Location: Brussels, Belgium
EKLA is a first but major phase of an audacious remediation, repurposing and upgrading project in the municipality Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, the second poorest in Belgium. The district had the potential for major improvement but needed massive investment. Thanks to the public investment in upgrading the train/metro/tram and bus hub next doors, the neighbourhood had intrinsic opportunities. However, Molenbeek had and still has a lot of challenges.
The former brewery was abandoned and partly demolished in the eighties. Revive acquired a first part of +6.000 m² vacant but contaminated land and turned it into a high density (FAR of 4), mixed use site where live, work, play and learn harmoniously blend together. Most importantly, 50% of the residential units are social housing and the program adds a kindergarten and primary school. Finally, a part is developed by a public agency for the affordable acquisition market.
In the 18-level residential tower 92 private units were sold to private households and investors. Part of the units are hold by a Revive investment fund under the co- living brand Hejme (www.hejme.be) and rented including energy costs and other services in a “housing as a service” concept. The state regulated rent units were acquired by a social REIT set up by Revive. This REIT Inclusio (www.inclusio.be) will list on the Brussels stock market in Q4 2020.
The 24.000 m² project changes the face of the neighbourhood and brings local and new residents together. The local grocery store, amenities and services bring the community to live and revive the atmosphere. The complex becomes a living machine bringing the deprived area back to live. Finally, Revive acquired a second phase and is planning a technical secondary school (Molenbeek has one of the highest rates of workless young people) and another 100 residential units under the Hejme co- living brand. The 700-student school brings much needed high-level technical education to the region where school dropouts are massive. This phase of the project should be delivered in 2023.