AXA IM JV buys Belgium’s Wiltcher’s Complex for €120m

The real estate subsidiary of French insurance giant AXA has made the first purchase from its second French fund aimed at retail investors. 

AXA Investment Managers (IM) – Real Assets has acquired the Wiltcher’s Complex (pictured), a core mixed-use property in Brussel’s financial district, for approximately €120 million from AG Real Estate, the property arm of Belgian insurer AG Insurance.

The asset was purchased on behalf of a joint venture between an existing AXA IM fund, AXA Selectiv’ Immo, and a newly launched retail vehicle, AXA Selectiv’ Immoservice. The funds, which are managed by AXA IM, are aimed at French retail investors through life insurance contracts issued by parent company AXA France.

The prestigious 475,000 square foot Wiltcher’s Complex is located in the Louise district of the Belgian capital and comprises a mix of asset classes including office, retail, residential and hotel. The centerpiece of the complex is the 267-room five star Steigenberger Hotel which, at 613 square feet, boasts the largest average guestrooms in Brussels.

“The renowned Wiltcher’s Complex is a true trophy addition to our Benelux portfolio and is demonstrative of our team’s ability to source and acquire highly-sought core assets across specific regions that satisfy the bespoke investment criteria of a client,” said Guy Van Wymersch, head of Benelux, AXA IM – Real Assets. “This investment has provided us with unique exposure to a diversified mix of asset classes.”

The asset also contains an 89,000 square foot office scheme, a 39,000 square foot retail space, a health club, 12 residential apartments totaling 18,000 square foot and 600 parking spaces. Built in 1992, the property is currently almost fully let to a number of high quality tenants.

Antoine Aubry, fund manager at AXA IM – Real Assets, said: “We believe that the Wiltcher’s Complex, benefitting from a prime location in one of Europe’s key markets, has the potential to create excellent value for our retail investor clients, as we capitalize on the strong economic fundamentals of the Brussels market.”

AXA Selectiv’ Immoservice, the firm’s second such French retail vehicle, was launched at the beginning of June with AXA IM looking to build a portfolio of €300 million. Through the fund, the firm will focus on healthcare, social care, student housing, hotel and residential investments.

AXA IM – Real Assets’ previous fund, AXA Selectiv’ Immo, was launched in May 2012. It has since attracted more than €1 billion of capital commitments and contains €1.7 billion of assets.

The firm has more than €65 billion real estate assets under management.