Artistic hub at Manchester 13-15/17-19

The Urban Development Corporation (SAU) is steering the redevelopment of the former industrial sites ‘Manchester 13-15’ and ‘Manchester 17-19’, near the Canal, as a new centre for artistic production.

Located a short distance from the Canal, the ‘Manchester 13-15’ and ‘Manchester 17-19’ sites have a total area of 5,550 m2 (0.5 hectares) and eight buildings with an above-ground floor space of around 7,500 m2. These buildings were previously used by various businesses, including the well-known Graeffe refinery.

By 2025, the buildings will be redeployed as a cultural, artistic and creative hub (with an arts centre, studios and businesses) which will attract numerous Brussels-based figures from the cultural and artistic sectors.

The SAU is the delegated project manager for this project. Its involvement reflects its role as coordinator of Brussels' development, in charge of the implementation of major urban development projects and, as is the case here, public facilities of regional significance.

  • It has conducted a study that has defined a series of ‘invariant development principles’. Among other things, the warehouse on the ‘Manchester 13-15’ site must be maintained because of the diversity of activities it can accommodate; the L-shaped building at the rear of the ‘Manchester 17-19’ site must also be kept because of its architectural heritage value; and a number of buildings must be demolished, including those on the street front (‘Manchester 17-19’). The Region wishes to create a new link between the two sites and open up the courtyards to the surrounding area in order to give the future productive and cultural hub a visible presence.
  • In October 2020, the SAU launched a procedure at European level with a view to appointing a multidisciplinary team to draw up plans for the revitalisation/redevelopment of the buildings.
  • In January 2021, on the SAU’s proposal, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region selected five teams from the 30 applications received.
  • In March 2021, the SAU launched a call for expressions of interest (CEI) to identify project owners for the temporary occupation of nearly 3,000 m2 of the site at 17-19 Rue de Manchester in 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean as a foretaste of the artistic and creative hub that will be developed there.
  • In July 2021, 12 temporary occupants were picked, from among the 28 applications received following the SAU call for expressions of interest, to take up premises in part of the buildings at 17-19 Rue de Manchester.
  • In September 2021, on the proposal of the SAU, BC Architects and Civic Architects were appointed to design the Manchester artistic and cultural hub.

Updated: 22.08.2022

Project managers