Four ground-breaking developers, Re-Vive, Inclusio, Belgian Land and Home Invest Belgium, are convinced that Molenbeek has a future. Their projects line up 450 homes, new schools, nurseries, offices and shops.
“Molenbeek is not a hellhole, but a heaven for investors…” On the US President Donald Trump’s visit to Brussels, several property developers pointed out the vitality of the property market in Molenbeek, which is trying to improve its image. Some large-scale property projects will take shape in the Brussels district, with 450 homes as the primary focus.
The most representative project is that of the EKLA tower on the fringes of the Gare de l’Ouest. Lead by citydev.brussels and developed by Re-Vive, the project envisages an 18-storey tower which will include apartments for 163 families and 50 students. Apart from the tower, the whole of the island that used to house the Vandenheuvel brewery has been reshaped with the building of a local supermarket, a maternity and primary school, a nursery, office spaces and a new park.
On the other side of the station, Belgian Land – a partnership between the Banque Degroof-Petercam and CBRE –, is developing the Émaillerie project, including 74 apartments, six houses and a nursery. Finally, Home Invest Belgium – a regulated property company listed on the Stock Exchange (ex-sicafi) – promises the Célidée project, located in the street of the same name. In the programme: the transformation of a former office site into 96 apartments and a nursery. The company is also developing the Brunfaut project, located between the municipal square and the MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art). Ninety-three apartments and several community areas are envisaged.
Helping hand from Europe
“Priority area” for the Brussels government, the municipality is also the beneficiary of European investment. In the 2007-2013 edition of the European Feder (the European regional development fund) programme, 108 million Euros were invested in 32 projects, all linked to the development of the Canal area. One the most striking examples of this is the Belle-Vue site, whose redeployment was funded to 2.75 million Euros by Europe, out of a total public injection of 10 million Euros, shared with the Regional and Federal governments. For the 2014-2020 instalment of Feder, 46 projects have been selected to share, this time, a windfall of 200 million Euros.