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Uplace shopping centre filling up quickly

12:26 21/11/2013

Three years before it is due to open, the shopping and leisure centre Uplace in Machelen, which borders Brussels, has already let 40% of its 32,000 square metres of shopping space, the company said. “The question is no longer whether Uplace will open,” CEO Jan Van Lancker said. “We are ready, and we are only waiting on the final green light from the Council of State.”

The arrival of the massive complex on the site of the former Renault manufacturing plant has been fraught with controversy, with critics arguing it will create traffic chaos around Brussels, while draining the life out of the commercial centres of nearby towns, from Vilvoorde as far as Leuven. A number of opponents have taken the project to the Council of State, claiming the project did not adhere to proper procedures in obtaining permits.

Despite that uncertainty, preparations are going ahead. “We haven't signed any more open letters of intent with retailers for some time now – just binding contracts” COO Lorin Parys said. “Eighty shops are already rented, and we’re in advanced negotiations with a number of others. That includes stores larger than 1,500 square metres, international flagship stores and chains making their first appearance in Belgium.”

The complex will include about 300 shops, as well as a hotel, offices, restaurants, a cinema, a play area for children and a bowling alley.

Written by Alan Hope

Comments

adyepj

I do not think that your choice for voting adequately captures the dilemma. There is no doubt that large shopping malls are hugely convenient, and many of us like to visit them. The dilemma is that many of us also value and enjoy the shops in our towns, and I would hate to see these disappear, as they have done in many UK towns, for example. I'd like to find a way to have my cake and eat it too, i.e. preserve the town shops, and provide a limited number of major shopping malls but I don't know if that is possible!

Nov 23, 2013 14:29