CLIENT ― CAAAP | LOCATION ― ZWEVEGEM (B)
Leanderhof is the new name for the 19th century Bekaert site, a tribute to founder Leon Leander Bekaert of the steel wire factory that bears his name. The remediation and redevelopment works started in 2014 and were completed in 2019. This brownfield site in the middle of an urban area is now a pleasant, green neighbourhood of 7.3 hectares with a low-maintenance, natural park and flower meadow covering 2 hectares. The headquarters of Bekaert are still situated at this symbolic location where the company had its first office.
― Integrated remediation and project development
Bekaert was keen to retain its headquarters at the Zwevegem site, which needed to be remediated. Following the demolition of the former works, Bekaert launched a market consultation in 2011 for the sale of its site, including the takeover of the obligation to remediate the soil. In addition, Bekaert required the candidate buyers to clean up and demolish the building, so that it could acquire its own 2-hectare site on which the new headquarters would be built.
CAAAP and DEME took part in the market consultation as a consortium, and following lengthy negotiations, were declared the successful bidders. It was agreed that CAAAP would buy the land and DEME would take over the remediation obligation for a fixed price.
― All risks covered
In preparing their tender to Bekaert, CAAAP and DEME laid the groundwork for a modification to the master plan and for an integrated remediation approach that was optimised for the development project. As such, they could make Bekaert an attractive financial proposal.
The project partners were also able to offer firm guarantees for the definitive takeover of the remediation risks.
In this regard, DEME gave CAAAP a complete guarantee until approval by OVAM, and for a fixed price. This took away any concerns on the part of the developer, who was able to fully focus on project development. CAAAP and DEME also managed to conclude a ‘brownfield covenant’ with the Flemish government for this site, which is advantageous in administrative, legal and financial terms.
‘The reconversion of the former Bekaert site illustrates perfectly well how a partnership between a real estate developer and a dedicated environmental contractor can make the difference.’
― Soil remediation
DEME prepared the soil remediation project itself, with the assistance of an expert, following the transfer of the site and in accordance with the remediation obligation. The remediation works lasted from May to December 2015. These were followed by the construction of the development platform so that CAAAP could then start construction without any problems.
The contamination was twofold: in addition to soil and groundwater contamination with heavy metals, there was also contamination with volatile chlorinated solvents. DEME was responsible for monitoring groundwater quality after the remediation until the final declaration by OVAM at the end of a monitoring period.
Given the central location in Zwevegem and the fact that the headquarters of Bekaert were still operational, special consideration was given to emission and dust control. Specific efforts were also made to inform local residents, including professional communication about the works.
DEME took a highly meticulous approach to the works. The site was divided into 850 sections of 25 x 25 metres, with detailed information on the soil conditions. This information
was mapped in 3D.
The soil map developed by DEME was linked to the GPS system of the earthworks machines on the site. As such, all excavations were traceable and the work was undertaken extremely efficiently.
― Lively residential area
The former Bekaert site in the centre of Zwevegem is a brownfield site that has been transformed into a lively residential area. Besides offering quality housing, Leanderhof also meets the demands of business owners looking for modern premises in which to set up their businesses. There is 3000 square metres of space for shops, businesses and services, and a large underground car park that keeps the site car-free.
Leanderhof is a sustainable, future-oriented project with maximum integration of green space and a flower meadow of 2 hectares. The buildings are oriented in a way that allows all residents to enjoy the green landscape. The layout of the green landscape area takes account of accessibility and offers ample space for people who wish to play and relax.
― People the main focus
Developer CAAAP collaborated for this project with Architectural firm B2Ai, who are acclaimed for their progressive designs that put the people who live, work and pass through them as the main focus of the scheme. For this project, the firm designed four buildings - De Courbe, De Soudé, De Wals and De Vlieger.
Sleek facades, elegant staircases and an inviting park ensure that anyone who enjoys an urban feel amidst a green landscape feels right at home here.
‘At Leanderhof, residents live in the largest flower meadow in the heart of Zwevegem.’
― A village within a village
Leanderhof is a major project, with construction work carried out in phases. The first residents have already moved in around the lively Pioniersplein. The residential offering in this first phase ranges from apartments for first-time buyers or investors, to assisted living.
All this is complemented by a range of commercial spaces and superb eating establishments that enjoy abundant light and bring even more dynamism, transforming Leanderhof into a new residential and business district in the heart of Zwevegem.
‘The main challenge is to integrate the remediation work into the construction project. We can’t look at this in isolation, we need to consider the soil remediation as part of the overall project. Thanks to the integrated approach of the DEME and CAAAP team, we have successfully transformed a heavily polluted inner-city site into a green residential environment, with respect for people and the environment.’
STEFANIE VANDENBROUCKE, MANAGING DIRECTOR CAAAP