ION moves up a gear by means of new €123 million development fund

ION moves up a gear by means of new €123 million development fund

  • Focus on large scale commercial real estate projects alongside residential projects 

  • 90% of investors in first fund reconfirm confidence by investing in second development fund

  • First time involvement of institutional investors

  • Increased focus on sustainability in projects

Real estate developer ION has raised no less than €123 million from investors in recent months, for the first time including institutional investors. ION’s second real estate development fund provides additional capacity to develop new, larger scale projects. The developer emphasizes that architecture and sustainability will continue to play a major part in its future residential and commercial projects.

Established in 2011 by Davy Demuynck, Kristof Vanfleteren and Paul Thiers, ION may be a relative newcomer in Belgium, but it has already seen substantial growth. In just over nine years, the Waregem based company, which now has offices in Brussels and Antwerp too, has seen a rapid growth. The all-round real estate developer, employing 87 team members, not only realises high-quality residential projects, but is also active in the office market, student and retirement housing and is involved in public-private partnerships (PPP).

“We are ready for the next step and are gearing up for larger scale real estate development projects. We have now attracted the necessary funding from investors, who have commited €123 million of equity in our ‘Premier Development Fund 2’ real estate development fund (PDF 2). This represents four times the size of ION’s first fund.”  

Davy Demuynck, CEO of ION

Large scale projects

The investors comprise both family offices and entrepreneurs. It is also remarkable that, for the first time, institutional investors are investing in ION’s future projects.

“Over 90% of the investors in the first fund (PDF), established by ION in 2015, have subscribed again to the new fund (PDF 2). This indicates high market confidence and a strong track record. We demonstrate a clear and healthy ambition. Of course, we remain primarily active in the Belgian market. We opened a second office in Brussels and recently a third office in Antwerp.” 

Kristof Vanfleteren, CEO of ION

The real estate developer, based in West Flanders, is also carefully looking at opportunities abroad, and is currently actively analysing the Luxembourg market.

“We have strengthened our organisation in every aspect, both financially and in terms of expertise and are convinced that we have the required tools & skills to continue to grow in new areas.” 

Kristof Vanfleteren, CEO of ION

In the first instance, the capital raised will be used to boost ION’s position in Brussels, Flemish and Walloon Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg and to invest in large scale residential and commercial real estate development projects throughout Belgium.

Sustainability and architecture

In recent years, ION has invested significantly in sustainable solutions for its projects, such as in the Burenberg project in Leuven (the former Acco site) and the redevelopment of the Panquin site in Tervuren. In 2018, the developer realised Belgium's first CO2-neutral offices, the Waregem Business Park (WBP). Sustainability will continue to be a priority in future projects, including geothermal and district heating (heat networks) initiatives. ION has already realised an operational heat network in Turnhout (Niefhout) and is planning the first heat network in Veurne (Suikerpark) in collaboration with Fluvius. 

“ION strives to develop projects that are different. We prefer to work with renowned international architects, of which Oslo based Snøhetta (Roelevard project in Roeselare) and London based C+S Architects (Panquin project in Tervuren and Burenberg project in Leuven) are outstanding examples.” 

Davy Demuynck, CEO of ION

Governance

Similar to the set up of the first fund, ION acts as project manager and fund manager of PDF 2, and also invests in the new fund. The Board of Directors of PDF 2 includes amongst others the CEOs of ION, Davy Demuynck, Kristof Vanfleteren and Rik Missault. The Chairman is Jo De Wolf (CEO of Montea, a listed real estate company).

About ION:

ION is a real estate developer and investor focusing on high-quality architecture and sustainable design. ION has offices in Waregem, Antwerp and Brussels with projects across the whole of Belgium. In recent years, ION has developed around 30 projects totalling €600 million in value (100% sold and built), with some 60 projects in the pipeline representing a value of €1.3 billion. ION has extensive expertise in commercial, tax, legal and financial affairs, enabling it to create added value for all its stakeholders. ION specialises in complex mixed projects that combine both residential and commercial property, employing a dynamic team of 87 real estate specialists. More info can be found at www.ion.be 

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