The Latemse Kluis, the former country residence of the Dominican Fathers in the Kapitteldreef in Sint-Martens-Latem, has still not found a new owner after three years. At real estate agency Engel & Völkers, they see a few interested parties passing by every month.
The exceptional villa, designed by Edgar Magerman, was built in 1930 with a living area of 600 square meters on a plot of no less than 4,685 square meters. The building has an elongated rectangular shape covered with a high ogival roof with triangular dormer windows. The villa is known as ‘De Latemse Kluis’ and is the former country residence of the Ghent Dominican Fathers. Since 2013, the unique building has been owned by businessman Herman De Bode, chief of staff of Jan Jambon (N-VA) when he was Minister of the Interior.
Permits not easy in Latem
It was put up for sale three years ago, but a new owner has not yet emerged. “It is just a very specific building,” says Phil De Clercq of real estate agency Engel & Völkers, who included the Kluis in their offer 14 months ago. “It is on the list of architectural heritage, so adjustments are not self-evident. In addition, it is located in a residential park, so the greenery must remain there. The site cannot simply be split in two to build a new home on the other part. A permit is required for this and everyone knows that this is not easy in Latem.”
Isn’t the price of 2.4 million euros too high? “No, because I don’t think that a lower price will help the owner cover the costs of the renovation. There are people who want to borrow a million for it, but the current high interest rates deter them. Hopefully there will be a change in that regard next year,” he said.
Six site visits
The fact that a new owner has not yet been found does not mean that there is no interest. “No, we receive 2 to 3 requests for more information every month. In those fourteen months this is around thirty. Six of these led to a site visit, but not yet to a sale.”
“For example, there was someone who represented a Swedish door hardware brand and wanted to use the space upstairs to show the collection to contractors and architects. But he came up against the fact that there is no parking in the immediate vicinity. Visitors must park 100 meters further at the Museum Gevaert-Minne. “I can’t imagine that my customers would be fined if they parked here in the lane,” he noted.”
“There is a pleasant home on the ground floor, but the new owner will have to be someone who can use the large upstairs space. For example, I am thinking of an architectural firm,” concludes De Clercq.