A cohousing group looking around
In 1984 the notary in charge received a first visit from prospective buyers for the herring smoking factory. A couple of young families had been looking for a place in the city to start a cohousing project. Their concept was innovative, but at the same time rather simple. Each family should have its own house alongside a garden to share and other practical things including common spaces. This idea could render living more pleasant and more interesting, not only for the children, but for everyone involved.
Protection as a monument
When the group learned about the procedure of protecting the site as a monument (of industrial archaeology) the issue of the prohibitive cost due to the bad state of the site disappeared. The grants for the renovation of the protected parts would allow them to manage the project. When their offer for buying the herring smoking factory was accepted in the summer of 1985 the seven initial persons sought two additional families and in January 1986 the sale was concluded.
The complete procedure for obtaining the construction licence and the heritage grants took its course, the final renovation works started in 1991. Two families had already moved to the renovated (but not protected) house in the Scheldestraat. In 1993, 10 years after the first call for candidates and the start of the search for a suitable site the cohousing project in the herring smoking factory was officially opened.