Former industrial sites turned into lively neighbourhoods: Kanaelzicht

Former industrial sites turned into lively neighbourhoods

Flanders has a vast wealth of historically valuable sites. Unfortunately, they sometimes fall into disuse and are in danger of losing their grandeur of olden days. Jan De Nul Group contributes significantly to the revalorisation of these sites. We’re currently transforming a former brewery and a former paper factory into beautiful, highquality residential and commercial projects. With due respect for the history of the buildings and the activities that took place there.

In 1860, Louis De Naeyer founded his paper factory alongside the Willebroek canal. Today, JDN builds three new apartment buildings here, with a few concrete shell spaces and a large underground car park of almost 4,000 m². “The ‘Usines De Naeyer’ office building and corresponding water tower represent an important piece of history within the Rupelstreek”, explains Site Manager Niels Schrooten. “All around the office building, we realised a bold new-build project that creates a modern streetscape.”

Jan De Nul Group will thoroughly renovate the entire Louis De Naeyer site. Still, we do integrate some authentic elements in the vast complex. “Eye-catchers such as the protected water tower and the monumental Peace Bridge will uphold the historical character of this new neighbourhood", says Niels. The floor-high windows and terraces with a view of the water will create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and much needed breathing space.

Sustainable living  

Sustainability is a central consideration in the Kanaelzicht project. A large part of the newly built apartments are near-zero energy apartments. Niels explains: “For this project, we’ve chosen solar panels with high WP values. We’ve also integrated green roofs. Such roofs are not only better from an aesthetic perspective, they also have a positive impact on water storage, heat regulation, sound insulation, air purification, etc. The investments in energy-saving measures combined with an efficient building shell and green energy will soon be recovered by low energy bills.” The structural works are almost completed. At the current cruising speed, the project will be delivered in March 2021.

The community comes first

Ever since the foundation of his paper factory, the community was key for Louis De Naeyer: he had houses built for his workers and he also taught them how to read and write. He even set up schools and a nursery for their children where they could go to for free during working hours. In 1885, De Naeyer was officially appointed mayor of Willebroek. With the Kanaelzicht project, JDN revives this historical heritage.