Belgium/Ganshoren: a new tax on empty spaces and a bonus to "revitalise commerce

Published on 19/10/2021 | La rédaction


With these two new measures, the Ganshoren aldermanic college intends to fight against the "desertification" of the local economic fabric.

"We see in Ganshoren ground floor shops that have been closed for years. This contributes to the desertification of our economic fabric," says Stéphane Obeid (MR), alderman in charge of Finance and the "Local and Sustainable Economy". Ganshoren has seen many closures in recent years and now has a vacancy rate of 14%. To combat this phenomenon, the CDH-MR-Défi aldermen's council, which has already introduced (before the health crisis) local vouchers, is coming up with two new measures this autumn: a tax on unoccupied commercial surfaces and a bonus for setting up.

"Our aim is to revitalise trade and attract quality shops. We want to make Ganshoren a destination municipality, not a transit municipality", hopes the first alderman of Ganshoren.

The new tax will be applied from 2022 onwards and will hit the wallets of those who leave a commercial space empty for more than 10 months. The amount is set at €950 per running metre of facade in the first year, then €1,140 in the second year and €1,368 from the third.

However, exemptions are provided for in the event of damage, works or in "cases of force majeure". "This will make it possible to fight against property speculation: people actually count on the evolution of the property market and wait a long time before reselling their building."

A bonus of up to €14,000

Another tool to boost the local economy is a bonus for setting up a new business, called "Come in Gans", which can go up to €14,000. "It's an incentive from the top", says the Ganshoren's big money man. All applications will be subject to a call for projects and will have to be approved by a jury made up of shopkeepers, the competent alderman, a member of the opposition and the regional authorities. The selection criteria include originality, quality and diversification of the offer.

With these two measures, the local authorities hope to revitalise the commercial offer of the Avenue Charles Quint, where half of the shops in the municipality are located and which "has lost many shops in ten years".


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