Citydev has a new management contract that emphasizes the provision of spaces for the benefit of productive companies. At the end of the contract, at least ten SME parks will be in operation.
The 2021-2025 management contract concluded between the Brussels government and citydev.brussels was signed on Thursday. Despite the crisis and the difficult financial situation of the Brussels Region, this public body will not see its means cut down. “There was inevitably a doubt, because there is less money to spend on ambitious projects at the moment. But the crisis has also brought to the fore the importance of having decent housing and producing locally, two of our main axes “, argues Benjamin Cadranel. The boss of Citydev adds that the volume of activities will increase in the years to come without an increase in the volume of subsidies compared to the previous legislature.
If the creation of subsidized housing, an activity that is necessarily in deficit, still requires public contributions, citydev.brussels can still boast of having increased its own revenues, which today represent more than half of its resources. Between 2013 and 2019, revenue from long-term lease payments increased by more than six million euros.
Known above all for its missions related to housing, this public body nevertheless owes a large part of its income to economic activities. According to the new management contract, 30% of Citydev’s resources must also be allocated to so-called mixed projects, including housing and productive activity.. “We were already there in the facts, but we are pulling the target upwards to also get the result. No question of slackening our efforts”, comments Benjamin Cadranel who announces that the number of SME parks will double, growing from five currently to ten active parks by 2026.
“The SME parks are our flagship products in economic expansion and we will remain in continuity. Rather than large zonings, we plan to small workshops between 150m² and 500m² which integrate well into the urban fabric.”
“The SME parks are our flagship products in economic expansion and we will remain in continuity. Rather than large zonings, we are planning small workshops between 150 m² and 500 m² which fit well into the urban fabric and that we reserve for companies that produce things: carpentry, chocolate, microbrewery … We have more turnover than by renting three hectares of land to a multinational, but we have, on the other hand, better employment densitys and this creates promising ecosystems “, underlines the general administrator of Citydev.
The new management contract, which emphasizes ecological transition, will result in modify the criteria for selecting tenant companies of these spaces. “Land is starting to be scarce and we are no longer running behind companies. In addition to the employment rate per hectare and the company’s financial strength, sustainability and circularity will be criteria which we still have to refine with the Secretary of State. “
As for Finance & Invest over which she also has supervision, Barbara Trachte (Ecolo) has in fact applied the principle set in the government agreement, namely that all economic policies must align with environmental goals. For Citydev, this translates into various principles such as exemplary in the sustainability of buildings, the development of biodiversity in projects, participatory consultation …
Through delegated missions, Citydev will develop one axis dedicated to urban agriculture, another to logistics. “As this takes up a lot of space for few jobs, logistics were previously excluded on the Citydev sites. Except that things have changed: we are not talking about a large European sorting center that does not have its place in town, but ratherorganize the last mile in a more sustainable way“, explains Benjamin Cadranel.
More housing in emphytéose
In terms of urban renewal and housing, the quantified targets set by Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (PS) remain identical. It is a question of bringing out of the earth a thousand housing units mainly acquired in five years. The only difference is that the construction of social housing, which was already part of good practice, will be stepped up at the request of the regional government. Other guidelines set by the new management contract: produce 200 zero-energy homes; 20% also in the municipalities of the second ring where the problem of accessibility to housing is important and develop a minimum of 20% of housing in emphytéose.
“In a region that lacks land, emphyteusis should allow us to keep control of the grounds which generally become free at the end of the convention. But it’s something that is still culturally complicated today, so we weren’t ready to do 100% under this regime, “said the boss of Citydev.