Today, Friday 1 June 2018, the ‘foundation stone’ was laid for the new building of De Persgroep at Kievitplein in Antwerp. Christian Van Thillo, CEO of De Persgroep, Bart De Wever, the Mayor of Antwerp, and Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of the developers BESIX Group, jointly inaugurated the first portico for the building. The new building will become the De Persgroep headquarters and, alongside Vilvoorde, the location of the new media group created as a result of the merger of De Persgroep Publishing and MEDIALAAN. The new building will accommodate, among others, News City and the editorial offices of Het Laatste Nieuws, HLN.be, De Morgen, VTM NIEUWS, Dag Allemaal, etc.
Christian Van Thillo, CEO De Persgroep: “We are literally building the media of tomorrow here. The new building aims to create an open, creative and flexible working environment that will be operating 24/7. Its location near Central Station guarantees easy accessibility by public transport and provides a fast link with our sites in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. We also want use the location as a magnet for the type of talent that will grow and flourish in a university city with a booming start-up scene.”
The new building will become the showcase for the renovated station quarter near Antwerp Central Station. Bart De Wever, the Mayor of Antwerp: “The Kievit quarter was renowned for its diamond industry and the enticing smells wafting across from the De Beukelaer bakery used to greet train travellers. The factory disappeared decades ago and the diamond trade has now relocated. A new impetus to put the area on the map once again was long overdue, which is why the arrival of De Persgroep represents a huge opportunity. News programmes and newspapers are set to take over from biscuits and diamonds. At the heart of the city, the iconic De Persgroep building will act as a truly great advertisement to inject new life into the Kievit quarter and transform the ‘back’ of Central Station into a bona fide access point.”
The building is being developed by the Belgian BESIX Group. Rik Vandenberghe, CEO BESIX Group: “We are delighted that De Persgroep chose us to build their new headquarters. Completing the work in 19 months will be quite a challenge, but we are able to handle this type of project because we always focus on sound preparation and a quick start. We are also particularly pleased that by constructing this imposing new building, we will be contributing to the revitalisation of Kievitplein. This project substantiates our position as a prominent player in Belgium and Antwerp, particularly in the area of ongoing urban development and regeneration. It also demonstrates our commitment to guaranteeing the sustainability of urban regeneration.”
The new building, which is still under construction, will cover a surface area of 22,191 m² and will be 46 metres high. The design was created by the architectural firm Crepain Binst Architecture nv. The ground floor will also incorporate a brasserie, which will be open to the general public. The building will accommodate 1,000 people and is expected to be ready for occupation in the autumn of 2019.