The Abattoir Masterplan foresees in the (re-) organization of the economic and socio-cultural activities on the Abattoir site. Still, the residential function has been taken into account as well, albeit to a lesser extent. From an urbanistic point of view, the residential area will be situated to the side of the chaussée de Mons, the area towards the canal being less appropriate for such a function.
Abattoir is planning to build 25 new apartments by 2015. They will come next to the chaussée de Mons, right opposite the Clémenceau metro station. They will be built on top of the groundlevel stores and create a natural transition between the new food hall and the existing houses all along the chaussée de Mons.
A building permit for executing these works has been delivered last January 2013. The total surface for the appartments mounts up to 2,860 sq. metres, spread over a couple of levels on top of the ground surface shopping area of 600 sq. metres.
To bring the appartments to the market in the best possible way, there have been contacts with the Community Land Trust (CLT), which sell according to the principle that only the appartment is belonging to the buyer, not the land on which it is being built. However, CLT decided to give priority to other projects, which lead to quite some disappointment at Abattoir’s. But we keep hoping that a CLT-project will soon become reality.
The negociations with CLT had been going on for quite a while. Last year, several meetings took place with private savings organizations showing interest in this CLT-project (see picture). We feel quite said having to dissapoint them now, and we are unable to come up with no information what-so-ever about future developments. There is a small chance left to reach an agreement with CLT in 2014 and maybe their present decision is only a matter of delaying, but we keep hoping that the talks will be picked-up again soon. But time is running short and we might therefore opt for another construction company (still to be selected) to build the appartments and put them on the real estate market in a different way than CLT does.
CLT does offer more advantages though. Through the ownership, the buyer is more concerned with and involved in what is happening on the site . Moreover, the owner’s concern mostly results in a better maintenance of the property, which is not always the case when it is being rented.
Nevertheless, the works for the construction of the food hall will start this summer.
What is CLT ?
The Brussels Community Land Trusts (CLT) has been recognized by the Brussels capital Region’s government since the end of 2012. Since their start-up, they have several projects in preparation in different parts of town. CLT’s are organizations that buy land in view of administering the estate together with and in the interest of the community as a common property. This system was first applied in the US some forty years ago.
There are different forms of CLT’s, but the basic principle is always the same:
- The ownership of the land is separated from that of the building. The CLT always remains the owner of the land. The houses built on it will be owned by the inhabitants via a system of long-lease. They get the same rights and responsibilities as any other owner, i.e. they can do transformation works, they can sell the house or it can be inherited by their children.
- CLT’s create affordable houses for low income households. The buyer buys the house cheaper than the market value and the difference is being paid by the trust by means of subsidies or donations.
- When selling the house, the inhabitant gets back all his investments but only a part of the added value, so to keep the house affordable for other low income households.
- The CLT is managed as a common property and inhabitants can have a seat in the management committee. Neighbours not living in a CLT house and local authorities such as the commune or the region can be involved.
- Next to the selling of houses, CLT’s can also build shopping outlets, areas for cultural activities or any other project there is a need for in the vicinity. They sometimes rent houses as well.
This system makes it possible:
- for low income families to become owner of an affordable property;
- to create lively neighbourhoods without contributing to speculation;
- to develop projects in the interest of the community as a whole.