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Another budget hike for Belgian Beer World: ‘hallucinatory and insane,’ says opposition

13:46 07/09/2021

Another €600,000 has been added to the budget of the new Belgian Beer World attraction, under construction in the historical Bourse building on Anspach. While that might not seem so bad for a project with a price tag of more than €50 million, it’s the umpteenth hike in the price and so is ruffling feathers among the opposition in the Brussels-City council.

“The budget for this building has gone from €43 million to nearly €60 million,” said Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène (MR) at last night’s council meeting, where members saw an additional €598,000 added to the cost. “This is an hallucinatory level of amateurism.”

The near €60 million price is for the complete restoration and renovation of the building, not only for the establishment of the new beer museum. But the additional €598,000 is specifically earmarked for the museum.

Per square metre

“I have the impression that extra budget is added to this project about every three months,” said Mathilde El Bakri (PTB). “it’s ‘only’ half a million more, I hear, but that’s added to all the other additions to the budget. These budgets continue to explode, and who’s going to end up paying for that?”

Mayor Philippe Close (PS) defended the project, explaining that the cost of materials has gone up since the original budget was drawn up two years ago. Coomans de Brachène was having none of it.

“This is about the design of the museum, not about materials,” he replied. “In the beginning of this legislature, you proposed the budget of €43 million as if it was definitive. Now we are at nearly €60 million, with another €600,000 on top of that. If you look at how much this projects costs per square metre, you can see how insane it is.”

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw