Nicolas Maeterlinck

After the Uplace failure, this new plan may just do it

There are new plans to develop the site next to the Brussels Orbital road in Machelen, the Broeksite. The project should bring 3,000 new jobs. 

The new project would boast a park and a business complex, provide offices for training and venues for cultural events, and be less of a big shopping complex like the failed Uplace project. The promotor of the new plan, Alexander D'Hooghe, explains that stores will provide a special kind of products: tailor-made items, like in 3D-printing, "in some cases just one per client". Production and consumers should come closer together, and the project aims for a circular economy. 

Uplace still owns the grounds and should give its go-ahead. "We will only go along with this if it's financially feasible for us", they say. This is not the case just yet, but this may change.

The extra traffic generated by the complex - one of the stumbling blocks in the previous Uplace project - should be less of a headache this time, pundits claim, since it would attract 25 percent less traffic. It would create 3,000 new jobs and enjoys the support of the Flemish minister responsible for public works, Ben Weyts.