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American Theatre near Atomium to become cultural hotspot

09:07 13/09/2023

An agreement between the American Theatre in Laeken, housed in the former American pavilion at Expo 58, and the City of Brussels could pave the way to a future wherein it serves as a cultural hotspot.

The theatre is looking for a long lease agreement between Flanders and the City of Brussels to eventually transform it, Bruzz reports, but the parties had been deadlocked for quite some time.

Now Brussels mayor Philippe Close (PS) has confirmed that the expropriation process of the American Theatre is being initiated, with the intention to transfer ownership from Belgium's federal buildings authority, the Régie des Bâtiments, to the City of Brussels, which will then give it on a long lease to the Flemish government.

The revamped building, which for decades housed VRT studios, would include a concert hall, rehearsal rooms and catering facilities.

“This is a crucial building in Brussels and the national heritage that should not be neglected,” Close said.

Flemish minister of Brussels Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) told Bruzz that he was “delighted that the City of Brussels has taken this important step in this matter.”

“The ambition to restore the American Theatre to public and cultural use is part of the Flemish coalition agreement,” Dalle said.

“In 2022, the Flemish government and the City of Brussels together asked the Buildings Authority to initiate the amicable expropriation. Now that there is an agreement on this, the way is clear to proceed with the concrete implementation of the project.”

Written by Helen Lyons