mediapark.brussels: Region becomes official owner of RTBF-VRT land on Boulevard Reyers28 September 2017
This afternoon, the Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, the Regional Finance and Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel and the managing directors of RTBF and VRT, Jean-Paul Philippot and Paul Lembrechts, signed the notarial deed by which the Brussels-Capital Region acquires the sites of the two public television broadcasters on Boulevard Reyers. The sale agreement was signed on 23 May this year.
As a result, the Region now officially owns this land, and its 19 hectares will be transferred to it in eight tranches, between 2018 and 2025, as mediapark.brussels is developed.
This major regional project will involve the progressive and qualitative transformation of the Reyers cluster into a new district that is creative, open, diverse and vibrant. In particular, this has been made possible by the decision of RTBF and VRT to leave their current shared building for two separate buildings at the rear of their present location. RTBF and VRT have applied for planning permission for these buildings, the construction of which is scheduled to start in late 2018 or early 2019. Their relocation by just a few dozen metres is planned for 2022-2023. It will release their current site, enabling this area to be reconnected with neighbouring districts and making space for the new developments of mediapark.brussels.
mediapark.brussels: a new development cluster
Today, the Reyers district already has some 5,000 workers in the media and audiovisual sectors. As well as RTBF and VRT, it brings together prominent names in these sectors such as RTL, Be TV, Studio L'équipe and D-side Group. In view of this, the Brussels-Capital Region, Schaerbeek, RTBF and VRT decided three years ago to work hand in hand on an ambitious project to strengthen this media cluster.
The aim of mediapark.brussels is to develop the following, around the future new headquarters of RTBF and VRT: an 8-hectare urban park; some 2,500 dwellings of various types; local amenities and services (a crèche, a school, shops etc.); premises for companies in creative, innovative and job-creating industries; and a number of higher education institutions related to the media sector. These developments will preserve the topography of the site and its historical heritage (the Enclos des Fusillés cemetery on the historic site of the former Tir National), promote non-motorised and public transport and involve a reconfiguration both of Boulevard Reyers and its tunnels and of the beginning of the E40 motorway.
The creation of mediapark.brussels will be jointly coordinated by perspective.brussels, in charge of planning, and by the Urban Development Corporation (sau-msi.brussels), responsible for operational implementation.
The future Media House
The Urban Development Corporation is currently piloting the very concrete project for the construction of the future Media House on land it already owned on Boulevard Reyers (at the corner of the former RTBF-VRT site and next to the Diamant premetro station). Media House will accommodate, among other things, the future headquarters of the regional television channel BX1, offices for screen.brussels, an innovation platform dedicated to the media and audiovisual sector (including a co-working space and an incubator) and premises for a training institute related to this sector.
Last June, the SAU-MSI shortlisted five multidisciplinary teams from among the 51 entries received in the architecture competition it organised for Media House. At the end of this second phase of the competition, the winner will be nominated at the end of this year. This building, on which construction work is due to start in early 2019, is financed by the Brussels Region and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It will become a showcase for the media ecosystem present in the local area and for the mediapark.brussels project.
According to Minister Vanhengel, the signing of the deed is an important event in the media history of VRT and RTBF, confirming the link between VRT and RTBF and the Brussels Region: ‘The media sector represents a very significant area of economic growth for Brussels. However, the media must also be able to work in an optimal environment. The new Reyers environment meets this requirement perfectly with an open and pleasant living space. The district’s development is also an example of cooperation between public and private actors. Finally, the Reyers site will be the new gateway to Brussels and is bound to have the effect of reinvigorating the entire district.’
Rudi Vervoort stresses that ‘The signing of this notarial deed for the RTBF-VRT sites and the success of the architectural competition for Media House, which will be home to BX1, are important milestones in the creation of mediapark.brussels. They attest to the very positive process that has been set in motion and is being increasingly confirmed between the Region, those of its institutions involved in this project and several major Brussels broadcasters.’
More information: www.mediapark.brussels