Protesters occupy site of real estate project in Cureghem

Protesters occupy site of real estate project in Cureghem
The area surrounding Brussels canal is lined with warehouses and industrial space. But new developments will likely be beyond the budget of locals. Credit: Orlando Whitehead

An activist group comprising dozens of persons has announced that it has been occupying, since Friday night, premises scheduled to make way for high-rise apartment buildings in Cureghem, Belga News Agency reports.

The buildings, located in the Biestebroeck Basin along the Brussels canal, are to be pulled down and replaced under the A’Rive Project, mounted by the Immobel/BPI consortium, which entails the construction of 524 apartments, including an 84-metre-high tower, and 383 parking spaces.

Most of the activists have barricaded themselves inside the premises, while a small group assembled outside. Banners with messages like “No to the A’Rive Project” were hung on the front of the one building.

Inter Environnement Bruxelles (IEB) filed a lawsuit in May last year against the granting of the building permit.

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The occupying activists argue that the zone needs to be protected from regeneration projects that will not help local communities. They hope to be able to block the project which, they fear, will lead to the gentrification of the banks of the Brussels Canal.

They also denounce the high price of the apartments, which is far beyond the budget of local residents (Cureghem neighbourhood is one of the poorest in Brussels region). The project will not meet the needs of area residents in any way, they argue.

A group had already occupied the premises on 19 November 2021 for the same reasons. It was expelled from the building on 22 December under a legal order issued in response to a unilateral petition filed with a justice of the peace in Anderlecht.

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