong speculative pipeline in Liège (see our previous blog post) as a great catalyst for future activity.

Stéphane Moermans, Head of Office Wallonia

The SPW’s (Walloon government) recent occupational strategy review (see our first blog post) already took the possibility of allowing staff to work from home into account. Therefore, there is no need to fear any downsizing of their occupied spaces.

Reassuringly demand from the private sector remains healthy. This is on the back of increased demand and interest stemming over more recent years with several more deals in the pipeline for 2020. Of course, certain smaller structures such as start-ups are more likely to put their relocation strategy on hold and therefore have a lesser impact on the net take-up this year.


Looking for some new office opportunities in Liège or elsewhere in Wallonia?


CONTACTS

Shane O'Neill

Shane O’Neill
Senior Research Analyst
+32 (0) 473 26 68 31
Shane.oneill@cushwake.com

Stephane Moermans

Stéphane Moermans
Head of Office Wallonia
+32 (0) 473 52 68 93
Stephane.moermans@cushwake.com


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