The Urban Development Corporation (sau-msi.brussels) owns the 24-hectare site of the former Josaphat marshalling yard, on which it is developing plans for a diverse and sustainable neighbourhood based on the theme of ‘Living and working in a park’.
- The SAU (at that time known as the Land Acquisition Corporation, SAF-MVV) purchased the 24-hectare site from the Railway Infrastructure Fund (FIF-FSI); it consisted of an area of wasteland and an industrial zone, bounded by Boulevard Leopold III, Avenue Gilisquet and Boulevard Wahis, on a future RER line.
- The land formerly belonging to the railway has been cleaned up by the railway company.
- The entire site was the subject of a wide-ranging consultation process bringing together regional and municipal stakeholders. This led to the formulation of a master plan, approved by the government of the Brussels-Capital Region in March 2014. This plan has since been the subject of numerous technical studies, coordinated by the SAU, to refine, validate and improve the first options. An environmental impact report has also been produced, to ensure that the new district is integrated seamlessly into its environment.
- In June 2018, perspective.brussels organised ‘Major Urban Projects Week’ in order to inform the public about the state of progress and the key issues of the first ten instances of a Territorial Development Plan (PAD-RPA): Josaphat, Heyvaert, Porte de Ninove, mediapark.brussels, Gare de l’Ouest, Usquare.brussels, Delta-Herrmann-Debroux, Midi, Loi and Bordet.
- In October and December 2019, the draft Territorial Development Plan (PAD-RPA) for the Josaphat site was the subject of a public consultation by perspective.brussels.
- In July 2021 the Brussels Government approved the new version of the draft PAD-RPA for Josaphat at its first reading. The options being developed at this stage are as follows: linking the site to the surrounding neighbourhoods, and developing it while retaining its character as a green lung (green spaces occupy 40% of the area of the draft PAD-RPA, or nearly 13.5 ha); creating up to 1,200 dwellings (the planned dwellings include 323 social housing units and 215 middle-income dwellings) while ensuring social diversity and quality of housing; introducing the necessary facilities (school, childcare facilities, sport, culture, leisure); and equipping, modernising and redefining the industrial zone. In particular, the SAU has carried out a landscape study of the site, which sets out the main principles for the development of the public spaces and green spaces, as well as a mobility study to improve traffic conditions on the existing roads as the new district is constructed.
- In order to take advantage of the periods during which the procedures for strategic and regulatory planning approval are in progress, the SAU will prepare for work on the site, acting at two levels. First, it launched a public procurement procedure to appoint a developer responsible for carrying out the first property development phase concerning around 650 public and private housings on the south part of the site. Second, it is coordinating all the preparatory operations carried out by the many different public bodies with a view to the introduction of utilities, the creation of green spaces and the construction of facilities.
- In this context Beliris has published in September 2019 a public procurement notice for a project design contract for the green and public spaces of the Josaphat priority zone. The public tender reflects the shared ambitions of Beliris and the Urban Development Corporation (sau-msi.brussels). The contract will relate to: the development of green spaces (the 2.8 ha Spoorpark along the railway line, the railway embankment, etc.), public spaces (roads, Place Wahis, Place De Boeck, Place Gilisquet, etc.) and infrastructure including two bridges for pedestrians and cyclists across the railway, the integration of facilities including a pavilion/kiosk and the work required to introduce utilities to the site (sewerage, water and electricity, etc.).
- In March 2021 Beliris appointed Michel Desvigne to design Josaphat’s green and public spaces.
- From August to October 2020 and from July to September 2021, the SAU organised ‘Summer at Josaphat’. This temporary occupation programme gave people in Brussels access to part of the old Josaphat marshalling yard. Numerous cultural and sporting activities were available, such as walking, sun-bathing, picnicking, having a drink or playing pétanque, in the areas delimited for the purpose, in consultation with Brussels Environment and the municipalities of Evere and Schaerbeek, and in compliance with the Covid-19 hygiene rules.