In the heart of Mechelen, the redevelopment of the abandoned Inofer and Trap sites is in full swing.
"The project area is located in a district that has been heavily industrialised in the past. After years of disturbing vacancy, this site will once again get a beating heart. This will transform one of the last derelict sites into a new hotspot in the city," says Mayor Alexander Vandersmissen.
Convinced of the site’s potential, new owners have purchased this plot. PSR-CODIC and TERVIA’S-TRIGINTA have each taken on a share of the ownership with the joint ambition of completing a prominent reconversion project. This partnership is upgrading and redeveloping two adjoining disused industrial sites. This ambitious area development brings a mix of housing (8,688m²), office space (21,300m²), and relaxation in green and extremely accessible surrounds.
“The project is part of the city council's broader vision for the revitalisation of the station area, but also goes hand in hand with other major urban development projects such as the Ragheno site. The redevelopment gives the area a new purpose. There is not only room for living, but also for working and relaxing. Thanks to the construction of a large public area with a playground and a petanque court, the occupants and local residents will be able to enjoy some extra green space and facilities in the vicinity. This development will put Mechelen even more on the map as a city of growth for the future," says Alderman for Urban Renewal Greet Geypen.
A nod to the past
The project name MALT is an apt modern touch to reflect ‘Malterie Vandermolen’, the former malting plant that once occupied this site. Malt is the basic ingredient for anything which bubbles, so MALT, too, is the impulse to promote the Mechelen station surrounds as an ideal place to live and work. A place where living, working, and relaxing easily blend into each other. Where generations can circulate, with special attention to green space and respect for the historic legacy. A place with safe and leisurely link roads and with shared mobility solutions for everyone.
Master Plan elaborated in consultation with the city
Within the contours and vision of the RUP Guldendal BIS, PSR-CODIC and TERVIA’S-TRIGINTA, in close consultation with Mechelen City Council and other authorities concerned an overarching Master Plan has been drawn up by Sculp IT Architects. Landscape architect Avantgarden is responsible for the design of the open and green space.
The main strands and ambitions of this Master Plan are set out in an allotment plan.
Early in October, these plans were presented first of all to local residents. With the launch of the project name MALT, they have given the starting shot for the completion of a new city district in thriving Mechelen.
Architectural heritage gets active role
The project area possesses a number of historically prominent and valuable buildings. On the one hand there’s the original 19th century malting building ‘Socaré’ along the Geerdegemvaart, whilst on the other hand there’s the former furnace, showroom, and production hall of the old Van Craen furniture factory in Postzegellaan. MALT will give this architectural heritage a special place and, in turn, this gives MALT its own face in Mechelen. Callebaut Architecten, also involved recently in the restoration of ‘Het Predikheren’ (former monastery) in Mechelen, will convert these buildings into offices, catering establishments, and lofts with attention to their industrial character
Public inquiry completed
The public inquiry was recently concluded. Following the allotment permit, in the next few months, a team of complementary architects will work on the specific architectural development of the various buildings and functions in MALT.
Apart from new and renovated offices, flats, lofts, and family homes, it will also include space for supportive functions such as catering and co-working. Thanks to a new access road via Postzegellaan, MALT will be easily accessible, and that will reduce traffic in the immediate vicinity.
The first phase of demolition work took place in the summer of 2021. The next demolition work phase will start soon, together with the start of the construction of a temporary driveway early in 2022. The start of the first building phase is planned for the autumn of 2022. The first occupants are expected by the end of 2024.
About MALT Mechelen
In the vicinity of the renovated station and the canal, district MALT is writing a new chapter in the history of Mechelen city. A vibrant mix of modern living, working, and relaxation will re-invigorate the old ‘Malterie Vandermolen’ malting plant. A sustainable and long awaited upgrade of a site abandoned for years which restores the historic heritage to a place of honour. A green and open space offers more options for the existing neighbourhood and for all future occupants and users over different generations.