New owner for Shopping Center Gent-Zuid (BE)

ING Real Estate Investment Management Belgium (ING REIMB) has reached an agreement with Fortis Real Estate about the purchase of all shares of the partnerships of Urbis NV and Burlington NV. Both partnerships are jointly owner of the real estate complex 'Gent Zuid', located in the city of Ghent (Belgium), Woodrow Wilsonplein, comprising 11,260 m² retail space, 13,990 m² offices, 18 residential units and 241 underground parking spaces.

The complex is part of the ING Retail Property Fund France Belgium, a non-listed real-estate fund of ING Real Estate Investment Management. The closed-end fund, which has a ten-year lifetime, is suited to institutional investors seeking exposure to the retail sector in both countries.

As of 1 October 2009, Fortis Real Estate will take over the management of both partnerships as well as the management of the real estate complex.

Commenting on the sale, Patrick Meutermans, Country manager ING REIMB: "Today we proudly hand over the keys of this successful property to Fortis Real Estate. Although the real estate markets came to a downfall after our strategic decision to sell the asset, we can look back at this transaction with satisfaction. Besides the operational results, the selling value is completely in line with the market value, resulting in the initially assumed return for our investors. With the sale of the complex to Fortis Real Estate we are convinced that it will have a bright future ahead."

With this transaction a 5-year period of active asset management will be closed off for ING REIMB, during which the complex has seen an almost constant 100% rental level.

Xavier Pierlet, Head of Asset Management, Fortis Real Estate: "We are very pleased with this acquisition, because of both the size as well as the inner city location, which fits perfectly with the strategy of Fortis Real Estate being a multidisciplinary- and long-term investor. Besides we also look forward to the prospective cooperation with Devimo (property manager of the shopping center) and Interparking (property manager of the parking garage) for the project Gent Zuid."

ING REIMB was advised by CB Richard Ellis and Cushman & Wakefield as the commercial real estate agent. During the transaction Cushman & Wakefield acted as the commercial advisor and Linklaters as the legal advisor. Fortis Real Estate has been legally advised by Loyens & Loeff.

Source: ING

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