Sites to behold

Sites to behold

Sites to behold


IRET Development

Behold a building with a green roof and a swimming pool.

IRET Development is building a reputation as a master in real estate by succeeding with unique projects that blend modern amenities with heritage

From luxury hotels to exceptional offices, Belgium’s IRET Development has demonstrated expertise in tackling the sort of challenging projects other developers tend to avoid. This often means working on beautiful heritage buildings, or on plots of land that others judge to be too difficult to develop. It is an innovative approach that has brought the company considerable success, and the knowledge and confidence to take on similarly complex developments.

“We are active in Belgium, Luxembourg and France, and as an organisation we are located in the heart of Antwerp, which is the diamond capital of Europe,” says Thibaut Gedik, IRET’s Business Developer.

The company focuses on large-scale projects in the inner city as well as in strategic suburban locations, and is active in the retail, hotel, office and residential sectors. IRET often sees potential in projects that, for any number of reasons, other developers might not. The development of Post X in Antwerp, on the site of the former postal sorting centre near the train station, was a case in point. “A lot of parties were interested, but none of them were prepared to take the risk,” says Thibaut. “IRET developed 135,000 square metres of mainly office space as well as a 140-room hotel, and the sale after completion became the most successful transaction in the history of Antwerp real estate. It’s all about going for it and having a vision for the future.”

IRET has also completed work on the immense Tour & Taxis area in Brussels – a canalside industrial site with historical architecture – and has a proven track record in the hotel industry. The Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp is a luxury five-star hotel housed in a red-brick medieval monastery. The hotel boasts 108 unique rooms and is located right in the centre of Antwerp. “You couldn’t find a better location,” says Thibaut. “And the space is really beautiful, with five fine-dining restaurants, 14 meeting rooms and one of the largest city-centre spas in all of Europe.” The spa has an 18-metre pool that overlooks the botanical gardens, a Jacuzzi, steam room and ice fountain, plus several saunas and treatment rooms. The Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp is also a gastronomic destination, with three Michelin-starred restaurants – Fine Fleur, Hertog Jan and Het Gebaar – as well as restaurant 1238, named after the monastery’s year of foundation.

A very high-end development is underway in the South of France, where IRET is working on a prestigious mixed-use scheme on the most sought-after street in Cannes. This development on the city’s famous Croisette boulevard includes offices, commerce and 18 luxury apartments, many of which will have perfect views of the Mediterranean. Its exceptional design includes green roofs and facades that help maintain a pleasing temperature, as well as marble elements, and two penthouses that offer private pools overlooking the sea.

The company is also developing office spaces in Luxembourg, has acquired another significant historical building in the centre of Antwerp, and has several ongoing projects in Charleroi, a Belgian city with huge potential. “It’s about seeing in the present what an area could become over the next decades,” says Thibaut. “IRET sees opportunities in all sorts of areas where we believe we can create something successful. We particularly like projects that have a heritage aspect – buildings with a great past that we can make fit for the future. We try to accommodate renovation and the newly built wherever possible.”