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Everland Group takes on the Brussels property and hospitality market [PODCAST]

Thierry Jousse Everland

The name Everland may not ring a bell, but you've probably already eaten or stayed in one of their hotels or restaurants. Chambon Résidences, Pantone Hotel or Château de Limelette, these prestigious addresses are all owned by the Everland property group.

Their approach? To make the city a more creative and inspiring place, through innovative concepts and rigorous management of their establishments.

In business for 14 years, Everland is a dynamic, diversified group that has kept pace with the times. The company has ambitious projects to its credit in several sectors: hotels, restaurants and real estate.

Overview of Everland's hotel projects

In the hotel sector, there are projects such as :

  • The Pantone Hotel which won the "Best Design Award Worldwide";
  • Hotel Yadoya Designed in 2017, this 73-room hotel is inspired by the land of the Rising Sun;
  • The Hygge hotel This former manor house has been converted into a modern design hotel with Scandinavian accents. Nestling in the Louise district, a stone's throw from Place Stéphanie, this hotel won TripAdvisor's Traveller's Choice Award in 2020;
  • Limelette Castle Limelette: the group's latest project (and not the least). Once a flagship tourist attraction in Walloon Brabant, the Château de Limelette in Ottignies has been derelict since the former manager went bankrupt in 2018. But Everland intends to restore it to its former glory by converting it into a luxury four-star hotel.


Overview of Everland's restaurant projects

On the restaurant side, the group owns establishments such as :

  • The Storyteller A newcomer to the Brussels gastronomic scene, with a focus on the pleasures of Oriental cuisine;
  • Bia Mara A fast-food restaurant known for its seafood and fish dishes. Their speciality? Fish & Chips!
  • Woodpecker The restaurant chain is made up of a number of establishments located in Brussels' trendiest spots. They offer a concept that is both festive and gastronomic (weekend brunches, kiosks in parks, music programmes, etc.), etc.).


Everland Group property projects

But Everland is also about large-scale real estate projects:

  • Chambon Residences The aim is to create an apartment-hotel in the listed part of Le Chambon. All in keeping with the neo-classical architectural style that is the main feature of this beautiful building. Chambon Résidence also won the MIPIM "Best Refurbished Awards"; 
  • Keren: The Keren project involves the conversion for sale of a block of 3 buildings ideally located on the prestigious Avenue Louise in Brussels. Keren, a subsidiary of the Everland group, has decided to run a crowdlending campaign on the BeeBonds platform. With this fundraising, Everland Group's shareholders are looking to refinance themselves (in part only) in order to seize other opportunities and/or secure other property projects.

In this podcast Thierry Jousse, COO of Everland, presents the strategy and success stories that have made the group famous.


Subscribing to a Capital Raising involves an element of risk for the investor with regard to the repayment of capital and the payment of accrued interest. Before investing, please read the information memorandum. For individuals resident in Belgium for tax purposes, interest received is subject to a withholding tax of 30%.


Joël Duysan, CEO BeeBonds

Welcome to the BeeBonds, the crowdlending platform. My name is Joël Duysan and I'm the founder of BeeBonds. In each episode, we're going to introduce you to the people behind the projects we're financing, and we'll unveil their vision and their backgrounds. We'll also look at the issues involved in financing companies and investment strategies to boost public savings and company cash flow. Enjoy!

Thierry Jousse, COO Everland Group

Good evening, and thank you very much for coming. Joël asked me to give you a bit more background on Groupe Everland. The Everland group is actually made up of two investors who have been partners for 14 years. So you could say that we're a fairly young group, or you could say we're young with 3 ants. The 3 ants, in fact, are the 3 levels for perfect management, if it's now a building that we renovate, we put a concept on and we develop it into office operations, cohousing, coworking or a 'Hospitality' project.

And then my colleague looks after everything to do with development and construction. I can tell you that through this covid crisis that has affected the hotel and catering industry quite a bit, we've come through it quite well, with a loss of more or less 75 % less than the market. Now, how did we do that?

Our plans of attack and our strategic plans are not based on a conventional structure, but on an unconventional one. In other words, our operations, whether it's just the Keren project or the flats or hotels project, are based more on the variable. Because all the risks that we have today are in the fixed, the variable, today are in the staff and in the supplies, the supplies, you can put them, you can leave them three months, six months, nine months.

But the fixed payroll, the new staff, that's where it hurts. Unfortunately, the authorities over the last 12-24 months haven't really helped the sector, which is why we're working with BeeBonds, because the banks have said okay, fine. If this is the market that is now the hotel and catering industry, we're going to put it aside for 18 to 24 months until things pick up again. We're waiting for that.

Our group didn't wait for that. Why not? We saw that during covid and after covid, all the projects that were in the pipeline and fortunately, we were right. The value of all the pipeline projects came to 105 and 110% more after covid than before covid, even without being developed. So Everland mainly develops hotels, we develop buildings from A to Z.

What is the added value? What is the market? And we develop it with an in-house intelligence team and all the variables: engineering, stability, risk assessment, we outsource. Why do we do this? It limits our medium and long-term risks. In the short term, we can change gear very quickly. I don't know if any of you are familiar with the group in terms of hotels, probably for all the old hotels that we bought, renovated and put back on the market in Yadoya and Hygge are two hotels that we developed from 2016 to 2017.

To tell you the truth, the Hotel Yadoya was the building on Boulevard d'Anvers, right next to the Citroën garage, where nobody believed in it. Boulevard d'Anvers, I don't know if you know the area. It's still quite difficult to walk there in the evening from 9 o'clock onwards. Nevertheless, it's our hotel that performs the best. It's a three-star hotel and it's the price of four stars plus five stars. During the week, we pay 209 euros for a room.

Why do you ask? The products we offer are like a 3-star room with 5-star materials. Not the service, because our approach, as I say, is rather flexible. All the extra services, we can see that tourism has changed. Everyone who comes to Brussels has their own experience. It's a big change because it means that we, as Everland operator and manager, can very quickly change gear to reduce our investment in payroll.

Security, we guarantee our profit realistically with extra services and extra profits as cherry on the cake. Groupe Everland is not very well known on the commercial market, because it's a management company. What we manage are our assets, analytically, not commercially. We have a child, we have our own projects at 100% local, Belgium. The two owners of Everland are Ilan and Avi Haim. They are two gentlemen who came over from London, who also have a portfolio and who believed in property development with services, but services that are paid for elsewhere in Brussels.

They started with the Pantone hotel here in Brussels, near Place Loix, and ran it for 12 years. It was a big change because the hotel won the best design award Worldwide with a small hotel of 65 rooms. In the meantime, yesterday we opened Yadoya. We've just reopened the Scott Hotel. We opened it in August 2021. We renovated it during the Covid crisis. We opened another hotel, the Urban Yard, three weeks ago, near the Gare du Midi on Boulevard Poincaré.

Also, on the night when nobody wants to be there, but it's weird our hotel is at 92% occupancy. Why is that? Because we take a variable and flexible approach. Our group exists since 2008, 2009 until 2015 with one hotel. Between 2015 and now, we have quadrupled, because of our very flexible and variable investment approach. We have aligned ourselves with an international partner who has given us three major projects in Paris, Rome and Brussels.

But success is not just about a specific project. You have to set your parameters so that you can feel the market for student housing, coworking, off-space, hotels, flats, short midden long stands, because everything is interconnected. During the Covid crisis, quite a few hotels asked themselves and their bankers the question. Are we going to refinance? Should we sell? And all the bankers said, no problem, just give us the interest, the capital we'll talk about later.

Because they knew very well that if they went into overdrive, the bankers would also lose. So what happened? Well, in the meantime, during the covid break, where we are now, the bankers naturally want to make a bit more money. I hope there aren't too many bankers in the room, and for the moment there isn't, as I said, a banker saying "let's set it out", we're going to look at the valuation. As for the moment, the valuation figures for the hotel markets are not known because no one will share this figure until the first quarter of next year.

We're going to the local market with our local partners. Look, we're going to see an unforgettable stay. Hotel Yadoya, Japanese hotel where the tables in design. There's a fifth piece that was brought from the Japanese ambassador, especially in Brussels, to anchor it in the design tables. Do something different. That's why we started the collaboration with BeeBonds, we're doing something different, because I don't think there are Hospitality projects and projects like Keren that you have at the moment.

So we're doing something different. We're convinced we're going to succeed because we can already see the profitability of our projects. We're a very stable group, with projects ranging from small to medium-sized to large. But that's not because each project is managed with the same partner. Keren is a local project. It's a very interesting local project. Another major project is the Hotel Président, near Boulevard Albert II, in the Proximus buildings.

Right at the back, one of the big hotels with a great reputation was built in 84 when there was still the idea of four WTC towers. The WTC tower opposite the Gare du Nord is currently being demolished. There will be a new project involving another hotel, The Standard, which is now being set up in Barcelona, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

So we're busy seeing a real change in Brussels in terms of buildings, what we call "building with concept", with colour and identity. So, our three other Sheraton projects at Place Rogier. We are going to develop our own brand together with Marriott monde, the same thing we are going to develop in Paris 850 rooms, the same thing we are going to develop in Rome 650 rooms "Urban Resort" hotel with a fantastic spa. We have other very sexy, very beautiful projects. I don't know if everyone has heard of the former Château de Limelette for a break just outside Brussels.

Probably everyone was there ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. But the last few years, with buses, only Chinese people went. Sorry, I've got nothing against the Chinese. But if you know the history of the Château de Limelette, we should be ashamed, and there are a lot of historical sites that we need to revitalise. Just this lunchtime, I had lunch with the owner of Magritte's rights. Now I can tell you that even Magritte in 2023 will be the year of Magritte, 125 years of Magritte.

We don't do enough of that and due to opportunities in real estate, with a colour, with an activity. And we don't know how to do that with an international partner who doesn't understand this market. Because he's looking at comparisons between Barcelona and Madrid. He's telling us that 20,000 euros per square metre is no problem. I'm sorry, but where I sign, it doesn't work. There are levels to climb and we have to climb them together, with our partner, our public.

So it's not for today. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but there's a very nice project on Château de Limelette . We can talk about it later. Fantastic hotel, the Orangerie, the old gardens. I don't know if anyone knows the history of the Château de Limelette. It was Madame Barones who invited the BCBG from Brussels and surrounding areas and who is invited to have a moment of rest for one day, two days, three days.

And there were spas and very good food. Now we're going to go back to a very good gastronomy, with real spas, real private baths that you can hear here. We shouldn't be going to Hong Kong or Shanghai, Thailand. We'll have it here. And if we are to believe our project at Diegem airport for 300 rooms with the Accor brand, the major distributor Accor, a major hotel group, I believe one of the biggest in the world.

So this is also a project that we're doing locally, because the airport is once again undervalued in terms of value. But for the moment, we've seen that between 2015 and 2020, the region that has seen the fastest growth in turnover is the building industry, and especially airport hotels. We have analyses on this. We can share it later on another project. I know I was here to talk about Keren, but I can't do anything about it, I'm too enthusiastic.

We have quite a few concepts. I've taken a small part of Everland, excuse me, but it's also a building that we're very enthusiastic about. You're all familiar with the Chambon project, which was the former National Bank of Brussels, where at least the governor was part of the Chambon project. This is something we'd really like to do. We're not out of the woods yet, because there are so many beautiful things in this room and in this building, but these are also buildings that we own and we're looking at their value in terms of turnover and profit.

We're also in a small branch of restaurants, so I don't know if you know Bia Mara Fish and Chips, Urban Food, a very good Mediterranean Israelian restaurant, Le Conteur which just opened a year ago. Bia Mara Fish and Chips, Woodpecker for everything fajitas, always very light, very good. Once again, the lean secret is not too many staff, payroll and working with local produce so that we don't have too much transport and our basic products aren't too expensive.

Ultimately, my job is to deliver profits. I can say that because here, we're all in it for the profit and that's what makes the profit and at the same time, the customers also have a good experience, whether it's sleeping in the hotels or staying or having a good meal in the restaurants or in our flats, or projects like Keren in our studio. I stayed within 15-20 minutes. Here Joel.


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