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News Release

MAPIC, Cannes

Large retailers sign with DOCKS BRUXSEL, the first Brussels shopping centre of the third millennium

Commercialisation of Docks Bruxsel is running at full speed

​​​​​Two years before its planned opening date, 46 international brands have already signed a lease for one of the 120 units of Docks Bruxsel, that will offer 49,000 sq.m. of retail and leisure space.          With other names in the pipeline, the launch of the commercialisation is well under way. The unique shopping concept adopted by the developer Equilis is at the root of the success of the letting activities and Docks Bruxsel will be at the heart of the revival of the former industrial Godin site near the Pont Van Praet. The construction of the state-of-art shopping centre is under way, more than 62% of the total project area is already allocated at today, and the commercialisation is running at full speed. The opening is scheduled for 20th October 2016. We have interviewed Walter Goossens, Head of Retail Agency at JLL and one of the agents in charge of pre-letting the shopping units.

Is there a real need for a new retail scheme such as Docks Bruxsel?
An urban living environment

JLL (W. Goossens): First of all, all the large shopping centres in Brussels of over 30,000 sq.m. were built more than 30 years ago, such as City 2 (1978), Woluwe (1968) and Westland (1972). In order to offer modern infrastructure in line with its status as the Capital of Europe, to keep up with other European cities and because of its demographic evolution, Brussels needs new shopping opportunities. 3 large projects were designed : Docks Bruxsel near the Pont Van Praet on the former industrial production site of Poêleries Godin, and two mega-projects planned toward the end of the decade : Europea (Neo) at the Heysel and Uplace on the north-eastern Flemish periphery. Docks Bruxsel is the first to be developed, and will be the first shopping centre of the 21st century in Belgium. Apart from the innovative infrastructure, Docks Bruxsel meets another need : a shopping centre in the north of Brussels.
The location of Docks Bruxsel in the northern part of Brussels (north of the city centre half-way to the northern ring road), whereas the existing shopping centres are located in the West and the East of town, and in the city centre. This location is a missing link in the geographical spread of shopping centres in Brussels and represents a real opportunity. Finally, the opportunity of the combination of the shopping centre with the development of a new city district appealed to the city authorities. Docks Bruxsel can be seen as a mixed project that marks the launch of the revival of a formerly abandoned city area, being at the heart of it. Docks Bruxsel will offer an urban living environment that will reflect the typical Brussels lifestyle with its warmth and effervescence. Numerous 

restaurants and brasseries with large open-air terraces, true landmarks of the strong Brussels identity, together with a cinema and other leisure activities, will further enrich the offer.
That is the reason why the town planning authorities strongly support the project. The development of the Canal zone is one of the principal objectives of the new government of the Brussels Capital Region, which owns 313 ha of land in the zone. According to the general policy declaration of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region of 20 July 2014, by 2025, 200 hectares of land are foreseen for the development of 25,000 housing units in the entire Canal zone. 3,000 units will be developed next to Docks Bruxsel. The Canal zone offers part of the solution for the demographic growth of the city and the housing projects to be developed in the next decade will boost the footfall in Docks Bruxsel. A children’s day care centre will open in Docks Bruxsel as part of the infrastructure of the new district. 

​In what sense is Docks Bruxsel innovative?
JLL (W. Goossens): Docks Bruxsel is a real new shopping experience developed around conviviality. This principle is at the heart of Docks Bruxsel that guarantees a mix of brands and concepts within a unique location where it will be pleasant to just stroll and to meet up with friends and other people. Furthermore, green spaces, indoor plants and a big open square will bestow a harmonious atmosphere on the site. There are other innovative elements defined by a mix of 3 main categories:  

  • Designed to be sustainable: certification and architecture
  • Commercial strategy: tenant mix and facilities
  • Leisure: public activities and event space 

Designed to be sustainable:

 “1st BREEAM Excellent Certified Shopping Centre in Europe”
First of all, the architecture is entirely focused on sustainability as the objective is ambitious : to become the first BREEAM Excellent certified shopping centre in Europe. Respect of the environment  and sustainable energy sources are present everywhere. Not only a mere goal for the shopping centre construction but a clear choice of lifestyle, the developer put every effort into the sustainability factor in every aspect of the project. For example, in the first phase of the works, 300,000 tons of depolluted excavated soil were transported via the Canal by 100 boats, because if they had been transported by land, no less than 12,500 large trucks would have densified the traffic in-town.  Thanks to a convention signed with the Port of Brussels, Docks Bruxsel is the first project in Brussels to use the waterways to reduce the ecological footprint of a construction. Once the construction finished, other elements will contribute to the low environmental impact of the shopping centre, such as the heating.  The shopping centre will be heated via 1,600 MWh of recycled heat from the nearby incinerator of Bruxelles-Propreté, the household waste collector of the Brussels Region located in the vicinity. This volume is equivalent to the heating consumption of 1,300 houses. The water of the Canal will be used for feeding the HVAC loops within the entire shopping center.

Designed to be sustainable: “An ambitious architecture”
The building concept itself is innovative and ambitious, combining large open spaces with glass-covered shopping passageways. It is a new state-of-the-art open architecture that is outward oriented, a coherent assembly of old and new buildings of various sizes, joined by lots of open spaces that will be glass-covered. Everything is put in place to create an inviting atmosphere and to enhance the well-being of the visitor. 

There are as many as 8 different buildings with up to 4 floors and 2 underground levels of parking spaces, free standing but all somehow linked together, a combination of old existing industrial buildings and new modern architecture that creates a welcoming atmosphere. This innovative concept can also be found abroad in shopping centres of the new generation, such as the highly successful Trinity shopping centre in Leeds (UK). This is the latest shopping centre developed in the UK, which opened in Spring 2013. As Docks Bruxsel, it is also located in-town, has about the same size, 120 shops, it has a modern outward oriented architecture covered by a giant iconic glass roof, it offers modern facilities and it is open 7 days a week. 

Innovative commercial strategy: “An extraordinary mix of stores”
The tenant mix is innovative. The new concept consists of providing a mix of larger areas for mass market brands on the lower ground floor in combination with smaller units for premium brands on the upper ground floor. Mass market generates footfall, and premium brands create image, thus creating cross-selling opportunities. International premium retailers are convinced that this innovative strategy will be successful, such as Michael Kors, who signed up for his first shop in a Belgian shopping centre, and Superdry, together with other premium brands such as IKKS, Pandora, One Step, and others.

As an original and alternative offer with a new shopping centre philosophy, Docks Bruxsel will offer a host of facilities available for visitors to the centre:
  • ​Easy access for people with reduced mobility.
  • Pushchairs are provided free of charge for parents with young children.
  • Umbrellas are provided free of charge, so that people can stay dry in the uncovered areas of the centre in the event of bad weather.
  • Possibility to order taxis to leave from pick-up points in the centre.
  • Purchase delivery.
  • Playgrounds for children.
  • Possibility to purchase tickets for numerous cultural activities: theatre, concerts, visits to Brussels, restaurant reservations.
  • WiFi connection will be available throughout the Docks Bruxsel area.
  • Recharging stations for electric vehicles.
All facilities are designed to enhance the well-being of the customer and to reduce the ecological footprint.

At the heart of a new leisure zone
The particularity of the site is that it offers 24/7 activities such as a cinema, an events hall, a public square with restaurants and bars. Belga Films will have 8 state-of-the-art cinema rooms equipped with the latest high technology systems and a visit will be a must for every cinema lover.     

Exclusivity in Belgium, a unique indoor leisure concept addressing all generations will be operated by a brand in a French group.  
In addition, a large innovative fitness concept will also be developed on the site. 

Moreover, the events hall of approx. 2,800 sq.m. is located on the second and third floors along the Boulevard Lambermont. It is a flexible space for approx. 1,500 persons, with all modern equipment, and offers landscaped rooftop terraces with a magnificent view on the city, the Canal and the Royal Gardens. 
There will be a central courtyard of 30 by 80 metres, the Village Square, that will be used as a public meeting place and for outdoor events and animations of the shopping centre (concerts, theatre sessions,…). 
The parking for approximately 1,700 vehicles will be operated by VINCI Park Belgium.

​Which retailers will open a shop in Docks Bruxsel ?                                                             
A successful launch of the letting activities
JLL (W. Goossens): The letting campaign is running at full speed. Two years before the opening of Docks Bruxsel, 46 retailers already signed a lease, and about 20 more have signed a letter of intent. The largest unit, 4,600 sq.m., will be occupied by Media Markt, that will be one of the attraction poles of the shopping centre. Media Markt will be joined by H&M (2,200 sq.m.) and Match with food concept “Les Délices de mon Moulin” (2,000 sq.m.). 

Mid-October 2014 the following retailers already signed up for Docks Bruxsel: Avance, Belgacom, Formen, H&M, Iris Dia, Il Gelato, iU, JBC, Jogging Plus, Take-Off, Les Secrets du Chef, Mano, Match, Les Délices de mon Moulin, Mac Lafferty, Media Markt, Olivier Dachkin, Pharmacie Servais, Sergent Major, Tamaris, Tims, Twice as Nice, Histoire d'Or, Sequoia, Superdry, IKKS Women&Men, IKKS Junior, One Step, Base, Capoue, Di, Leonidas, Pandora, Pearle, Planet Parfum, River Woods, Yves Rocher, Veritas, 5 à Sec, Mc Donald’s, Michael Kors, Boulangerie Paul, Mobistar, Les Bourgeoises, Belga Films.
The commercialisation continues successfully and further large and new retail concepts are expected.  The purpose behind the presence of this large variety of brands is to increase the impact of this “unique shopping experience” and the well-being of the customer.

Located in the Canal Zone, how is the accessibility issue managed?
Docks Bruxsel can be accessed via various entrances, on the side of the Canal, but also coming from the Boulevard Lambermont. It will be accessible by train, tram, bus, metro, bicycle or even by boat. The Schaerbeek railway station is at 7 minutes walking distance. In the future, a stop of the new metro line North should be located close to Docks Bruxsel, and the future RER will stop at the train station of Schaerbeek. In due time the current tram stops will be moved closer to Docks Bruxsel. No less than 12 MEUR are invested by the developer Equilis in the public infrastructure surrounding the project. The mobility was the object of study both in line with the public rules and regulations and with the objectives of the shopping centre, with a view to limit the ecological footprint. When coming by car, the new oval shaped roundabout (Docks Square) that will be constructed on the Boulevard Lambermont will facilitate the fluidity of traffic towards the centre. Separate lanes will be foreseen for walkers, cyclists and cars. With 60,000 vehicles passing the Pont Van Praet every day, fluid traffic is an important asset, not only for Docks, but for the access to the city centre. The car parking at Docks Bruxsel will offer over 1,700 parking spaces, a kiss and ride area will be available, and there will be two parking zones for bicycles. New access lanes will be created for walkers and cyclists. Finally, the waterways will be used, as a shuttle will be organised for those willing to access the site by boat from the Quai des Usines. 
When is Docks Bruxsel scheduled to open?
Save the date: 20th October 2016
JLL (W. Goossens) :  The global project of 56,000 sq.m. offers a commercial area of approx. 41,000 sq.m. split into 120 shops located in the heart of Brussels, together with a centrally located 6,000 sq.m. leisure area including a cinema that will be run by Belga Films, 7,000 sq.m. offices and multi-purpose areas, and an event hall on 2 floors totalling nearly 2,000 sq.m. The depollution works started in August 2013 and the actual construction was launched early 2014. The first constructions above ground are clearly visible now, and the official opening date is set for end October 2016.