Heated controversy: Demolition and reconstruction of the former KBC site on Avenue du Port in Molenbeek

The project for the demolition of part of the former KBC site on Avenue du Port and the transformation into housing units and a hotel has gained a positive opinion.

The KBC site, building 12 and 14, consisting of green roofs is only 20 years old. However, the bank no longer needs such a big space for its activities and has decided to resell an entire block.

The new project is being carried out in collaboration with the Master Architect of the Brussels Region and the architectural competition was won by Bas Smet. The developer has decided to build 244 housing units as well as a 139-room hotel, 66m² collective-interest equipment, 1,500m² of offices, 1,300m² of shops, including a space for the catering industry and 200 parking spaces in the basement.

However, inhabitants of the region as well as environmental associations like Inter-environment and Bral, have opposed the demolition and reconstruction project. They argued that they do not understand the need for demolition, considering that the buildings are new. Local residents further complained about the densification of the canal area and the height of the buildings.



On the other side, the promoter argued that the places are unsuitable for conversion and he wants to give a new image to Avenue du Port. This will also allow for a small green space and sort of openness to the neighborhood.

A positive but conditional decision

The consultation committee gave a positive opinion on the project with a favorable majority. However, they requested that the building on the street front should have 4 instead of 5 floors. Furthermore, the number of apartments must be revised downward. The commission demanded that the collective equipment of 66m ² which is actually a nursery, grows to 150m ² in order to accommodate more children considering the number of apartments envisaged.



Originally the premises would be closed off, however, it was later requested that the premises remain open.

Brussels Environment added that the impact on mobility and parking in the neighborhood will be greater than expected by the developer.



A final decision has yet to be made. However, an appeal is expected.