Mega food hall boosts sustainable development of wider city area

Famous for its covered meat and fresh food markets, the Cureghem Abattoir site in Brussels is undergoing a major renovation, contributing to the urban and social development of the neighbourhood. Its main new feature is a large food hall – a more permanent base for weekend market stallholders – plus associated commercial premises, a pioneering urban farm and residential buildings.

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New food hall and associated facilities in the capital of Europe. © Abattoir SA New food hall and associated facilities in the capital of Europe. © Abattoir SA

" The food hall, together with its urban farm pilot project, strengthens the established working relationship between SMEs and independent entrepreneurs in the food economy sector, by turning this relationship into a circular and sustainable economy. "

Jo Huygh, architect

Founded in the 19th century, the 11-hectare industrial site in the Anderlecht district of Brussels is home to an urban slaughterhouse, meat cutting companies and popular food markets. Under this project managed by local company Abattoir SA, the goal is to continue hosting these vital activities while adding new business and leisure facilities. This regeneration should result in a more attractive and mixed-use neighbourhood, with benefits for market traders, their customers and visitors as well as local people.

At the project’s heart is a new food hall covering 9 200 m2, complementing the open-air market on the site’s vast urban plaza. Constructed without hampering the site’s current activities, this hall reaches as high as 14 metres and has a modern and airy design. It includes retail space, storage rooms and workplaces for 17 meat merchants and around 25 merchants of fruit and vegetables.

Rooftop farm, a European first

A unique new feature is Urban Farm, a pilot project of 4 000 m2, covering around half of the roof of the food hall. It includes glasshouses and gardens for growing a broad range of vegetables and herbs. Freshly picked produce from the farm will be sold in the site’s markets or enjoyed by customers in tasty dishes available from the new restaurant erected on the hall’s roof.

In addition, the project will feature 600 m2 of commercial premises and 24 new apartments spread over several floors above these shops, all conveniently close to a metro station. This accommodation creates a natural transition between the new food hall and existing buildings in nearby streets.

A newly established non-profit organisation, Cultureghem, is enhancing the broader neighbourhood through a variety of cultural activities and events. These range from cooking and dance workshops to a self-built meeting place for local youth.

The project should be completed in April 2015, with all site facilities operational in the same year.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Halle Alimentaire Abattoir” is EUR 16 289 606, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 7 479 067 from the Operational Programme “Brussels Capital Region” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date