Telecommunications company Proximus is reported to be considering giving up its landmark twin towers in the North Station area of Brussels, following the growth of teleworking as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
In normal times, the two towers, joined by a sky-high passerelle between the 25th floor of one building and the 26th floor of the other, are the workplace of 4,000 to 5,000 employees. But since the lockdown in March, which made teleworking the rule wherever possible, the numbers working on site have gone down into the hundreds.
The two 102m towers – one has an antenna on top bringing the total height to 134m – were constructed in 1988, as part of the controversial clearance and redevelopment of the Quartier Nord, previously a run-down housing area.
The towers were originally planned to form part of a new World Trade Centre (before that name received its more recent international notoriety) covering the whole area. The plan was widely criticised for the effect on the community who lived there before, and was seen as another aspect of the over-development of the city.
They started life as the Pleiades Towers, then took the name of Belgacom, the forerunner of Proximus, which attached its nameplate to the towers in 2014.
The VRT reports that the company is considering moving out of the towers and finding a new occupant, although the reasoning for that – the effect of the coronavirus on working from home, and the reduced need for central office premises – is just as likely to weight on any company in a position to be looking at such as office building.
“We will be considering the best scenario to create a greener and smaller 'Proximus Campus' in Brussels, which is better geared to collaboration and formal and informal contacts,” said CEO Guillaume Boutin.
“Although a move will certainly not be on the agenda before 2023. Modernisation of the buildings is also possible.”
The Brussels Times