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The SAU seeks multidisciplinary team to design new cultural centre in Molenbeek

The current situation at 13-15 and 17-19 rue de Manchester.  - ©© (Simon Schmitt -

The Urban Development Corporation ( has published a European public procurement notice with a view to appointing a multidisciplinary team[1]to draw up plans for the revitalisation/redevelopment of the buildings located at 13-15 and 17-19 Rue de Manchester in 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, which will be used to accommodate facilities for cultural, artistic and creative activity and related facilities (administrative premises, a multipurpose hall, artists’ residences, etc.).

The SAU, which will also oversee the site until the official completion of the work, is acting as project manager on behalf of the Region (, which is the contracting authority, within the framework of Urban Regeneration Contract 5 ‘Heyvaert-Poincaré’.

The new cultural, artisticand creative centre is one of the priority projects being financed under the ‘Heyvaert-Poincaré’ Urban Regeneration Contractapproved by the Government in December 2017. Nearly 14 million euros will be invested in work on this project of regional significance.

The site belongs to the Land Management Agency of the Brussels-Capital Region (SPRB Direction Facilities). Some initialwork has been done and investments undertaken since 2019 to make possible the temporary occupation of the premises – in particular by Recyclart asbl, which the Brussels Government announced in April would continue to have a presence on the site.

A two-phase procedure will be used for this public procurement exercise. In the selection phase, a maximum of three to five candidates will be short-listed and asked to submit a detailed bid. In the award phase, on the basis of the detailed bids (draft architectural design intents) one of the bidders will be designated as the winning team and have the contract awarded to it.

The SAU drew up the procurement specifications in close collaboration with SPRB Direction Facilities, and the Region’s Chief Architect. The Government agreed to the procurement conditions on 3 September.

The deadline for receiving requests to participate in the first phase of the process is 11 am on 29 November 2020.

The contract notice isavailable at


Bringing new energy to the district

Minister-President Rudi Vervoort commented as follows: ‘This future cultural, artistic and creative production centre will provide work premises for nearly 100 people.This is a project of regional significance, located in the Canal Area. I am delighted at the launch of the architectural studies procedure, which is obviously an important step. This ambitious project is underway!’

The SAU’s director, Gilles Delforge, emphasised: ‘The decision to establish a cultural, artistic and creative centre in this district is perfect for the general local context of Rue de Manchester:It will take its place alongside other cultural institutions such as Charleroi Danse and Cinemaximiliaan.’

The general director of, Bety Waknine, is delighted at ‘this important step towards the implementation of one of the ambitious projects in the first wave of the Urban Regeneration Contracts, which have been devised by the Region to restore links in the urban fabric at locations where districts have become cut off from one another.’



Formerly occupied by various business activities, including the Graeffe Refinery, the buildings at 13-15 and 17-19 Rue de Manchester in 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, which are arranged around two courtyards, are located within the operational zone of the Canal Plan (Heyvaert pilot site), as well as in the area of the Heyvaert Territorial Development Plan and of Urban Regeneration Contract 5 ‘Heyvaert-Poincaré’.

The Region purchased them as part of Urban Regeneration Contract 5 in late 2017 and early 2018. Following an initial study by the SAU of possible uses for the sites, in April 2019 the government approved the principle of their redevelopment as a new centre for cultural, artistic and creative production. It approved the detailed site redeployment scenario and entrusted the management of the project to the SAU in April 2020.

[1]Comprehensive project design contract for a multidisciplinary team (architecture, stability, building services engineering, environmental and sustainability expertise including energy performance coordination, safety and health coordination, acoustics, citizen participation).