Today, in the presence of the press and guests, the mayor of Leuven, Louis Tobback, and alderman for Spatial Planning, Carl Devlies, cut the ribbon of the new student housing complex The Village in Leuven. The new build, located on the site of the former cinema complex De Studio’s, mainly offers student housing with 246 rooms and studios. The site also houses the new head office of Davidsfonds, as well as one single-family home. A spacious and publicly accessible courtyard opens up the neighbourhood. The first premises were occupied a little over a year after the foundation stone was laid. Project developer ION celebrated the official opening with a speech by alderman Devlies, the unveiling of a plaque and a festive reception.
The Village is very green. At the heart of the site, totalling over 7,800 m², lies a spacious green courtyard. The remainder of the surface is occupied by seven buildings, five of which contain student rooms, with all mod cons, as well as communal areas. Centrally located in the city, within walking distance of the railway station and surrounded by catering businesses, shops and several campuses of the Leuven University, Group T and Vlerick Business School, The Village is the perfect home base for a nice generation mix of students. The residential area is combined with a tailor-made office space for Belgian publisher Davidsfonds. Their new 1,100 m² head office overlooks the Quinten Metsys square.
The Village’s top feature is located at the centre of the site: the green courtyard offers a central meeting place in this project. During the day, part of the garden will be publicly accessible through Blijde Inkomststraat, Burgemeestersstraat and Mathildegang. Once the second stage has been completed this green area will be fitted with sports and leisure accommodation, walk paths and benches for sitting and lying down. Since the demolition of the former cinema complex, De Studio’s, the site was derelict for several years, so the garden provides the neighbourhood with a much-needed dose of oxygen. Additionally, project developer ION has included living quarters for a janitor, who will be a permanent point of contact for neighbours and who will guarantee a permanent living quality.
ION deliberately chose to work with a local partner who has the necessary expertise to mix the character of the city centre with the comfort of a new build. Renowned Leuven-based architects Jaspers – Eyers combined style, functionality and comfort into a sustainable design, which fully complies with the University of Leuven’s specifications. There is also an underground area comprising two parking garages, offering 74 car parking spaces and 298 secure bicycle racks that will help keep the surrounding streets free from lingering bicycles.
Project developer ION had no problems meeting the completion deadlines. In April, some 10 months after the foundation stone was laid in June 2014, the new Davidsfonds office was already in use. And a few weeks ago, just before the start of the academic year, 190 student rooms were completed. During the second stage, the former Davidsfonds office will be demolished and 56 additional student rooms will take their place. At the same time, the publicly accessible section of the garden will be completed. ION expects final completion of the project to take place in September 2016.