A new chapter for the Boerentoren
In collaboration with Katoen Natie Group, ION is redeveloping Antwerp's iconic Boerentoren building into a unique 'culture tower'. The outcome promises to be a wonderful gift for Antwerpians, as well as Flemish and international visitors.
Boerentoren - 2000 Antwerpen
The Boerentoren has been an iconic building on Antwerp's skyline for almost a century. Upon its completion in 1931, it was the first skyscraper in Europe. Over time, this monument underwent several transformations. Following the redevelopment, it will take on yet another dimension.
The American architect Daniel Libeskind created the design concept for the renovated Boerentoren. He is one of the world's leading architects. The tower will get a new 'crown' based on Libeskind's first architectural concept.
The tower will have exhibition spaces, galleries, a sculpture garden, an auditorium, a panorama, a bookshop, hospitality establishments, etc. Culture is combined with forward-looking retail on the ground and first floors.
A new direction for the Boerentoren
When owner KBC indicated its intention to sell Antwerp's Boerentoren in late 2020, ION felt this was a unique opportunity to give this monument a new lease of life. The property developer sensed from the outset that the scale of the project called for an innovative and unconventional approach. That is why ION joined forces with the Katoen Natie Group, led by visionary entrepreneur Fernand Huts. The partnership heralds a new era for the Boerentoren.
Culture as the Boerentoren's beating heart
In the vision of both partners, culture will become the beating heart of this architectural masterpiece. The renovated Boerentoren will, therefore, have spaces for temporary and long-term exhibitions, a sculpture garden, an auditorium, panorama rooms, a bookshop, etc. As such, the monument will take its place among Antwerp's other major heritage and cultural institutions, enhancing the city's appeal as a cultural destination.
Culture will go hand in hand with forward-looking retail on the ground and first floors (along Schoenmarkt, Meirbrug and Eiermarkt). A food & leisure offering will add experiential value. There will also be an observatory and panorama room on the top three floors (24th-26th floors), so visitors can enjoy the exceptional 360° view.
A historical treasure
The Boerentoren has been an iconic building and a distinguishing feature of Antwerp's skyline for almost a century. Upon its completion in 1931, it was the first skyscraper in Europe. The tower was 87.5 metres high at the time. Only the Cathedral of Our Lady was higher.
In the summer of 1981, the Boerentoren was officially listed as a monument because of its historical value for Antwerp and Flanders. The façades and roofs of the tower building were listed.
The tower was initially called the 'Tower Building', but soon, the locals renamed it Boerentoren (Farmers' Tower) in reference to the involvement of the Belgian Farmers' Union, which had a controlling stake in the Algemene Bankvereniging, which commissioned the building.
The name stuck, and the rest is history. In 1975-76, the top of the KBC Tower building was renovated, and the Boerentoren 'grew' another 10 metres. Today, the skyscraper rises 96 metres above the city, although it no longer is the tallest high-rise in Antwerp. Since 2019, the Antwerp Tower, standing at 100.7 metres, holds this title.
A partnership for the future
ION is the property developer in this project and will custom-develop every aspect of this large-scale project for the Katoen Natie group, acting as a long-term investor.
The partnership between ION and Katoen Natie Group results from a shared vision to transform the Boerentoren into a centre for culture and heritage, accessible to all visitors. The partners consider this ambitious project a unique opportunity to make history together.