M Square helps rebuild the image of Molenbeek

Tim Harrup

A ceremony took place yesterday which was significant in a at least two respects. The M Square development in Molenbeek, firstly, is of a size which plays a role in providing extra housing in Brussels: it will eventually amount to 250 apartments, along with a crèche and a 141-room rest and care home. Yesterday saw the inauguration of the 63 completed apartments of the ‘C’ building, the completion of the structural works of the ‘D’ building (63 apartments each) and the ground-breaking (in fact a tree-planting) ceremony for the rest home.

The second point of significance comes in the location, Molenbeek. Communal mayor Françoise Schepmans recalled that the initial ground-breaking ceremony came just after the Paris terror attacks, when Molenbeek was on everybody’s lips for all the wrong reasons. Her commune has not yet completely recovered from this in the eyes of the public, but she said that developments such as this were greatly helping in the rehabilitation process. It has to be said that the location, in the green and open surroundings of the Boulevard Mettewie’, have more in common with sought-after residential districts elsewhere in the capital, than with the images of the Chaussée de Gand which were on our television screens.

The development, to return to the bricks and mortar, is by Burco in partnership with Thomas & Piron. Part of the housing is subsidised, and being marketed by citydev.brussels. The architecture is by DDS & Partners, and Archi 2000. The project is expected to be fully complete during 2019.