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Government pays €2 million annually for near-empty building
The federal government is paying nearly €2.2 million a year in rent for a 10,000 square-metre building in Schaerbeek where only 40 civil servants work. That staff is now being transferred to another location, so the government is considering what to do with the building on Rue des Palais.
The entire situation started in 2001 when the government, under prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, found it fiscally prudent to sell some government-owned buildings and lease some of them back. The building on Rue des Palais (pictured), then home to many more finance department workers, was sold to German real estate fund Deka.
The rental price at the time was €105 per square metre, or about €1 million a year. Since then, the rental price has more than doubled, to some €2.2 million a year. In the meantime, most of the building’s staff have moved to other locations. The rental contract, however, runs until 2026.
The federal buildings department now has three choices, it said: Move other federal workers into the building and continue to pay the rent, find another renter and sub-let or try to get out of the contract with Deka.
Until action is taken, the head of the buildings department said, the building could possibly be used to house homeless families. The dire situation for homeless families in Brussels was indeed in the headlines this week.
Photo courtesy Google