Shopping 2, one of the oldest shopping centres in Belgium, is in urgent need of renovation. By the end of the year, the 121 owners will have to agree on one of the three renewal plans on the table. Is there still a future for the almost fifty-year-old building?
End of this year deadline
The city of Genk (Limburg province) has worked out three renovation scenarios for Shopping 2, which forms the link between Shopping 1 and the shops in the city centre. By the end of this year, all of the stakeholders, including the 121 owners, will have to make a choice. The city and the merchants at the complex have ordered a study that will further look at each scenario.
The first, least radical, scenario is purely a superficial renovation. In addition, the shopping centre will be upgraded with any necessary repairs, paintings and embellishments. The idea is that Shopping 2 could then continue in this way for another ten to twenty years.
Pull it all apart?
A second route to take consists of a more drastic renovation: "We could look at breaking it apart, expanding, and re-filling the conservatory area. In that case, the whole complex would be tackled more thoroughly. The many nooks and crannies will also be redefined", as alderman Toon Vandeurzen explained to local newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. In that case, the retail space would be limited to lower the high vacancy rate, and would be replaced by more residential units. This should also generate money for further renovation, regional news station TVL reports.
The third option is to completely demolish the 1970s building, which suffers from concrete degradation, and replace it with a new complex. There have been talks about a thorough overhaul for Shopping 2 for years, but they stalled three years ago. Shopping 1 shows, however, that it is possible: that shopping centre was recently renovated and has since experienced a revival.