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The building permit for MCA (Maritime Campus Antwerp) has been approved for ± 40,000m². The do-campus will be the heart of innovation in the maritime sector. Demolition and clean up have already been completed. The works will start in the spring of 2022. The campus will open in 2024.
MCA wishes to bring maritime actors together. It will be a do-campus with room for the core activities of larger corporate companies, start-ups, education and research institutions to work together and innovate. The ambition is to strengthen the maritime sector and make it more sustainable.
"The maritime sector needs a location where all players can meet and work together to tackle the challenges of shipping. Decarbonising our industry is one of them, and Antwerp and MCA can play a crucial role in this. MCA is ideally situated in Blue Gate, the former Petroleum South cluster. In the same place where fossil fuels created prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, we now wish to use innovation, technology and sustainability to build tomorrow's prosperity."
It concerns the former BP site that in the meantime has been completely cleaned up. MCA transforms an old industrial area into a future-orientated, maritime and innovative site with respect for a balance between economic activity and nature. The building has room for co-working and co-creation, labs, workshops, extensive R&D facilities, educational facilities and the necessary support services. The R&D halls will already be used, for example, to test hydrogen engines and build hydrogen applications.
"After an intensive period of preparation, it is pleasing that MCA Campus is now becoming concrete. We realise that MCA is a new story and we are pleased that the various authorities have made an effort to fully understand the complexity of the application to enter into dialogue and to find solutions, all within the space framework of Blue Gate.
Meanwhile, we have not been lagging on the content front with the launch of the accelerator platform Plug And Play Maritime. In addition, we will soon launch the official start of the MCA Community. With the launch of the co-working and meeting centre MCA LABS at the beginning of December, we also have space for anyone looking for a workplace or meeting room and for the community members to work together on innovation in the maritime sector. A good step towards MCA Campus."
For the first time in years there is activity on the former BP site situated in the south of the city of Antwerp along the river Scheldt. The demolition and soil clean-up of the old industrial site is the first step towards the new and ambitious Maritime Campus Antwerp (MCA).
MCA will bring together maritime and port-based players from start-ups to corporations. This do-campus will be the centre for innovation extending to the broad maritime and port industry. Here companies, public partners, researchers and start-ups will form a community. The ambition is to strengthen the European and global maritime industry and make it sustainable.
The demolition and soil clean-up works are expected to be completed by the end of this year. The ambition is to start the construction works for the first building phase of about 30.000m² early next year. The ambition is to open in 2023.
“For the moment we have world class ports like the Port of Antwerp and a world class maritime industry in our country. The world is changing fast and competition is also increasing. To maintain our position we need to look and think ahead. I strongly believe in cooperation and innovation as key for these challenges. Joining forces with partners creates scale and by combining know-how and competences will result in R&D and innovative ideas that will help us to respond to new evolutions in the industry. MCA will help us to maintain our current position and even strengthen and expand it.”
Reslea, the real estate branch of CMB, last year acquired the former BP-site located at the Benzineweg next to the nature reserve ‘Hobokense polder’. The vision of MCA is being translated into an ambitious first building project and masterplan for the entire site. This campus will grow into a do-campus with room for the core businesses of larger maritime corporations, collaboration and collective creation, labs, workshops, a vast range of R&D-facilities, classes and education and supporting services. MCA aims to connect as many qualitative players from the broad maritime industry as possible in one community looking for answers to the maritime challenges of tomorrow; private, education and research, public partners can all take part.
“The idea of co-creation for MCA is also applied to the way we are developing the campus and why we chose an innovative building team formula. We looked for partners who share our vision on MCA and our vision of collective creation. The building team partners are compatible and stable companies that bring the right people to the table.
Because the team will work together for many years to come, the competences, means and mentality were extensively screened. It is exciting to make a change and to see how this will develop into an inspiring campus concept. Also the MCA community will be based on this rather atypical approach.”
Since last year a building team has been working on the design of the first building and the vision for the development of the site. The building team for MCA is a first because of the very early involvement and the far-reaching collaboration with the architects KCAP and Atelier Romain, contractor Willemen Construct, engineering company Tractebel and smart building specialist Spacewell. The demolition and soil clean-up will be executed by Deme Environmental Contractors (DEC) and Aertssen.