Belgian railway company SNCB is asking the public for proposals as it moves ahead with the development of the empty basements under the tracks between Brussels’ Gare du Midi and the small ring.
The two large cellar spaces - nicknamed the ‘Palaces’ - which have stood empty for 40 years, have a combined surface area of about 22,000 square metres, according to SNCB.
Exactly one year ago, the transport company first launched a procedure to redevelop the large spaces and said it was seeking partners in the public and private sectors to ideate a concept for the occupation of the space (in a reasonably short period of time)”.
The formal document for the acceptance of these proposals, which can include many different purposes, from social or cultural activities to sports and conferences, has now been finalised.
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SNCB itself has already reserved about 4,000 square metres of the space, known for its imposing ‘mushroom-shaped’ pillars, for the 'development of its own needs in relation to the station', which may refer to plans for a large bicycle parking, which were previously discussed.
It will not invest in the renovation and fitting out of the spaces.
The eventual winner will undergo strict scrutiny regarding fire safety, as it has previously refused to discuss develop this space for public use out of fear of fire hazards.
The Brussels Times