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French-speakers forge ahead with commercial real estate project Just Under the Sky

An inter-ministerial committee had until 9 January to rule on an appeal against a socio-economic permit to build Just Under The Sky, a commercial real estate project by the French speaking Mestdagh family along the Brussels Canal near the Van Praet bridge. The three French-speaking committee ministers yesterday voted in favour of the permit while the two Flemish ministers opposed it. The committee consisted of federal minister for the economy Johan Vande Lanotte SP.A, federal works minister Monica De Coninck SP.A, federal state secretary for mobility Melchior Wathelet cdH, federal minister for the self-employed Sabine Laruelle MR and Brussels minister for labour, Benoît Cerexhe cdH. This marks the next step in the chain of proceedings for permits by the rival shopping centre projects in Brussels and its surroundings.: the Uplace project in Machelen, Just Under The Sky near the Van Praet bridge and Neo at the Heyzel The result of the vote shows clearly how the regions oppose each other with respect to these projects. Uplace a Flemish project and Just Under The Sky are in a tight race with each other. Unizo, the union of independent entrepreneurs, appealed against the socio-economic permit granted for the Just Under The Sky project, which now has all permits in the bag and is so much closer to its scheduled opening in 2015. There are still a few legal proceedings running against the building and environmental permit introduced by Unizo and the city of Louvain, but they do not suspend the works. Building contractor Equilis, an affiliate of the distribution group Mestdagh, has meanwhile conformed that building could start in spring. The Uplace project has meanwhile been granted a socio-economic permit but the Council of State suspended the environmental permit last month. The Flemish government is seeking a solution as Uplace has set its sights on an opening in 2016.