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Spreading a positive spirit

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Revive follows a clear vision – creating high-quality, sustainable and affordable residential areas, transforming old industrial sites into attractive urban neighbourhoods, making things in a different way. “When we founded the company ten years ago, we believed that time was ready for change,” says CEO Nicolas Bearelle. “Our main ambition was to make the difference in the real estate sector; a traditional sector where innovation is hard to find.”

Together with Piet Colruyt, Nicolas Bearelle established Revive in 2009. In 2010, they started the first investment fund and collected 20 million EUR and in 2012, a second fund with 60 million EUR was set up, followed by a third – ‘The Good Life Development Fund’ – in 2016 with 100 million EUR. Depending on personal ambitions and capital, the company offers different investment opportunities – large investors buy whole blocks to rent, smaller ones more homes or apartments to rent out or to live there themselves.

“We have a long-term vision guaranteeing safe investments,” points out Mr. Bearelle. “The decisive factor is that we are interested in the balance between social, ecological and economic added value. We are a purpose-driven company in a capital-intensive market. We can raise the capital to create opportunities in answering some of the great challenges of our time – the creation of affordable, sustainable housing. Our investors identify with this philosophy. They are people seeing the big picture, looking at the whole world.”

Revive’s innovative approach captures the spirit of the times. Today, with a headcount of 35 employees, the company has projects in all major cities in Belgium, in Gdansk, Poland, and is searching for new opportunities in France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

“We always look at urban areas that are dynamic, have a good geography, high education and enough economic growth combined with innovation, a good public transport infrastructure and policies that support those elements,” sums up Mr. Bearelle. “We operate in the niche market of urban regeneration and typically buy real estate like old factories with polluted soil, construction problems, located in an environment that poses problems. We purchase so called distressed assets and add value; we give non-places a place – a good and liveable place. We start with polluted industrial sites, revive the whole area and create a new contemporary city district with the smallest possible ecological footprint.”

Nicolas Bearelle
We are a successful real estate developer because of the way we work; a purpose-driven company in an intensive capital market. Nicolas BearelleCEO

Revive is keen to create places where people meet each other, where private space and open space go hand in hand, where whatever the area needs is on offer – shops, child care facilities, co-working spaces or an adequate mobility infrastructure for walking and riding a bike.

“Basically, it is very easy,” sums up Mr. Bearelle. “We want to develop urban areas that make inhabitants happy, that spread a positive spirit. We tackle problems in easy ways; simplify problems, see opportunities and solve the problems.”

So far, Revive has developed 17 projects of which six are finalized. Sites are large – 3 to 4 ha and up; the largest one has a size of 16 ha. “We looked at 1,000 dossiers and bought 17 of them,” states Mr. Bearelle. “And I am proud of all 17. We are one of only three companies in Europe – and we are growing by 20% each year which is huge. We are an ambitious lot. Our mission is to create added value for everyone. We generate urban areas, building CO2-neutral and sustainable areas and helping cities to manage the transition into a new era. At the end of the day, we are successful because of the way we work. It is all about doing well by doing good.”

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