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Hines acquires La Distillerie complex in Saint-Ouen (FR)

Voice Of EU



Hines, acting on behalf of the South Korean investor, Hana Securities represented by Vestas Investment Management, has acquired the 13,610m², La Distillerie, an Art Deco building formerly a mint alcohol distillery, located in Saint-Ouen in the northern suburbs of Paris. Under a VEFA agreement, with the sale pending future completion, the development will be completely rebuilt and is due to complete construction in the summer of 2024. The Eiffage Group has agreed to take a long-termlease of the whole building. 


In the heart of “new” Saint-Ouen, between the Docks and the Victor Hugo neighbourhood, La Distillerie is an ambitious project. The aim is to develop an office campus combining the highest environmental and technical standards whilst conserving the historic facade of the former Ricqlès distillery, an emblem of the city’s industrial past.


Designed by B&B Architecture, La Distillerie plans to retain the imposing historic red brick façade on Boulevard Victor Hugo which is typical of 1930s industrial buildings. The property intends to provide generous floor plates exceeding 2,000m², a double height lobby which comprises two buildings connected by a garden level devoted to numerous amenities including concierge services, a fitness room, restaurant space, a business center and an auditorium. The campus aims to offer its occupants 1,500m² of green space and terraces, including an 800m² rooftop shielded from the hustle and bustle of the city, four courtyards, a garden, capacity for 1,300 workstations, 100 parking spaces and bicycle racks.


La Distillerie is Hines’ first green loan project in France and intends to target the highest ESG criteria aiming to achieve BBCA Excellent, BREEAM Excellent, NF HQE Excellent and E+C- level E2C2 certifications. Hines believes this will be a first for a building of this size with a concrete structure. Additionally, 90% of the demolition materials will be reused either on site or off site with bricks from the old building being recycled to construct the new façade. Once operational, 80% of heating and cooling will utilise a geothermal system to help with decarbonisation. This will be coupled with radiant panels and a working temperature range which favours geo-cooling. This set-up will provide CO2 savings of 41% on heating and cooling compared to the use of standard district heating1. The building will also pursue WiredScore Gold certification for user comfort. The construction works are being carried out by Eiffage Construction and commenced in April 2022. Hines France will be responsible for overseeing the transaction pending future completion and the subsequent asset management of La Distillerie.


Xavier Musseau, country head of Hines in France, commented: “Following our recent acquisition of La Manufacture, we are investing once again in the northern area of Paris. The design of La Distillerie corresponds very closely to our ESG criteria and, upon completion, it aims to be one of the first buildings to comply with RE2020 regulations. In terms of the workforce, the building plans to provide users with a unique working environment, dedicated to their professional and personal comfort. We are pleased that the property will be occupied by different entities of Eiffage as the group stands out for its forward-thinking ways of developing generous and bright workspaces.”

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How to create a reading nook for children in your home

Voice Of EU



Nooks to inspire a love of books: It’s easy to create a space for little ones to pick up a page-turner

  • Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book at home 
  • The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and storage 

Children’s books should be enjoyed in private. They should be read under the covers by torchlight after the grown-ups think you’ve gone to sleep; or hidden in treehouses with a supply of chocolate biscuits – anywhere where monsters, pirates and school chums can climb through the window.

Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book. A book nook, if you will. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create one. 

As children’s book author and critic Imogen Russell Williams says: ‘The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and convenient storage for an array of books and snacks.

Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books

Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books

‘Enclosed, cosy and full of soft, warm light, the best reading dens provide the perfect launchpad for a child’s imagination.’

Here are some suggestions.

Swathed in cotton

You can go Princess And The Pea by curtaining off a little cranny with a swirling, regal canopy from The Handmade Scandi Company. These come in pink, white, lavender or ‘cloud’ and cost £56.

For added twinkle, string fairy lights around and switch off the main light. Hey presto: stars in a night sky.

Looking for a canopy in bolder colours? The Rainforest Reading Corner Canopy from TTS Group will brighten up the reading corner (£71.99).

Inhabit an alcove

Find an existing little cranny and put it to good use. Throw in a few cushions, put up some bookshelves and string a curtain across so the mini-reader can shut him or herself away. 

The Kura bed curtain from Ikea comes with windows so your offspring can pop their head out from time to time (£25).

In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself

In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself

Reading tent

Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself. And the little reader can fall asleep among the pages. 

Argos sells a lovely bear-themed tepee made by Chad for £40. Or if you want to build a tepee together, just six bamboo poles and bedsheets held in place with clothes pegs will do the trick.

Build it

Natural light is great, especially for picture books. If you have a big window and can construct some seating around it, it makes a fab place to read of derring-do while staring out to imagine the action. If the window isn’t low down, a ladder up to the seat will add to the fun.

What goes inside

Make furniture comfy and a bit flexible. Your offspring may want to read sitting up or lying down, so some kind of small chaise longue should work well. 

The Handmade Sofa Company’s child-size chaise range is from £425. 

Or if you prefer something that looks like a miniature armchair and pouffe, John Lewis’s £72 Stardust bean bag chair and footstool will look stylish.

Add a desk, and encourage the child to respond to the book — writing their own sequel starring themselves. Ikea’s Micke costs £50.

To kit it all out in matching style, The Great Little Trading Company has a series of themed book storage boxes, display racks, rugs and bean bags. 

Or, if space is limited, you can buy ready-made seat/storage combos, such as the Children’s Bookcase from Little Helper for £97.

Savings of the week! Throws 

Snug: Oliver Bonas's Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is reduced from £45 to £27

Snug: Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is reduced from £45 to £27

You can call a throw a rug or a blanket — which takes its name from a weave first made by Thomas Blanket (Blanquette), a Flemish weaver who lived in Bristol in the 14th century.

But, whichever you choose, you are sure to be snug in bed, or on your sofa if you select one of the reduced price options in cosy fabrics.

The Cotswold Company has a moss grey, chunky-knit blanket reduced from £55 to £40. 

Wayfair’s wide range includes the Christy Oslo throw in the same chunky grey knit, down from £80 to £66.99. has a faux fur throw in a rich cinnamon shade down from £62 to £40. Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is also reduced from £45 to £27, a cut of 40 per cent. 

Faux fur is set to be hugely popular this winter. But if you don’t feel the cold, but want to add colour to a room, Habitat’s Paloma knitted cotton throw comes in cobalt blue and saffron yellow. Its price is £17.50, a saving of £20 (

Anne Ashworth 


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DL Invest Group secures €123m financing for Polish logistics portfolio

Voice Of EU



Macquarie Capital Principal Finance has provided €123.4m in the form of a senior secured loan to DL Invest Group. The three-year facility will be funded using capital from Macquarie’s balance sheet. The loan is secured against 10 modern logistics assets across Poland, comprising of 193,000m² constructed by DL Invest Group over the last 5 years and is fully let to major international companies.


Alexi Antolovich, Global Co-Head Real Estate, Macquarie Capital Principal Finance said: “This transaction demonstrates Macquarie’s ability to utilise its balance sheet to find capital solutions to support its clients, notwithstanding a challenging macroeconomic environment. This transaction involves a strong portfolio managed by an excellent team at DL Invest Group. We are pleased to support DL Invest Group’s continuous growth and believe this is the first transaction of a fruitful collaboration over the years to come.”


Dominik Leszczynski, CEO of DL Invest Group commented: “We are delighted to unlock capital for our next stage of growth as a tenant orientated developer and long-term investor-owner of assets. Macquarie was pragmatic throughout the process, in a period of heighted volatility for Polish capital markets. We worked together to create a bespoke transaction that allows DL Invest Group to continue its strong investing track record.”


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What will stamp duty changes mean for your house-moving plans?

Voice Of EU



The headlines this week have centred on mortgage mayhem and interest rates — but there’s one piece of good news to consider.

Thousands of house buyers completing their purchases in the past seven days have already benefited from the stamp duty cut announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in his controversial mini-Budget, and property website Zoopla says 43 per cent of all homes on the market now attract no stamp duty at all.

The Government says the cut will help stimulate the flagging economy and there are some signs that it’s working.

Savings: Thousands of house buyers completing their purchases in the past seven days have already benefited from the stamp duty cut

Savings: Thousands of house buyers completing their purchases in the past seven days have already benefited from the stamp duty cut

Rightmove says visits to its house sales adverts soared 10 per cent just after the mini-Budget and the number of sales agreed on Tuesday this week was the highest in one day since early August.

The website says this week’s fall-throughs — the number of sales collapsing — are entirely in line with long-term averages.

So with all eyes on the housing market, here’s what’s changing and what’s not…

What are the new stamp duty rates?

There’s no tax on the first £250,000 of the property price — up from £125,000. Higher priced homes are unchanged, so buyers pay 5 per cent duty of the portion from £250,001 to £925,000, then 10 per cent from £925,001 to £1.5 million. You pay 12 per cent on the price above £1.5 million.

Are they the same for first-time buyers?

They pay no stamp duty on properties up to £425,000 (previously £300,000) and 5 per cent on purchases up to £625,000 (it used to be £500,000).

After this week’s furore, will the change be reversed?

Highly unlikely. The change kicked in as the Chancellor spoke on September 23, so thousands have already benefited. 

And Liz Truss doubled down on the cut ahead of this weekend’s Tory party conference, telling the BBC she is ‘very clear the Government has done the right thing’ by taking action ‘to deal with inflation, to deal with the economic slowdown and to deal with the high energy bills’.

What will we pay to move to a new £350,000 home?

Up to £250,000 you now pay no stamp duty — a saving of £2,500 thanks to the Chancellor’s new measure. 

On the portion from £250,001 and £350,000 you pay 5 per cent, which is £5,000. So that’s £5,000 stamp duty on the whole price instead of £7,500 — saving £2,500.

Will the cut send prices soaring?

Again, highly unlikely. First, £2,500 is a handy sum but not enough to convince people not already intending to buy.

Relief: Up to £250,000 you now pay no stamp duty - a saving of £2,500 thanks to the Chancellor¿s new measure

Relief: Up to £250,000 you now pay no stamp duty – a saving of £2,500 thanks to the Chancellor’s new measure

Second, it’s a permanent cut, not the temporary holiday we saw in the pandemic, so people don’t have to rush to buy immediately. 

And, third, there are many more homes on sale today than earlier this year, so demand isn’t far ahead of supply and price rises are moderating.

Could sellers put up their asking prices?

It’s possible — and some will — but this is unwise. With fears that interest rates could hit 6 per cent next year, buyers are very cost-sensitive right now. An unreasonable asking price will mean your home sits on the shelf for months.

Will the cut be wiped out by higher interest rates?

Forty per cent of mortgage deals have been withdrawn temporarily — most will return with higher costs. 

But, remember, government figures show 36 per cent of homes are owned outright with no mortgage. 

Of the rest, it’s estimated three-quarters are on fixed interest rates so won’t see an immediate rise in costs.

For buyers from these groups, the stamp duty saving is genuine and not lost in higher mortgage repayments.

I’m planning to downsize — is there any help for me?

Afraid not. Many housing experts want stamp duty to be tapered to incentivise older owners to move to smaller homes, freeing up bigger houses for families. 

But apart from the Chancellor’s blanket change in the threshold at which duty kicks in, there’s nothing customised for the retiring or older homeowner.

Is Kwasi boosting landlords and holiday home buyers?

With the cost of living crisis, these groups aren’t seen as a priority. So while they save up to £2,500 like everyone else, the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-lets and weekend cottages introduced back in 2016 stays in place. 

And, this week, Labour hinted there might be further taxes on landlords if it wins power.

What’s going on in Wales and Scotland?

Wales’S stamp duty, called the Land Transaction Tax, changes on October 10, after which there will be no tax on homes under £225,000 — up from £180,000 — with small rises for homes over £345,000.

There’s no change to Scotland’s Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, but a budget north of the border on October 24 may change all that.

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