The government of the Brussels Region has agreed to partially fund an open-air swimming pool in the municipality of Anderlecht. “A further step has been taken towards the definitive construction of an open-air swimming pool in the Brussels Region,” said State Secretary for Urban Development Pascal Smet on February 24th.
According to Smet, the administration of Minister President Rudi Vervoort has given the green light to the principle of an investment subsidy of 2,127,000 euros to strengthen the structure of the future Manufakture warehouse, on the site of the Abattoir in Anderlecht, and the acquisition of a real right on the roof of the future building to design an open-air swimming pool.
The Region is giving itself the opportunity to build an ambitious swimming pool project that is accessible to all, in a district that is most in need of this type of infrastructure in Brussels.Rudi Vervoort, Brussels Minister-President
This financing is in addition to an investment of up to 1.8 million euros programmed by the Flemish Community Commission for this reinforcement. The planning permission for the Manufakture warehouse was issued on Thursday, February 24th. It is primarily intended to allow the current slaughterhouse and wholesalers to continue their activities in the urban area, and to keep the jobs they provide.
The Manufakture building itself consists of two stacked duplexes. Two large loggias have been placed on the north side of the building, referring to the industrial scale of the site. On this side are the agri-food function and associated offices, activating the façade. The roof is designed as a large pergola, creating a dialogue with the opposing Foodmet verandas.
According to Belgian news outlet RTBF, four additional locations for the pool had been identified. Three were in Neder-Over-Hembeek and one in Laeken, right next to the American Theatre.
The four proposals had been sent to the Region, in particular to the ministers Bernard Clerfayt, in charge of financing municipal sports facilities, and Pascal Smet, who is responsible for issuing the future planning permission.
The alderman in charge of sports at the City of Brussels, Benoît Hellings, specified that the goal is to make it a place of relaxation, accessible to all the inhabitants of Brussels, for a modest price. “We will not make a water park, as Océade was. It has to be a place for both a trendy public, sports swimmers and families looking for a watering hole and fun. The recent events in Blankenberge have proven that a real swimming place is lacking in Brussels”. The last public pool of its kind in the Brussels region closed in the 1970s.
Construction of the Manufakture will begin in the coming months. The building will open in spring 2024. It is financed in part by European ERDF funds.
The next steps will be to negotiate the real right to the roof, to find the financing for the construction and operation of the swimming pool and to launch a DBFM contract to find the private partner who will have to design, build, maintain and operate the aquatic complex. The project is estimated to cost approximately 17.5 million euros excluding VAT.