Catella Residential Investment Management (CRIM) has acquired its second Elithis Residential Tower project in Dijon, France, on behalf of an institutional mandate and steps up its investments in a planned €2bn rollout of 100 towers across Europe. The development, located in Dijon’s Arsenal district, will provide 59 affordable and sustainable homes, together with more than 1,000m² of office and retail spaces and was purchased for around €15m. The deal closely follows the acquisition of a first Elithis Tower project in Saint-Etienne, east-central France, in April for the CER III Fund on the Catella Residential pan-European platform, which also meets the impact investing criteria for the EU’s highest level of institutional ESG investments — the ‘dark green’ SFDR Article 9 category.
Catella has an exclusive supply agreement with Elithis, the French engineering and design company that conceived the energy-positive building concept. The Elithis towers produce more power than they consume at cost levels comparable to standard buildings and by eliminating tenants’ energy bills directly link the ‘E’ and the ‘S’ in ESG impact investing, delivering affordable rents that aim to be around 5% to 10% lower than the average for the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Xavier Jongen, Managing Director Catella Residential Investment Management said: “In April, the EU announced a new target for cutting CO2 emissions – by 55% by 2030. Elithis towers already outperform this target, and the 2050 carbon-neutral end goal, through the use of technologies that render the buildings energy positive from the outset while also providing social benefits as the apartments are more affordable than regular rental units due to the fact that substantial reductions in tenants’ energy costs are possible. This second acquisition in Dijon is particularly symbolic since this is where our partner Elithis Group developed its first energy-positive tower in 2009, which is now the company’s office headquarters. This was the world’s first energy-positive office tower at the time and it continues to far outperform industry regulatory requirements and recognised standard certifications and has become the blueprint for Elithis’ residential towers. Catella is now looking for enlightened investment partners to help drive the expansion of this impact investing concept across Europe.”
Thierry Bievre, CEO Elithis, said: “The urgency to act on climate change is getting ever greater as the world hopefully gets back towards normal, post-pandemic, in the second half of this year, but that will also mean a resurgence in carbon emissions. Net carbon neutrality in Europe in 30 years is no longer good enough and the EU has to raise the bar further and force real environmental and social impact investing in the property industry, which accounts for 40% of global CO2 emissions, overwhelmingly in the residential sector. The Catella/Elithis combination in one of most serious contenders in being able to deliver energy-positive assets at scale and — through this sharp reduction in overall household costs — affordable homes across Europe. There is a need for government and municipalities to clear the way by reforming planning regulation for the new age and releasing land, so this green revolution in the largest asset class of all can get underway.”