Melle: learning, working and living in an old florist's shop

In Melle, near Ghent, we transformed a well-located site that is no longer being used into a pleasant and modern place for learning, working and living.

The Ankersmit project, named after the former florist's shop, proved once again how close cooperation between the municipality and various private players pays off for entrepreneurs, local policy and the local community.

Expansion manager Roel Beyl explains.

  • Excellent location, easy to reach by car (E40, E17)
  • Optimal use of space on the site through subdivision into 5 lots
  • In close cooperation with the city

In figures

In the outskirts of Ghent

During our search for a suitable location for a Colruyt Group Academy in the Ghent area, our eye fell on this well-located site in Melle.

The former flower farm 'Ankersmit' had greenhouses and its own water tower.

The site is located in a residential zone. All the buildings were empty and 2 of them are architectural heritage.


The town's vision took shape: by combining living and working, we keep the N9 livable.

Frank De Vis | Alderman for Housing, Sports and OCMW | Melle

Division into lots to make the best use of space

The area has a lot of potential. Besides space for a Colruyt Group Academy, there is also room for residential development and an office building.

After signing the agreement in 2015 we entered into talks with the municipality. We proposed to divide the site into several lots so that it could be given a diversified use.

From this close cooperation with the municipality, 5 lots are created, each with a specific function.


Constructive cooperation with the municipality gives energy to both parties.

Roel Beyl | Expansion Manager

The different uses

Lot 1: Colruyt Group Academy

We built the modern Colruyt Group Academy building ourselves, because we are very well aware of our own needs. Both the ground and first floors are equipped with a kitchen for training purposes.

This training centre provides around 700 hours of learning pleasure to more than 8,000 participants in consumer workshops each year.

Many internal training courses for Colruyt Group employees also take place in this ‘learning house’.

The infrastructure is also suited for fun children’s birthday parties. Every year, the Academy welcomes around 150 heroes of the day together with their friends.

Lot 2: Living

For the construction of the 14 flats with underground parking and storage facilities, we called in the expertise of an external architect, a real estate agency and a contractor.

Lot 3: Parking of Colruyt Group Academy

Coluyt Group also made this project sustainable with a car park equipped with a DATS 24 charging point for electric cars.

Lot 4: Office function

The communication agency Vandekerckhove&Devos bought this lot to erect a modern office building thereThe office preserves the water tower and the caretaker's house and connects them with a glass partition. Thus, with respect for the architectural heritage, it talks about the history of the former florist's shop with conservatories.

Lot 5: Road infrastructure

new road connects the different lots.


The process

2015: Agreement signed

2017: Signature of deed

2017: Start of site

2018: Opening of training centre