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Brussels residents fight to re-open Hotel Métropole

18:22 16/07/2020

Two residents of Brussels are working to save the Hotel Métropole from becoming an office building or a hotel chain. Benoît Vanparijs and Alexandre Lodzia Brodzki have been largely ignored by the current owners but are not giving up without a fight.

The landmark historical hotel on Place De Brouckère announced earlier this year that it was declaring bankruptcy. Having survived the dip in tourism following the 2016 terrorist attacks, it said it could not weather another storm, namely the coronavirus crisis.

The Métropole is beloved by many Bruxellois, who have taken to its plush interior for drinks or sat on its vast terrace to gaze out at the lively De Brouckère. Built in 1895, it is the only 19th century hotel still in operation in the capital.

“When I heard the unfortunate news about the closure, I immediately thought of a co-operative made up of Brussels residents and the staff at the hotel,” Brodzki, an architect, told Bruzz. “It would be a real shame to see this iconic hotel disappear or fall into the hands of one of the chains.”

Call for experts

Together with Vanparijs, a computer systems manager, he put out a call on Facebook for people with the skills to start such a co-operative to join them. The message was shared 7,000 times.

The pair have contacted the hotel’s management but were told that it was concentrating on union talks regarding severance packages for the staff. Those talks completed three weeks ago, but Brodzki and Vanparijs have still not heard from the hotel.

In the meantime, they have discovered that CBRE, a real estate development firm, have taken over the hotel’s affairs. “They are specialised in the sale of office buildings,” notes Vanparijs. “We are worried that it will be sold with an eye to turn it into something other than a hotel. We are sending a final letter requesting to meet with the management, and if we are ignored, as usual, we will take more definitive steps to secure the future of Hotel Métropole.”

Photo ©Thierry Roge/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

Frank Lee

What's wrong with "one of the chains"? "The" Hotel, Hotel Indigo and Hotel Hubert in Brussels all belong to Pandox AB, and they manage to treat customers very well while giving the impression that they are one of a kind...

Jul 17, 2020 12:19
shirley.foxcastle

The eclectic 19C architecture - especially the ground floor with its gothic lobby, plus the bar and seating area and elegant lavatories - deserve saving. Look what John Betjeman did with the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras! A tourist attraction to which I always take guests.

Jul 17, 2020 12:36
Libertarian

I also think that the management should rather focus to find a new owner to give the place and their staff a chance have a new live. The objectives of these two persons are too fussy. How can the building be preserved without a new owner?

Jul 17, 2020 13:24
shirley.foxcastle

"a chance have a new live"??

Call me fussy...

Jul 18, 2020 19:08
shirley.foxcastle

"a chance have a new live"??

You can call me fussy.

Jul 18, 2020 19:09