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Brussels-City orders rethink of plans for old Belgacom building in Sablon

22:53 31/01/2021

The City of Brussels has asked property developer Immobel to withdraw its building permit request for the empty Belgacom building in the Sablon, in a victory for a coalition of local businessowners, residents and cultural institutions who have been fighting its demolition.

The building takes up the right side of Rue Lebeau as it snakes down the hill from the Place du Grand Sablon towards the city centre.

Immobel had planned to demolish and replace it with a much taller and denser building. It must now submit a new request for a planning and environmental permit so that the application for a planning permit can be submitted for an impact assessment study.

A rarity, the Modernist building, built during the 1950s and 60s for the telephone company, was designed to relate to its surroundings and preserve the existing urban fabric, visually connecting the splendid enfilade of facades on the other side of Rue Lebeau to the Royal Library.

The local campaigners' basic demand is that Immobel make good on its stated objectives when it bought the building in 2014 - "to maintain the bearing structure and the existing facades to create an urban project that integrates perfectly into its environment and its socio-demographic and cultural fabric".

Now that the City of Brussels has ruled against the current plan, the neighbourhood coalition Sauve Lebeau Sablon is concentrating its efforts to make sure that the impact study be conducted impartially and that the neighbourhood has a say in the formulation of the new plan.

The group can be contacted at

Written by Richard Harris