Paul Gheysens suppresses rumors about moving to Makro grounds: “Faginations”

Since the bankruptcy of Makro, they are back from never being gone: the rumors that Paul Gheysens bought up terrain on the Krijgsbaan in Deurne to build a new stadium and/or youth complex for Antwerp. Gheysens himself resolutely dismisses these claims as “fabrications”.

Jonas van Boxel, Pieter-Jan Calcoen

The story has been going on among Antwerp supporters for years that Paul Gheysens and his company Ghelamco would have bought up land somewhere along the Krijgsbaan in Deurne to build a new stadium and/or youth complex. Since Makro went bankrupt at the end of last year, those gossip have taken on a new dimension: Gheysens bought the shopping area and accompanying car park from parent group Metro to build there. At least, that’s what is claimed.

But when we present this to Gheysens himself, he can be very brief about it: “These are all fabrications”, says the West Flemish project developer. The Antwerp city council is even more concise when we ask whether there are any plans or talks at all for a new football stadium somewhere in the city. “No”, is the answer of the De Wever cabinet.

Worn atmosphere stand 2

The supporters of RAFC should therefore certainly not prepare themselves for a move from the Bosuil Stadium. Construction work is also urgently needed there: the worn-out atmospheric grandstand 2 has now been out of use for three years. In principle, the club could perfectly set up a new grandstand, were it not for the fact that the right of superficies on the grounds expires in 2052. At that point, the buildings on the land become the property of the owner, entrepreneur Tania Mintjens. Gheysens and Mintjens are said to be discussing the situation, which are called “constructive but slow”.

So what are the plans for the Makro site? After the store finally closed its doors at the end of December, there was interest from, among others, the province of Antwerp, the Agency for Roads and Traffic and De Lijn to fill the plots. Six months later, no concrete steps have yet been taken, according to a survey. “I actually haven’t heard anything about it for a month,” says Deurn’s district mayor Tjerk Sekeris (N-VA).

A large part of the large Makro car park is not owned by Metro AG, but is leased by the company from the state. The user agreement runs until March 31, 2026 and, according to the FPS Finance, there are no plans to terminate that contract earlier: “The lease is still respected by both Makro and the Belgian State,” says a spokesman there.

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