Wallonia is no stranger to the attraction of railway station districts. Most large scale projects are now concentrated here, whether in Namur, Liège or Charleroi. Take-up in 2020 clearly demonstrates this. While Brussels and Flanders recorded decreases in take-up of 20% to 39%, Wallonia posted its best year with take-up of 120,400 sqm, up by 69% on an annual basis and representing a full 183% of the five year average. Wallonia's regional administrations, prodded in the back by the objective of improving the energy performance of their buildings, were the driving force in the market...

Wallonia is no stranger to the attraction of railway station districts. Most large scale projects are now concentrated here, whether in Namur, Liège or Charleroi. Take-up in 2020 clearly demonstrates this. While Brussels and Flanders recorded decreases in take-up of 20% to 39%, Wallonia posted its best year with take-up of 120,400 sqm, up by 69% on an annual basis and representing a full 183% of the five year average. Wallonia's regional administrations, prodded in the back by the objective of improving the energy performance of their buildings, were the driving force in the market (82 % of the take-up against 18% by the corporates). Rents in Namur and Liège were given a boost and are now in line with those in Antwerp, Ghent and the Brussels periphery. Liège remains the fourth largest Belgian market, behind Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Its stock of 614,000 sqm saw a total of 21 transactions in 2020. Of note were the rental by Synergie Wallonie of 7,000 sqm in the renovated Cala building on the Boulevard d'Avroy (Immobel) along with several rentals between 2,500 and 4,500 sqm in the 'Paradis Express' and 'Liège Office Center' projects, both of these in the Liège-Guillemins station district. In 2021, a first major transaction has already taken place with the rental of 15,000 sqm by Ethias in Coronmeuse (Rives Ardentes). The vacancy level remains low, at 2.5%, during this first quarter of 2021. And this figure is set to remain stable, as new projects such as Paradis Express are entirely let.The Walloon capital has a stock of offices estimated to be around 481,000 sqm, similar to that of Mechelen. In 2020, Namur recorded a significant top transaction with the pre-letting by the Ministry of Justice of the 35,000 sqm or so of the new Law Courts. This building, constructed on the former barracks site, is the third largest 'stand alone' office building in Wallonia, after the Finances Tower in Liège (39,000 sqm) and the headquarters of GSK at Wavre (52,000 sqm). Among other letting transactions, of note are the Wallonia Public Service which has opted for long term rentals in the AXS (24,000 sqm, developed by Baltisse) and Cross Point (10,300 sqm constructed by IRET) projects. Vacancy remains high (6.8%) and may even climb higher in the future. As for Charleroi, the third largest office market in Wallonia, the city has a stock of 210,000 sqm. It should be pointed out that this figure does not take into account the numerous science parks and laboratories, such as the Bio Park at Gosselies. Where transactions are concerned, none of any size were recorded in in Charleroi in 2020. However, it should be remembered that 2018 and 2019 were bumper years, with 54,000 sqm signed during the course of the two years. And 2021 is set to be better: the AViQ (the Walloon administration for quality of life) will commence to prelet in mid-May of 13,000 sqm in the Tirou n°1 building (Iret). Vacancy remains low (2.6%).