The Icadi Project: Transforming Liège’s Last Land for Sale in the Guillemins District

2023-09-22 14:06:00

The call for interest was launched just a year ago… and the least we can say is that there was some interest for this land called “Icadi” and that the we can present as the last land for sale in this district which continues to change: the Guillemins. The former Icadi ​​is therefore the Institute of Construction, Decorative Arts and Computer Graphics located a stone’s throw from the station and, at the beginning of September 2022, the City of Liège, its land management company and the SNCB will intended to promote this 10,000 m² space, ideally located in this new business district truly “boosted” by the Calatrava station, inaugurated in 2009. After the Paradis Express project, in the shadow of the Finance Tower and watching the future tram, these 10,000 m² quickly found a buyer. Out of ten projects presented, only one remained at the end of the procedure… that of Stéphan Uhoda.

The entrepreneur and art collector well known in Liège is carrying out this project carried out with the architectural offices Dorte Mandrup (Denmark) and B2Ai (Brussels), which therefore concerns the former Icadi ​​but which also intends to promote, via housing, the latter “bare land”, located between rue Jean Gol, de Fragnée, de Sclessin and Albert de Cuyck. In total, more than 100 houses and apartments will be built here by 2027, but not only…

“The urban consolidation plan for this district at the time provided for 120,000 m² of offices and 500 new housing units”, recalled Christine Defraigne, alderman for Urban Planning, this Friday. “We are currently at 192 new housing units… and we are talking here about adding 117.” It was in fact one of the conditions issued in the call for interest “which has the advantage of allowing us to define a project in advance, in relation to the objectives set”, continued the alderwoman of Territorial Development Maggy Yerna. It is on this basis that the “Uhoda” project was selected from then on, a project which obtained maximum points on its “quality” (80% of points) assure the authorities and not on the price (20%).

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More than 50% family housing

Opposite Paradis Express, there will therefore be accommodation, mainly for families. “Because the idea is also to make a link with the existing old district,” explained Barbara Wolff, from the B2Ai office. While the Icadi ​​building, rue de Fragnée, will be generally preserved (and enhanced), a new “house front” will be created on rue Jean Gol, closing the block but also opening it, thanks to an interior pedestrian alley leading to another new building (apartment), which opens onto a collective garden (Danish style). We will mainly find single-family houses with at least three bedrooms (more than 50%), alongside which there will also be lofts, the latter taking place in the raised space (two floors) of the Icadi. It is also in these premises that a crèche and an artists’ residence are planned, as a reminder of the original use of the premises.

An alley is planned at the rear of the houses. ©DR

Of the 20,000 m², 1,400 will finally be reserved for commerce and the liberal professions; and although located in the heart of a multimodal hub (train-tram-bus-cycle paths), the project provides for 82 underground parking spaces. The project leaders also insist on the sustainable dimensions of this new district which will be based on geothermal energy, a heat pump system, rainwater recovery and even photovoltaic panels.

Present this Friday, the mayor of Liège Willy Demeyer said he was particularly happy to see “that public investments generate private investments here”. The price of the land was set at 3.789 million euros.

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