RES Awards

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RES Awards

CEUSTERS has been sponsoring the most important real estate dossier awards ceremony in Belgium, the Real Estate Society (RES) awards, for years because they only consider socially relevant projects, taking up the challenge to focus on the high standards required of these projects in terms of reconversion and ESG.

The Real Estate Society is the highly dynamic alumni association of the Executive Masters in Real Estate Management, organized by the Antwerp School of Management with the support of the University of Antwerp.

Ingrid Ceusters explains why this is so important: “Our sector is still often seen having an outdated image because we do not communicate enough about all the contributions our projects make: affordable housing, recovering waste energy for quality of life usages, cleaning up polluted sites, providing solutions for mobility and for flooding, creating safe neighborhoods... these are just a few examples of the significant responsibility we bear as a sector.”

Benoit Devos, director of the Real Estate Society vzw, goes on to explain: “The RES awards are unique because the jury independently analyzes projects submitted in relation to the most important societal challenges. The jury consists of both academics and master builders from major Belgian cities.”

RES has recently organized its sixth Awards, which have become almost as coveted as the international MIPIM awards in a short time. Out of the 40 projects submitted, the following three came out as winners in their categories:




In the heart of Antwerp, the newly erected ZNA Cadix hospital towers impressively with 22 floors, housing 40 distinct medical departments. This architectural marvel is not just a testament to modern healthcare but a beacon of technological advancement, sustainability, and a vision for future healthcare delivery. ZNA Cadix stands as a pioneering institution in medical innovation, boasting hybrid operating theaters that merge the precision of vascular surgery with the immediacy of medical imaging, alongside a specialized center dedicated to the treatment of burn injuries.


However, what truly sets ZNA Cadix apart is its holistic approach to healthcare, seamlessly incorporating various care-related services within its framework. The hospital introduces the concept of the Care Boulevard - a vibrant retail avenue located within the premises on the ground floor, offering an array of healthcare services and products. From pharmacies to hearing centers and health promotion agencies, the boulevard is a one-stop destination for both medical and wellness needs. A pivotal player in this innovative concept has been CEUSTERS, instrumental in the commercial development of the Care Boulevard. Through its efforts, Ceusters has successfully attracted a host of tenants, all unified by a common dedication to healthcare, thereby enriching the boulevard’s offerings and its impact on the community.


Wouter De Ploey, the former CEO of ZNA, envisioned the hospital as more than just a medical facility. “Our ambition was to inject a new dynamism into the traditional hospital environment. The Care Dome was conceived to draw in not only patients, visitors, and healthcare staff but also the local community. Our on-site restaurant serves exceptional cuisine, far surpassing typical hospital fare, and our Care Boulevard has become a magnet for a diverse group of visitors. Our ultimate aim is to integrate the hospital with the wider community.”


Adding to the hospital’s unique charm are the tranquil interior gardens designed for elderly patients, providing them with a serene retreat. Moreover, the incorporation of art throughout the building plays a significant role in enhancing patient wellbeing, further underlining ZNA Cadix’s commitment to creating a healing environment that goes beyond conventional medical care.





Interview with Nicolas Bearelle, founder and executive chairman of Revive, the developer of the Minerve project, winner of the Best Residential Development at the RES Awards 2024. Revive is a company that successfully combines social responsibility with sustainable real estate development.


Sustainability for resilient real estate development

“The real estate sector has experienced many crises in recent years. It is easy to focus solely on returns given the rising financing costs, an energy crisis, the increasing costs of building materials, and detrimental tax reforms. We choose a different path, one in which dialogue with all stakeholders is central, one in which we focus on problem-solving. But we do not do this out of charity alone: by addressing local societal problems, we build trust among all stakeholders, create support from local authorities and res- idents, allowing us to obtain permits more quickly and build with greater density,” Nicolas Bearelle explains.


Harnessing waste energy

“The energy crisis also had little im- pact on the marketing of our dossier thanks to our resilient approach: we took the initiative to set up a district heating network to recover the waste heat from a nearby industrial complex to cheaply and efficiently heat our homes. The multi-kilometer heating network now offers a sustainable solution to the energy issue in various projects in different municipalities. Without Revive, this public-private partnership would not have come about so quickly”.


Creating trust creates opportunities

“We obtained our Spatial Execution Plan (RUP) for 330 homes in 18 months, a record! This was only possible thanks to a climate of trust between all public and private stakeholders. Revive invested in enormous buffer basins to deal with the potential flooding problem. The rainwater from Minerve, as well as from neighboring areas, is recovered and reused for sanitary installations.


Revive also devised the WASCO system, similar to ESCO’s, as a collaboration between public and private sectors to manage water more sustainably. Thanks to our buffers,

the sewage system is spared, and we improve water infiltration to maintain groundwater reserves.”


Affordable housing

“Within the RUP, we were asked to build 20% social housing. Contrary to what is often done, we consciously chose to use the same architecture for these homes as for the other residential units.”


To the question of how to make a project remain affordable given the many extra investments in buffers, biodiversity, and heating networks, Nicolas Bearelle had this to say: “Because the authorities understood the societal significance of our project, they were willing to increase the density of our building zone, and the process was fast.” This time-saving and smooth marketing process have a positive impact on the financing of the project, resulting in affordable prices for the new residents.





The transformation extends to the building’s interior, where the once imposing and cold marble entry hall has been reenvisioned as a warm and inviting communal space. A significant addition to the interior is a 300 sqm auditorium, strategically positioned between two floors previously occupied by office spaces and bathed in natural light, fostering an atmosphere of connectivity and engagement.


In an unprecedented feat of architectural brilliance and visionary redevelopment, the Royale Belge project has not only clinched the prestigious RES awards but has also carved its name in history by securing not one, but two coveted MIPIM awards in both the “Best Mixed Use” and “Best Recon- version” categories. This marks the first time a Belgian project has been nominated for and won two awards at the distinguished MIPIM event, underscoring the project’s exceptional innovation and significance on the global stage.


Originally constructed in 1977 by Royale Belge, later known as AXA Insurance, the building served as office space until its closure in 2017. In a bold move, a consortium comprising four Belgian developers - Cores Development, Foresite, APE, and Urbicoon - acquired the site with the ambitious vision of not merely renovating the existing structure but also enriching the surrounding park with 165 newly constructed apartments. This comprehensive redevelopment plan aimed to breathe new life into the space, transforming it into a vibrant hub for living, working, and leisure. “At the heart of the project’s success is its embrace of mixity. By seamlessly integrating residential living, professional workspaces, dining options, and recreational facilities, the Royal Belge has been reimagined as an iconic destination that encapsulates the essence of modern urban living.


The renovated and reconverted building now boasts 20,000 sqm of office space alongside 18,000 sqm dedicated to “Mix,” a dynamic complex that houses a hotel, wellness center, meeting rooms, and coworking spaces, in addition to a food market that welcomes both residents and visitors alike”, explains Nicolas Billen, Busi- ness developer at Cores Investment.


Guided by the expertise of Caruso St John Architects, renowned for their restoration of historical monuments, the project artfully modernizes the monumental building while paying homage to its architectural heritage. The renovation process involved stripping the building down and replacing the façade with energy-efficient materials that mirror the aesthetic of the original, coupled with selective openings on the rear to enhance the connection between the indoor and outdoor environments.


The commercial success of the project is largely attributable to “MIX,” the entity responsible for developing the hotel, wellness, and auditorium facilities, which proved to be a compelling draw for prospective tenants seeking unique office space within an iconic setting. The interior design, realized in collaboration with the celebrated architect Lionel Jadot, played a crucial role in the rapid tenant occupancy of the office floors, achieving full occupancy in less than 18 months. Following this success, the project was acquired by an institutional investor with a background in insurance, bringing the project’s lifecycle full circle.


Complementing the architectural achievements, the project also included a thoughtful redesign of the surrounding park, enhancing its authentic charm with a new dimension of biodiversity. This aspect of the development underscores a commitment to sustainability and ecological consciousness, setting a new bench- mark for urban park design.

Nicolas Billen explains how the development vision was key in winning these awards: “The Royale Belge project stands as a testament to the power of innovative architectural vision, successfully blending historical reverence with modern functionality to create a space that truly epitomizes the best in mixed-use and reconversion development”


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