After lengthy and costly renovation works, the Antwerp City Hall will reopen for duty by the summer of 2022. Without shops on the ground floor, as no-one seems interested.
Erected between 1561 and 1565 after designs made by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and several other architects and artists, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences. The City Hall is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List along with the belfries of Belgium and France.
Over the centuries, obviously, the building was renovated and modernized. The last big works dated from the 1970-1980s.
The ground floor and the basement were put on the market for commercial tenants. But after two rounds, no-one as interested. In the first round, prices varied from 65,400 euro to 93,600 euro per year for a concession. In a second round, the price was drastically cut to 32,400 euro per year or 2,700 per month.
So the city government will now look into the issue and think of other possibilities for the available space(s). For Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA), the city hall must welcome a large public.
The first aldermen should move office into the city hall by June 2022. The first city council meeting will probably take place after the summer recess.
A temporary exhibition will also showcase the building’s history.
The renovations cost some 32 million euros, two more than budgeted. COVID-19 and other (un)expected challenges delayed the reopening for a year.