Project Urbain Loi
In 2008, the Brussels-Capital Region adopted a development plan (Schéma directeur pour le Quartier européen) designed to re-energise the European quarter. The Projet Urbain Loi (PUL) is the result of a town planning competition organised by the region's authorities. The project intended to improve the urban quality of the rue de la Loi area by creating a neighbourhood where offices, housing, retail and public spaces coexist harmoniously.
Loi 130 Project
The new buildings in the Loi 130 project are a part of the Projet Urbain Loi and will be built on the site located between rue de la Loi, chaussée d'Etterbeek, rue Joseph II and rue de Spa. Through the Loi 130 project, the Commission will play its part into making the European quarter a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
As well as office spaces, a visitor centre and 2 childcare centres, the complex will include restaurants, shops and public spaces with green areas, open to all. The whole area will be modern, eco-friendly and energy efficient.
The concentration of Commission services at the Loi 130 plot is an important element of the real estate policy of the Commission aiming at increasing efficiency and saving money.
The Loi 130 project will be built in 2 phases: the first phase is foreseen between 2025 and 2030 and the second phase between 2030 and 2035.
The European institutions in Brussels are mainly located in the district known as Quartier Léopold, first developed in 1837. At that time, an urban plan was adopted for the area and rue de la Loi became the main axis of the quarter, connecting the Royal Palace with the Cinquantenaire building (erected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium's independence).
During the 19th century, the neighbourhood became a high-class residential area, increasingly housing the city's wealthy inhabitants, who moved in from the city centre. In 1872, the Maelbeek River was built over and several neighbouring swamps and ponds were drained.
In the 20th century, rue de la Loi went from being a traditional 2-lane road to a busy 5-lane thoroughfare, and the tramway gave way to an underground metro line. While the upper part of the neighbourhood remained a highly-desirable residential area, the lower side morphed gradually into a purely administrative district.
In 1958, following the Treaty of Rome, Brussels became the temporary seat of the European Commission. The Belgian government proposed a site across from the Parc du Cinquantenaire – the future European quarter – to host the Council of European Ministers.
However, due to the provisional status of the European institutions at the time, no overall urban planning was implemented. Instead, the European quarter evolved organically over the years into a mono-functional neighbourhood, segregated from the rest of the city.
In 1992, during the Edinburgh European Council, it was decided that most Commission departments would remain in Brussels. Today, one of the most important actors in the European quarter is the European Commission, which has a significant portion of its offices located there. Through the Loi 130 project, the Commission is supporting the efforts of the Brussels-Capital Region to make the European quarter a more attractive neighbourhood for all citizens.