Number 01 - February 2011 
Returning the city to its inhabitants … 
One of the major trends in Belgium over recent times has been to renovate entire city districts rather than just individual buildings. ‘Returning the city to its inhabitants’ is a much-used phrase, and this aspect was illustrated in a number of ways during the recent ‘Sustainable City Districts’ seminar organised in Brussels by Editions & Séminaires. Laurence de Hemptinne opened the seminar by explaining the challenges in terms of CO2 reductions, mobility, public transport… and it concluded with a lively debate which inevitably turned to the question of tower blocks. Christian de Portzamparc, the renowned French planner and architect who won the competition to set out the master plan for the ‘Projet Urbain Loi’ segment of the European district, put the emphasis on openness, views, public spaces and light. He compared the best practice of creating light and views, which is his intention here even where tower blocks are scheduled, to the situation in New York. ...





Belgian architects in force at Mipim Awards again
The ‘Groupe Chèque Déjeuner’ building and ‘Savonnerie Heymans’ are following on in a rich Belgian tradition by being nominated for Mipim Awards 2011. The former is located in the North of France, but is the work of Brussels architects Art & Build along with architect Jean-Paul Rozé. A development by AG Real estate, this building has been nominated in the ‘Business Centres’ category. The ‘Savonnerie Heymans’ project, the work of MDW Architecture, mandated by the developers CPAS (Belgian Social Security body),  will be competing in the ‘Residential Developments’ category.

The density question
One of the questions to be addressed when considering how much extra construction may be required in cities, is that of the density expressed in bare numerical terms. Tamas Polster, DTZ Head of CEMEA Consulting, gives an insight into how Brussels compares to other major cities. In terms of residents per hectare, Brussels is shown to be far behind Paris and London, at something around 55 compared to 200 and 80 for the other two cities respectively. But it is terms of employment per hectare that the topic of extra office space becomes important.

Victor, breathing new life into the South District redevelopment programme
The ‘Victor’ project, to be developed by Atenor (in partnership with CFE), saw its planning and environmental permit requests lodged with the Brussels authorities in December 2010. If all goes according to schedule, construction could begin in 2012. This is a major project for the city both because of its location and its size. Opposite Brussels South Station.  Victor is scheduled to total some 100,000 m² of mixed use space, with residential, offices and a 3,500 m² retail area at the base of the project.  The addition of Victor is set to add new life to the district ...

Port Sud, Brussels canalside redevelopment
The development plans for the ‘Port Sud’ project  is located alongside the canal in Anderlecht. This project based around one building – the former Meunerie Moulaert –  is a joint initiative between the commune, the SDRB (regional development body), the Port of Brussels, the Stib (public transport company), Abatan (abattoir redevelopment) and the City. The overall objective is to improve this somewhat undervalued district through social renewal.

Logistics still expanding in Wallonia
Logistics in Wallonia has announced some of the recent successes within this key industry in the Region. Firstly, the new Janssens Pharmacetica installation currently being built at La Louvière will become the company’s main distribution centre for Europe by 2012. The 25000 m² warehouse, which can be enlarged if required, is located along the E42 and will centralise the existing logistics network spread over 15 sites.  The increasing economic activity has been to the advantage of Liège Airport, which had already beaten the record year of 2008 (518000 tonnes of merchandise) ...

Brussels to feel the pressure from outside
In drawing up its conclusions for the real estate year 2010, CB Richard Ellis observed that not only is Brussels itself changing in some respects, but also that competition is now coming from other cities. The major regional towns located within a radius of no more than 50 km from Brussels – Antwerp, Gent, Leuven and Mechelen – have already been improving their office infrastructures over recent years. And there is set to be additional space of around 500000 m² (Antwerp), 275000 m² (Gent), 180000 m² (Leuven) and 110000 m² (Mechelen) constructed over the next 5-15 years.
Selection from the guide  'Belgium Real Estate Showcase 2011'


Stop smoking and start working...
New life for Lavoisier

The former British American Tobacco (BAT) factory located in the Molenbeek commune of Brussels, has been totally renovated by the SDRB (Brussels Regional Development Agency). The site is served by two metro stations, bringing the South Station with its international and national train services within easy reach,  and is just a few minutes drive from the Brussels Ring motorway. One of the attractive features of this new SDRB initiative will be the extremely attractive prices on offer. Modules from 500 m² can be rented for as little as € 60/m²/year.


08> 11/03, Cannes - Palais des expositions

Seminar 'Antwerp Real Estate 2011'
30/03, Antwerp - Auditorium BNP Paribas-Fortis

Conference ‘Sustainable construction as a source of innovation’
6/05, CIVA, Brussels

24>26/05, Tour & Taxis - Brussels

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