NMBS/SNCB obtains building permit for new head office

The Brussels region has issued the building permit for the renovation and extension of the former postal sorting office at Brussels-Midi station. This was announced by Pascal Smet (one.brussels-Vooruit), State Secretary for Town Planning in Brussels.

The Belgian rail company NMBS/SNCB will accommodate its headquarters and many other activities in the future building. A consortium of Besix, CFE, and Immobel will build the new headquarters. The office of the Dutch star architect, Rem Koolhaas, will co-draw the design.

The building along Avenue Fonsny and the tracks of the Brussels-Midi station, inaugurated in 1958, is owned by the NMBS/SNCB. Following an architectural competition, they chose to renovate the buildings of the former mail sorting center and extend them with a new volume that will rise above the existing buildings on the side of the tracks. In total, an area of about 71 000 m2 is involved.

Revitalize neighborhood

Security and sanitation works have already started recently in the building that has been abandoned for the past twenty years. Now that urban.brussels has issued the building permit, the actual works can begin in the coming months. The new building should be operational in the course of 2025.

“This renovation project will revitalize the site. On an urban level, it is completely ready. As requested, the building will be publicly accessible. The activation of the ground floor will make this possible,” says Brussels State Secretary Smet.

The connection between the station and the neighborhood will also get a makeover. The ground floor will have room for new services and retail spaces, as well as a smoother flow of passengers. There will be additional access via a corridor that will be extended to Avenue Fonsny. Construction should be completed in 2025.

Much resistance

Whether the new headquarters will be built in this form remains to be seen. The plans for the new building, which is about 236 meters long and 60 meters high, have been widely criticized because of its impact on the surroundings. The municipality of Sint-Gillis had previously announced that it would lodge an appeal if the permit were granted.

The municipality has previously twice issued a negative opinion against the new head office, because of the size of the new building, the reflective surface, and the commercial purposes.

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