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Green light for the transformation of the A6K-E6K technological and digital hub


Charleroi, May 30, 2024 - The city center of Charleroi continues its transformation with the granting of the urban planning permit for the renovation and expansion project of the A6K-E6K hub, supported by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) with an investment of 75 million euros. By 2026, the activities of this technological and digital hub will be able to expand into new, larger, greener, and better-adapted spaces thanks to a unique collaboration between Sambrinvest, the project leader, and Igretec, the intercommunal entity in charge of the real estate aspect.

60,000m² between city and rail, surrounded by greenery

The development of this ambitious architectural project will be carried out in two phases:

The in-depth transformation of the postal sorting building, next to the Charleroi Central Station esplanade, covering a total gross area of over 40,000m²

The construction of a new building of nearly 20,000m² on the adjacent platform.

The renovation of the old Postal Sorting building, which will primarily be dedicated to A6K activities, will transform this mineral monolith by dressing it in a light, perforated metal exterior that will play with the light to break the austerity of the current structure.

On the station esplanade side, the structure will open onto a covered passage that will traverse the building from west to east. On the Sambre quay side, another opening in the facade will create a view towards the footbridge that spans the waterway, connecting the architectural ensemble with the lower city, facing Quai 10.

Charleroi Transformation Tri Postal A6 K E6 K Vue D 230915 min
View from Charleroi Station square

The surroundings will be landscaped with trees, and greenery will extend throughout the entire interior gallery, which will be open to the public, where active workshops will be visible to passersby.

Next to it will rise the new building intended to house the E6K technological and digital training campus. This low-carbon project, the most advanced and ambitious ever designed by Igretec, includes a maximum of bio-sourced materials (hemp blocks, earth plaster, etc.). Clad in a metal mesh functioning as sun protection, it will also be equipped with heat pumps and will utilize water from the nearby Sambre River to regulate its temperature.

Oriented to the south, the facade that runs along the railway tracks and faces the ring road viaduct will be dedicated to a garden accessible to the building users: fruit trees, native climbing plants, and other vegetation will create a natural decor and a green, cool area, serving both as a sun screen and a CO²-capturing element.

BE Charleroi Transformation Tri Postal A6 K E6 K Vue K 230915 min

First ground-breaking at the end of this summer

Issued this week, the urban planning permit paves the way for the start of construction: the first ground-breaking is expected by the end of August this year, with the project completion anticipated by the end of 2026.

The operations will begin with the new construction intended to host the E6K activities. This will be followed by the transformation of the postal sorting building.

Making Charleroi a Driver of Reindustrialization

Launched just over five years ago in the former postal sorting building of Charleroi, the A6K-E6K hub aims to stimulate the growth of technological and digital players by co-locating their activities in a single iconic and unifying location. Today, A6K brings together more than 80 organizations, including industrial companies, start-ups, research centers, universities, and training operators, and its E6K training campus offers hundreds of technological and digital courses, attracting several thousand learners each year.

Thanks to this large-scale project, A6K-E6K will be able to quadruple its space and increase the number of learners from 1,000 to 10,000 per year starting in the fall of 2026. The ambition is clear: to put Charleroi and Belgium on the European reindustrialization map!

Discover the infrastructure evolution in 3D here, in the video:

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Located next to Charleroi Central Station, A6K (a multidisciplinary center dedicated to engineering sciences) brings together teams from industrial companies, start-ups, universities, and research centers in a single location to stimulate innovation and industrial transformation in Wallonia. Its core functions are innovation and incubation: the goal is to multiply collaborative projects to lead to the development of new products, new processes, and the emergence of new businesses in the region.

E6K (an innovative physical platform bringing together various public/private operators of digital and technological education in the city center), a direct neighbor of A6K, promotes the creation of partnerships conducive to the development of the broadest and most comprehensive training offer possible. This aims to attract more and more learners into digital and technological courses, thus meeting the talent needs identified by the members of the A6K community.

Operational since 2019, the A6K-E6K project has notably developed thanks to prominent attractive players such as Alstom, Thales Alenia Space, AGC, ULB, UMONS, UCLouvain, Technofutur TIC, IFAPME, and Becode.

About Sambrinvest

With over 35 years of experience supporting businesses and entrepreneurs, nearly 300 SMEs in its portfolio, and more than €200M under management, Sambrinvest plays a key role in venture capital financing in the Charleroi region of Belgium.

More than just an investor, Sambrinvest is the driving force behind ecosystem development and prioritizes targeted investments in companies active in the sectors listed above. These efforts are complemented by significant real estate investments (structural projects) to create a fertile environment for the development of our businesses. More information at www.sambrinvest.be.

About Igretec

A design and management office, economic, territorial, and strategic development agency, Igretec is also active in the water and energy sectors.

A multi-skilled company whose core mission is to act in the public interest, Igretec is the real estate partner of the Charleroi Métropole ecosystems.

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