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New housing and European School planned for former Nato site

16:24 22/11/2019

A new community development is in the works for the former Nato site in Brussels. It will become home to some 3,000 people and include a new European school.

In 2017, Nato’s 4,000-strong staff moved to the new Nato headquarters across the street, leaving the massive site free. Rudi Vervoort, the minister-president of the Brussels Capital-Region discussed the plan for the new development in parliament this week following a parliamentary question.

The site, which straddles Brussels-City and Evere, is just over the border with Flanders. The Capital-Region signed an agreement with Flanders last spring to enlarge the territory and create a new neighbourhood.

This kind of development across borders is a first for the two regions. They also had to get the project signed off by the federal government, which in fact owns the Nato property.

Not for tomorrow

According to the Bruzz news site, the old Nato site and property on the Flemish side of the border taken together adds up to some 90 hectares – or twice the area of Tour & Taxis. The new neighbourhood will include housing for about 3,000 people, a new headquarters for Belgium’s defence department, a new European school for up to 2,500 pupils, a business district and the office of Partnership for Peace, which works to build relationships between Nato and states of the former Soviet Union.

There will also be a park with a lake and 20 hectares of forest. And Boulevard Léopold III will get a makeover, with more green and more space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

Progress on all of this – considering the levels of administration involved – will be slow. The municipalities and regions involved are currently launching urban planning studies and hope to be able to release details on the development of the site by 2022.

Photo: Possible zones in the new development include 1.Renewed Boulevard Léopold III  2.Mixed housing  3.European school  4.Defense headquarters  5.Business district  6.Partnership for Peace

Written by Lisa Bradshaw