An evolving, flexible project for the town’s residents both now and in the future

The Rout Lëns project is more than a real estate project. The project has set itself an ambitious mission: to create a bridge between the past and the future. Rout Lëns is inventing an exemplary urban space where different generations will be able to flourish in harmony with the natural environment.

The Esch neighbourhood is both anchored in its history and its industrial heritage AND resolutely forward-thinking, with a focus on convenience, responsibility and new ways of living.

A co-working space where people can work together

For anyone looking for a shared work space in an unusual environment, there are plans to open a co-working space within the historic Halle des Turbines.

This iconic industrial building will be fully renovated and is set to become one of the centrepieces of the Allée de la Culture Industrielle.

It will be all the more stimulating to work there, as it is well on its way to becoming one of the cultural hubs of Esch-sur-Alzette. In time it will host exhibitions, conferences and concerts.

4 pillars to support the vision

To build this neighbourhood and make it accessible to everyone, open to every possibility, where everyone is free to live according to their own ideas, desires and time, Rout Lëns is built around 4 founding pillars.

  1. 1

    The urban structure Allée de la Culture Industrielle

    Regarded as the backbone of the new Rout Lëns neighbourhood, the Allée de la Culture Industrielle is a pedestrian avenue that connects each of the 5 remaining heritage buildings that have been preserved.

    Magasin TT, Halle des turbines, Portique, Halle des Soufflantes and Poste d’Aiguillage have been fully renovated and are now welcoming, multipurpose spaces. 

    The central backbone of the new neighbourhood, the Allée de la Culture Industrielle, embodies a future with firm roots in its past.

  2. 2

    The built form A layered neighbourhood

    From the ground to the sky, each layer offers specific functions and features to suit the users’ many different expectations. The heights of the buildings vary to avoid monotony. Hanging gardens, landscaped terraces, open views and different atmospheres characterise each layer.

    In every corner of the neighbourhood, space is dedicated to nature, to fulfil the commitments of the Rout Lëns project.

  3. 3

    The place of nature Surrounded by plants

    In order to breathe new life into this area, after being razed to the ground by industry, IKO Real Estate is planning a “plant takeover”.

    In keeping with IKO’s vision of “Putting human well-being and nature at the heart of every real estate project”, the masterplan includes planting nearly 700 trees.

  4. 4

    A sustainable, innovative neighbourhood

    A neighbourhood committed to innovation when it comes to how it is used, mobility, architecture, urban planning, and energy.

    For example, saving resources, which includes installing innovative systems such as one to reuse greywater, geothermal heating, solar panels, home automation, educating people about energy consumption and management in the neighbourhood.

    Responsible waste management, a repair cafe, an urban farm and a market with as short a supply chain as possible are just some of the solutions implemented to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.


General Questions

Have you got any questions? Our FAQ section is the fastest way to get the answers you’re looking for. You will also find some explanations of lots of the subjects discussed during the consultation meetings.
  • Previous demolition work and current soil remediation projects are being carried out by ArcelorMittal. This is an essential step, and unfortunately it is hard to do discreetly. If, despite the precautionary measures that have been taken, this work is causing you any inconvenience, please send an email outlining your concerns to IKO Real Estate’s continuing work on the project will take place in several phases. Ongoing information will be provided for each new stage of the project.
  • The project includes an urban mobility plan with underground car parks at the entrance to the site, which will limit the number of cars at ground level. We are also working to promote soft mobility as much as possible with the introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, an efficient national cycle path and a cross-border cycle path and bike stations within the project. Pedestrian travel will be prioritised, including in particular with the Allée de la Culture Industrielle. Workers will be able to benefit from the creation of a BRT stop and the proximity of the train station. Parking options will be appropriate and designed to fit in with new concepts including shared car parks, car sharing and flexible parking. The number of parking spaces will be adjusted according to requirements to avoid any overflow in nearby neighbourhoods.
  • Obviously this new neighbourhood is also designed to meet the growing demand for housing. The focus is on quality of life as well as on integration into the environment. This means that new buildings are designed to occupy a small surface area in order to free up public space and open spaces and limit soil sealing. The site will offer a number of different housing options, distributed throughout the project. You will see, for example, that there will be “overlapping houses” with some “Émergences” accommodation, “emerging” from the ground and livening up the landscape. As well as this, although our masterplan guarantees a level of consistency, we will also be organising architectural competitions for some plots to ensure architectural diversity. There are 2 tower blocks for the whole site. These will be strategically located to minimise their visual impact on the environment. The new Rout Lëns neighbourhood is destined to become a friendly, enjoyable place to life. That’s why there will be a range of things to do, both during the day and in the evening, and as much during the week as at the weekend. It will be an active, vibrant neighbourhood that will promote intergenerational diversity with a new school, homes available for sale and to let, student accommodation, a retirement home and co-living. The emphasis will be on shared spaces such as community gardens, multi-purpose rooms, public squares, urban furniture etc.
  • In accordance with the nature protection law, high quality biotopes with significant ecological value have been established in areas of an equivalent quality to begin with before being subject to compensatory measures. The Rout Lëns PAP is based on Phytolab’s landscaping and ecological approach, where the emphasis is on the presence of green structures (urban forests). The concept has a certain ecological value. As a result, the green structures introduced will, after a certain time, create significant ecological value. The number of trees shown in the graphic does not imply that the 700 trees planned will not be planted. The PAP must allow for evolutionary factors in terms of their position in the space (a lamp post, network or window for example), which is why not everything is shown on the plan. However, this commitment is included in the ecopoint assessment of the site as part of the environmental permits and IKO will be subject to penalties if this obligation is not met.
  • A number of studies were carried out to determine the feasibility of retaining all or part of the Mollereï. First of all, it was a purely technical and enclosed concrete structure (ore silos) and therefore very difficult to convert and use for something else.  One study looked into the possibility of a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists from the Plateau Barbourg opposite, but this proved to be technically rather complex, particularly in terms of the slopes required. It is worth remembering that this story of local heritage began 40 years ago. This means that we started to destroy and dismantle this industrial site 2 generations ago. Buildings were left behind that were iconic. There were 2 types of building: this concrete one and all the metal structures. The urban aspect of the project, not the heritage dimension, is about working for future generations, in other words, it’s about remembering that the buildings that we have preserved and that we are going to link together with the Allée de la Culture Industrielle, are buildings that will be given a new lease of life, not for the benefit of the last people who worked at the site, but for their grandchildren. We have therefore chosen to preserve the iconic parts of this building, which are the metal gantries and silos. As a tribute to the original site, they are regarded as one of the key elements of the Allée de la Culture Industrielle, which is at the heart of the project.
  • This was the subject of authorisation given by Esch’s municipal authorities (building permit no. 20/0221) to Arcelor Mittal, who have embarked on the corresponding processes in accordance with the legislation in force in Luxembourg which, unlike France or Belgium for example, does not allow for a “Risk”-based approach (EQRS = Evaluation Quantitative des Risques Sanitaires, or qualitative risk assessment) which would have made it possible to keep the earth in place rather than dig it up. And so the only possible solution given the current regulations was to excavate contaminated soil and take it to dedicated landfill sites. In this case the soil is being taken to Arcelor Mittal’s existing landfill site in Differdange. In order to ensure that these processes are carried out correctly, Arcelor Mittal has provided IKO with a protocol for the management of polluted soil, which indicates how these processes should be carried out, certified by FONDASOL. In order to optimise excavation work on the site, all the car parks were located in the pollution hotspots that had been identified in the preliminary studies. This means that on the one hand we don’t have to level off areas where it is not necessary and on the other hand we can avoid having too many pockets of too many cars at ground level. This means we will be able to eliminate cars and thus offer a much better quality of life and a peaceful place to live for future residents. However, these car parks still offer some flexibility, including in particular for urban logistics or last mile solutions.
  • The project pays particular attention to the presence of nature on the site. To do this, we are embracing the principle of “reinstating nature”. In practical terms, this will manifest itself, for example, in the creation of roofs set aside for lawns grown on chalky soil in order to establish a habitat suitable for pyramidal orchids (a protected species identified on the site), in the establishment of an urban forest in the middle of the buildings, and in experiments next to the Halle des Soufflantes and the Magasin TT, designed to help us understand how plants are adapting to climate change by integrating other, more exotic species. The project plans to plant approximately 700 trees, with the aim of creating a forest atmosphere right from the start. The trees will be of various sizes in order to promote biodiversity. Ultimately, an impressive 3.5 hectares will have been given back to nature! When it comes to protecting the species identified on the site, compensatory and definitive action is planned. These compensatory measures are already being carried out by ArcelorMittal, and IKO Real Estate will continue with them during the development phases. Examples include the creation of bat shelters and the construction of gabion walls that will serve as new habitats for lizards.
  • The new Rout Lëns neighbourhood has been identified as a priority sector for housing developments in the Housing Plan, so 30% of the housing built on the site will be low-cost in order to respond to Luxembourg’s housing crisis. In addition to this, a huge amount of work has been done on the variety of solutions offered in order to cover all accommodation needs that people will have throughout their lives. So there is accommodation for students; when you get your first job, you will be able to rent an apartment; you start earning more and want to get on the property ladder, so you can buy your first apartment; you start a family, which grows, and then you’ll be able to buy somewhere bigger. The different layers of the neighbourhood mean that we can offer this diversity. So for example, there will be ground-floor apartments, which will be in collective dwellings, but which will be designed for individuals, with a private entrance and a garden. There will also be housing on the higher floors, offering inhabitants the chance to live among the trees. Then there will be apartments on the top floors, where residents will be able to enjoy unobstructed views of the wonderful landscape. So this project is offering a particularly diverse range of solutions, thus meeting everybody’s different needs.
  • The project has been designed to make sure that the new neighbourhood fits in harmoniously with existing residential areas. The peace and quiet of the Hiehl/Grenz neighbourhoods will be preserved and the new configuration will even offer them better links with town, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, thanks to a temporary footbridge, while the future Bus Rapid Transit line (BRT) is being built. Rout Lëns will also extend the centre of Esch. The shops and businesses it will house will complement those found in the town centre, and in particular on Rue de l’Alzette. The type of shops and businesses in the new neighbourhood will be different, including, for example, local stores focusing on short supply chains (urban farming). It’s not about building a new shopping centre, but rather a local community of shops and businesses, and an urban neighbourhood that it’s a pleasure to live in.
  • Among other things, the project includes a school complex for everybody’s benefit. Working with the Esch-sur-Alzette municipal authorities, this was included from the very start of the project, and will be located at the entrance to the site so that it will connect all the neighbourhoods with each other. It will include a school, a day care centre, a crèche and a gym. Right next to the site, and at the heart of the project, there will be a number of sports and leisure facilities that will complement this offering (football stadium, fencing room, music conservatory etc.)

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