Heppignies Recolor

New Trafic warehouse in Heppignies is the largest Walloon real estate transaction in 2015

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Sustainable growthFuture logistics
Brownfield redevelopmentStandard warehouseRetail

Trafic is set to rent a 20,000 m² warehouse from WDP on a 4‑hectare piece of land in Heppignies. Trafic is known as a distributor of textile and interior products with a network of 70 stores in Wallonia and a number of establishments in Flanders, France and Luxembourg. According to the experts, the contract represented the largest real estate transaction in Wallonia in 2015. The retail chain wants to centralise the storage capacity in Heppignies, thereby vacating two old warehouses that are no longer compliant in terms of functionality, insulation values and fire regulations. The contractor started construction straight away. The tenant must be able to move in by the summer

The building was completed in September 2016

WDP’s success in completing the largest real estate transaction in Wallonia thanks to the 20,000 m² warehouse is very welcome but even more striking is the site’s history. This is a site where GSK used to produce penicillin. The site has been abandoned since 2009 WDP purchased the land in 2011, had the existing buildings demolished and the soil remediated, while biding its time until a suitable party presented itself. A building permit had already been requested and obtained. Many developers are afraid of making such an investment if they do not find suitable tenants or buyers straight away. WDP has taken a risk in this case but at the same time gained a strategic landholding enabling the company to start the building work straight away as soon as an applicant appeared. And things did move fast in practice. The groundwork was already being undertaken, even before Trafic had definitively signed the contract,” 

says François de Villenfagne, the JLL broker who oversaw the agreement.

Trafic’s position still had to be adjusted during the negotiations. To start with the entity wanted to buy the land to do the building itself but WDP persuaded Trafic to opt for a long-term rental. 

The rental cost turned out to be more worthwhile for Trafic in the end. It could also avail itself of WDP’s extensive knowledge about the construction and the use of warehouses. For example, Trafic had special requirements concerning vehicles driving in and out. These were carefully studied and implemented. This way a customer gains access to a great deal of advice and experience,” 

says François de Villenfagne.

He stresses the extent to which this landholding offers WDP a competitive advantage. 

Wallonia admittedly does not have any shortage of land but nor is there an abundant supply. Particularly if the sites have to be large enough to ensure a smooth connection with the road network. The site also has the advantage of being located 500 metres away from Charleroi airport.”

With this one transaction, moreover, the site is still far from being covered with buildings. WDP has a total area of 16 hectares at the location, so there is still 12 hectares to spare. This represents a building potential equal to roughly 60.000 m².

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