After the Christelijke Mutualiteit (Christian health insurance fund) had moved from Sint-Janslaan to the Beneluxpark, a large plot opened up in the heart of Kortrijk, between Sint-Janslaan, Wijngaardstraat and Vlamingenstraat.
Kortrijk’s Urban Development Company (UDC), with Ben Mertens as General Manager, started looking for partners to find a new purpose for this prime location through a public-private partnership. Those partners turned out to be Alides (part of Group Maes) and ION who, in consultation with the City of Kortrijk, decided to convert this site into a mixed-use development with apartments, service flats, offices and retail catering. The project will be constructed around a green courtyard, which will connect the three streets and be visible from every building.
The site houses four buildings, each with their own history. The oldest one is the building along Vlamingenstraat, which was rented out to the home care provider Familiehulp by the CM. It was built in 1856 and was initially the ‘School of Providence’, an evening school for free adult education. The building has been repurposed and refurbished several times through the years. It was last renovated by the CM in 1980. The existing building will remain, but an extension and superstructure will be added. It will be residential and its operations will be run in cooperation with the city’s private rental office.
The former headquarters of CM Kortrijk and CM Zuid-West-Vlaanderen (South West Flanders) at Sint-Janslaan 10 was built in 1974. In 1990, it was expanded to include an annex at Sint-Janslaan 8. The ground floor used to be known as ’t Groen Spoor healthcare library. The new plan is to demolish the building. It will be replaced by a 6-storey new build. The ground floor will be for office spaces; the other floors will have a residential purpose.
The building at Sint-Janslaan 6, which was last used by the ACV (Christian trade union), is also set to disappear. It will be replaced by 47 service flats spread over 6 floors.
The building in the Wijngaardstraat has an art deco facade dating back to 1930, which will be restored. The rest of the building will be demolished. The reconstruction will be carried out with respect for the original features of the building. Two extra storeys will be added. The building will house 15 service flats, with additional catering businesses on the ground floor.
The inner space
The inner space of the CM site will be partially retained and will also have a residential function. There will be room for 12 shell build lofts, which can be finished in accordance with the future owner’s wishes. The 5-storey building will have a green entrance area with a bicycle shed.
All of this will be centred on a green courtyard that will link the different streets and be open for public use. Residents, passers-by, office users and local catering businesses will be able to enjoy this peaceful green environment.
In order to accomplish this project, the City of Kortrijk looked for strong partners. It found them in the form of ION and Alides, which come with excellent references. The architectural firm Nero, which also drew the plans for the site around the Spoorweglaan, commissioned by the UDC, will design the project.
Demolition works will start on 1 August and end on 1 September 2016. The entire site is expected to be finished in the spring of 2018.
Wout Maddens, Alderman for Housing and Construction: “This mixed-use development project with housing, offices and retail catering will give a quality boost to this neighbourhood. In order to make this happen, we have found strong partners in ION and Alides.”