“Port Sud - COOP”: Innovation hub at the centre of urban renewal

The “Port Sud” project will support businesses, create jobs and reinvigorate the canal area in Anderlecht, a focal point for urban renewal efforts in Brussels.

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Rendering of the COOP Discovery Centre on the Canal. © Bogdan & Van Broek Architects Rendering of the COOP Discovery Centre on the Canal. © Bogdan & Van Broek Architects

" As Jean-Paul Sartre noted: ‘We can always make something out of what has been made of us. "

José Menéndez, Director of EUCLIDES and “Port Sud” Project Manager

Renovation of the 5 000 m2 building that will become the “COOP”, featuring a 3 000 m2 business hub and a Canal Discovery Centre, which are at the heart of the Port Sud project, began in summer 2014. The project itself was launched in 2009 with an investment of EUR 1 850 000 to purchase the original building, and since then the project partners have been laying the groundwork for what aims to be a powerful motor for local development.

The Port Sud project seeks to foster a renewed awareness of this local heritage while reigniting a forward-looking and entrepreneurial community dynamic that will help revitalise the area.

The COOP will include a business centre for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and an inland navigation innovation dockyard. The innovation dockyard will design and build canal boats and barges using traditional and modern techniques, and will provide new training and employment opportunities. At the Canal Discovery Centre, an estimated 20 000 visitors per year will be able to research documentary and media archives, while attending workshops, exhibitions and other events in order to learn about the history and the geography of the area.

Strategic partnerships for sustainable local growth

Partners in the Port Sud project include the Anderlecht municipal government, the Brussels-Capital Region Urban Development Agency (Citydev), the Brussels Port Authority, local development agency EUCLIDES, and private developer ABATAN.

Their common goals involve upgrading infrastructures, redeveloping and enhancing public spaces, improving mobility and communications, attracting new economic agents, and promoting activities that will create jobs and improve the quality of life in the neighbourhood. The concerted effort of these institutional and private players is achieving optimal results by pooling technical expertise, institutional resources and local connections with committed community organisers, in order to ensure local participation.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for “Port Sud” was EUR 9 500 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 3 837 500 from the “Brussels Capital Region” Operational Programme for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date