New role for bombproof barracks

  • Real estate projects
  • Heritage
  • Real estate
Bomvrije kazerne - erfgoed

To the north of Dendermonde’s historic city centre is a former infantry barracks, with training grounds and surrounding officers’ homes, from the Dutch period. The city of Dendermonde and PMV are studying future infills for the so-called ‘bombproof’ barracks, after which a private partner will be attracted through a market procedure.

The imposing historic barracks building was part of the Dendermonde fortress in the Wellington Barrier. Both the barracks and the infantry square and officers’ quarters are protected. The heritage site is unique both for its size and its architectural appearance. The barracks fell into disuse as a military building in 1968. Today, the site is partially in use. The building is used for storage (for the Ros Beiaard and the Gildereuzen, among others); the outdoor area is set up as a car park and the nearby CC Belgica is accessed by heavy traffic via the site. Other parts of the site no longer have a function. With very limited use, the building is highly subject to decay. Its size, location in the city centre and historical importance provide great potential to further develop the site as a strategic urban project.

New destination

The upgrading of the barracks fits into the broader framework of restoring Dendermond’s heritage. In 2015, the city already completed a design study involving local residents and interested parties. The current owner (the Régie des Bâtiments) and the local government have already commissioned some initial stability studies. The results of these appear positive, showing, for example, that the existing foundation is in good condition. Initially, important conservation works will now have to prevent further deterioration and the building will be given time to dry out. At the same time, in cooperation with other partners, a dossier is being launched to enable the building and the entire site to be put to a new use.

PMV’s role

The city of Dendermonde and PMV signed an option agreement with the Public Buildings Administration on 16 September 2020 to acquire the ‘Bombproof’ Barracks within a maximum of two years. At any time within those two years, the option can be lifted to jointly take over the site. To this end, the city and PMV signed a separate cooperation agreement. In a first phase, a feasibility analysis will be made of future infill plans for the barracks, involving a spatial-architectural, technical, economic and financial study. In a second phase, a private partner will be attracted through a market procedure.