- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Planning committee reacts positively to Brussels Mint renovation project
The conversion project for the 'The Mint' business centre in Brussels city centre is likely to be granted planning permission after the urban planning consultation committee reacted positively to the proposal. However, the Brussels residents action group ARAU (L’Atelier de Recherche et d’Action Urbaines) has expressed dismay at the plans which it claims are too tourist-orientated and would undermine the liveability of the city centre.
Real estate developers Immobel and Whitewood want to transform the Brussels Mint Centre into a multifunctional building over the coming years. In 'Oxy', as the project has been christened, 120 apartments and 316 hotel rooms would be built, requiring the current space for offices to drop from 63,000 m² to about 44,000 m².
The plans submitted by architects Snøhetta and Binst received a positive reaction from the urban planning consultation committee, which is likely to lead to a building permit being issued once the few modifications suggested by the committee have been made.
The consultation committee said that it appreciated the multi-purpose nature of the project and was positive about the fact that the original structure would not be demolished, making it more sustainable. Plans to plant vegetation on about 2,000 m² of the roofs were well received.
However, based on the recommendations of the committee, the designers will have to make adjustments to the apartments they planned for the complex. The consultation committee said there were too many studios and one-room apartments; together these account for 65% of the living space available. The committee recommends that all the studios should be removed from the plans so that more two- and three-bedroom apartments could be built.
There were also doubts over the plans to raise the building’s height by two additional floors. The designers therefore have to provide evidence of how the expansion would affect the skyline view from the nearby Grand Place.
In terms of mobility, the committee recommended reducing the number of parking spaces for cars and increasing the number of bicycle parking spots. It also called for more space for cargo bikes.
For the representatives of ARAU, the consultation committee’s recommendations for modifications did not go far enough. The organisation claimed the ‘substandard’ project with its 316 hotel rooms will only strengthen the 'touristification' of the city centre and thus undermine the quality of life for residents living there. According to ARAU, the project offers too much office space at a time when demand is decreasing due to the increased popularity of working from home. Instead, ARAU insists the project should include more affordable housing.