From brownfield to new economic beating heart
Situated on the remediated land next to the Vilvoorde viaduct, Uplace will breathe new life into the Noordrand. This area, known as the Vilvoorde-Machelen Canal Zone, was marked by neglect and pollution for many years after the departure of factories such as Renault, Franki and Bonna Sabla. Now, several decades after the decline of these former industries, the area has been given a second chance with a multifaceted project tailored to the people of tomorrow.
The idea for Uplace originated in 2004, when the founders and drivers behind the project came across a multitude of things on their travels around the world that were not available in Belgium: cool gadgets, surprising food ideas, concept stores, a new way of relaxing and experiencing. An idea took shape: why not combine all these things in one single location? Uplace, a world of experiences under one roof, was born.
Then, of course, the idea was put to the test. Plenty of research followed, including extensive collaboration with experts from all four corners of the world. One of them, Professor Bernd Schmitt of Columbia University, came to the following conclusions:
• The consumer economy of the Western world is changing rapidly. Products and services are no longer the driving forces – today, experiences rule. Experiences in the area of creating relationships, relaxing, getting away from it all, connecting, doing, feeling… The Uplace ‘experience destination’ concept is highly promising in this context. With quality of life at its very centre, it forms an essential asset for putting the area on the map and getting ahead of the competition in terms of attracting talent, visitors and companies.
• It constitutes a progressive vision of tomorrow’s destinations that combine living, having fun and working. One of its chief merits is its ability to convert the growing awareness of the importance of experiences into a concrete and innovative concept that is alluring to the modern consumer.
The project is currently going through its final procedural steps. We are looking to start building in 2017. Given a total construction period of approximately two years, Uplace plans to open in the course of 2019.
The project’s building blocks
Uplace is going to be an experience; a great day out; a one-stop-shop for the entire family. A place to work, work out, explore, look around, visit the doctor, enjoy great food and drinks… all in one location. Uplace offers a wide spectrum of experiences:
• PUBLIC SPACE: open-air roof gardens, plazas, streets, squares.
• RELAXATION: sports and relaxation activities, including a covered playground, a theme park, fitness and wellness centres, restaurants and bars.
• CULTURE: local and international stars at various events, a next generation cinema with 10 screens, a 3 000-seat theatre, culture for everyone.
• OFFICES: in the landmark tower but also spread across the rest of the project, with space and a particular focus on young entrepreneurs.
• SHOPPING: innovative Belgian brands offering unique concepts, experience stores and new brands not yet available in Belgium.
• HOTEL: a hip first class hotel with 180 rooms.
For quick overview of the facts and figures, click here.