Today the alderman for spatial planning in Leuven, Carl Devlies, and his colleague Mohamed Ridouani, responsible for education and real estate, officially opened the Vesalius real estate project. The complex is located between Vesaliusstraat, Brabançonnestraat and Tiensestraat, covering about thirty thousand square metres and containing facilities that include apartments, student flats, various commercial buildings, an underground car park, a cinema and an auditorium.
About five years ago, the Leuven Guild of Crafts and Trades decided to sell the derelict land and buildings on the former Groep T site in Tiensestraat. After a contest, the project was placed in the hands of developers Immobel and ION, who have turned it into a mixed-purpose complex in partnership with Jaspers-Eyers. A number of listed facades have been respectfully integrated into the design.
Art house cinema
The project was handed over today, just over a year after the first stone was laid by Alderman Devlies. With a useable surface area of about 30,000 m2, the complex contains 69 flats, 60 student rooms, 10 commercial units, 179 underground parking spaces, two cinemas and an auditorium.
The cinemas will be run by vzw Fonk, which will focus on alternative film. The auditorium seats 740, making it the second largest in Leuven. Like the cinemas, it is located underground. The University of Leuven owns both the cinemas and the auditorium.
Bringing new life to the neighbourhood
Vesalius is expected to revive trade in Tiensestraat and also establish an organic connection between Boven Tiensestraat (between Hooverplein and the ring road) and the city centre. The courtyard of the complex is open to the public and there will also be a culture pub linked to the cinemas. The Vesalius project is already about 85% occupied, with only about 10% of the existing commercial space still available.