The 3rd of February marks the conclusion of one of Brussels’ most significant real estate deals of 2021: the Copernicus building. Originating from an agreement between the real estate investor Alides and the European Commission, the project was developed in close consultation with the Brussels Government. With the 30th of June 2021 set as the date for the completion of the building, the first European officials are expected to move in at the beginning of September.
At the intersection between Rue de la Loi and Rue de la Science, Copernicus is located in the heart of the European Quarter. It is a combination of working spaces and apartments and its floor area of almost 15,000 m2 is distributed over 14 storeys. The building’s facades are light and transparent and the green areas noticeable from the road create a feeling of openness. This is a “an important step in breaking the so-called canyoning of the Wetstraat/Rue de la Loi – the feeling of being trapped when you walk or drive through it” says Alides’s CEO Rikkert Leeman. In addition to that, the 12 apartments located on the side of Rue de la Science are equipped with terraces overlooking the courtyard.
Designed by Brussels architecture firm LD2, Copernicus meets the criteria of the BREEAM Excellent label. “Sustainability was key in the design and elaboration. The materials were chosen on the basis of durability and their ecological performance,” says CEO Rikkert Leeman. “With the exception of the subsoil, all structural elements were prefabricated, which guarantees a fast and efficient construction process. Many building materials are also cradle-to-cradle.” Along with the already mentioned courtyard and trees, the flat roofs are planted as green roofs.
What is more, various measures have been taken in terms of rational use of energy. The decrease of electric consumption thanks to chillers and cooling towers as well as the use of sensors to optimise energy consumption in the office units are two examples.
Even though most of the building’s spaces fall under the usufruct of the European Commission, the deal involved other partners as well. The agreement with the European Commission came about in close cooperation with the broker CBRE and BNP Paribas Fortis bank. “It proves that the office market remains dynamic for high-quality buildings, even in the current circumstances,” says Didier Snyers d’Attenhoven, head of Real Estate Finance Belgium at BNP Paribas Fortis.
“This agreement makes it clear that the European institutions attach great importance to a building that has several advantages: good energy performance, flexibility that allows the integration of different types of spaces, and the use of high-quality finishing materials that contribute to the comfort of the end user. These elements contributed to the agreement between the European Commission and Alides,” adds Jean-Michel Meersseman, Senior Director at CBRE.