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Developers to submit planning request for historic Axa building

Illustration picture shows the Axa headquarters (BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ)
10:37 29/10/2020

By 2023, Axa's former headquarters in Watermaal-Bosvoorde should be completely renovated, housing a hotel, an open-air swimming pool, restaurant and a lot of office space.

According to project developer Nicolas Billen of Cores Development, an application for planning permission will be submitted to the Brussels Capital Region authorities within the next few days.

The complex, which will bring new life to the revamped building has been designed by British architectural firm Caruso-St John and Antwerp architects Bovenbouw, after they jointly won the design competition for the Axa building at the end of last year.

The building, which was originally built in 1970, has been empty for three years, and was previously earmarked to be the new American embassy but plans for this were scrapped.

Now the design for the estimated €40 million renovation is finished, the developer Souverain 25, a consortium of several real estate investors including Cores Development, will hope to get the go-ahead from the Brussels region by early November.

When completely renovated, the cross-shaped building will house a hotel with 212 rooms operated by Brussels-based group Limited Edition Hotels. There will be an open-air swimming pool, although it is not yet clear if it will be part of the hotel or not, as well as a restaurant and bar, plus a sports and wellness centre with a view of the Sonian Forest.

The rest of the building will be given over to office space. There are no confirmed tenants as yet, but some law firms have already registered their interest, as well as a number of consultancy firms and a large bank. From the offices, the architects promise "magnificent" view of the park and lots of natural light.

The intention is to be able to open the doors of the renovated building in January 2023. It is now primarily waiting for planning permission.

Earlier this year, the same developers obtained planning permission to renovate an adjacent project in the Vorstlaan, where they want to build apartments. This licence is currently being challenged in the Council of State by the citizens' collective Friends of the Sonian Forest.

Written by Nick Amies



So after Watermael-Boitsfort (Watermaal-Bosvoorde is the Flemish name of the commune) blocked the plans for this property to become the new US Embassy, now it's in the hands of Brussels developers so everything is fine and all environmental objections have disappeared.

Oct 30, 2020 12:13