As the real estate subsidiary of D’Ieteren Group in Belgium, D’Ieteren Immo is in charge of managing the real estate property required for the development of the group’s activities. Going from offices and workshops, over concessions and logistic centres, even to parking lots. Within this scope, our joint story as building partners started a little over ten years ago. Lead Project Manager Stanislas Vankerkhove has been a fixed asset for almost that entire time.
The very first cooperation between edibo and D’Ieteren took place in 2011. After a procurement procedure, we were appointed for the renovation of a Volkswagen Contact Centre on their Kortenberg site. It showed to be the start of a wonderful partnership that is still in full throttle in 2023.
Never out of sight
As the person responsible for the projects in progress and large investment projects at D’Ieteren Immo, Stanislas Vankerkhove is well-known at edibo. Vice versa too.
“I just missed the very first contacts with edibo but in the meantime, we have gotten to know each other very well. For more than ten years, they have played a crucial role in the expansion of our real estate property. From new office buildings to a variety of Porsche dealerships nationwide; there’s a clear reason why we have been relying on their expertise for so long. Even within the context of strict procurement procedures for all our construction projects, I don’t think a year has gone by that we didn’t work together; and that is something rather exceptional.”
Respect and trust at the right price
Why cooperation is still effortless after so many years? “Two aspects are important in a partnership: respect each other’s work and DNA, and long-term trust coupled with transparency; even in economically-challenging times.”
“These values are extra important for D’Ieteren Immo. With our ‘Invest and Hold’ strategy, we decisively go for the sustainable approach, with a long-term vision forming the basis for all our investments. This strategy is also completely in line with the high values of the family shareholders of D’Ieteren Group.
In practice, this also means that we manage our buildings in-house and that we lease them inside as well as outside the group. A shared long-term vision with the building partner is thus crucial, just like high-quality materials, proven expertise and craftsmanship, and evidently, the right price. The latter is obviously only possible when all previous elements are in order.”
“At the end of the ride, it should also be possible to look behind the clauses in the agreements. Conversations among multiple pairs of eyes, a heartfelt handshake, that too determines a sense of cooperation.”
An appointment with history
As we speak, the largest project ever between these two parties is in the scaffolds, in exactly the same place as where it once all began.
“Together, we are getting ready for an extensive upgrade of our site in Kortenberg. The project was given the name D’Ieteren Park and aims to join together all the teams of associated company D’Ieteren Automotive – known for import and distribution of car makes within the Volkswagen group in Belgium – in a stimulating and inviting innovation environment. A first series of interventions on the strip along the Leuvensesteenweg is only the beginning of the trajectory to revive the site. From major renovations to newly constructed offices, road works and park layout: this will be a total project in different phases that we gladly place in the skilled hands of edibo.”
Realising sustainable promises
As real estate branch of the D’Ieteren group, we act as building consultant in this project that is packed with sustainable ambitions.
“Our goal as real estate branch is to be CO2-neutral by 2040; an ambition we would like to extend towards our complete building portfolio, including leased properties and spaces. Right now, we are looking even further into the future: what can we realise in the field of embodied carbon – managing CO2-emissions – and how are we able to expand the circular aspect even wider?
Every new project is different and challenging but it is still our ambition to maximally challenge all our projects in the sustainability field. Furthermore, we expect a trustworthy partner like edibo that they will remain challenging us in this as well.”
Faith in the building team
What major challenges does Stanislas Vankerkhove expect to pop up? “Not only is the current economy really pressuring the construction industry but the quick-changing society is rapidly affecting the mobility industry as well. Even during the construction process itself, this can lead to sudden game changers.”
“Exactly for that reason, I believe in the power of the building team. There is no such thing as an error-free project but by challenging one another and by improving, you minimise the risk of additional works. You anticipate in tandem because you are working towards a common goal.”
“Which is exactly how they excel at edibo. They have proven this in the past ten years and we trust that they will keep fortifying our partnership in this way for the next ten years to come.”
What do you believe in?
Are you, just like Stanislas Vankerkhove and his colleagues at D’Ieteren Group, looking for an industrial contractor who can look beyond the technical aspect and who is willing to invest in a long-term cooperation?