Cinema Rex Revival in Ghent’s Cultural Hub

Sarhan Basem

Ghent (Brussels Morning) – Ghent’s Cinema Rex is being renovated into a “House of Cinema” to revitalize the area with culture with a 3-year project costing around 5 million euros.

In Ghent Cinema Rex is getting a renovative. They bought the old building and will renovate it for about 3 years. Before the work begins people can check it out. The whole project costs around 5 million euros. Volunteers are clearing out old stuff like palm trees and furniture to make space for the renovation.

Will Ghent’s Cinema Rex Revival Bring Community Together?

The city bought the building last year and is planning a 3-year renovation. Alderman Sami Souguir from Open VLD wants to turn it into a ‘House of Cinema’ to make the station area more lively with culture. This plan aims to make the neighborhood more exciting and could help bring people together. It’s not just about movies. It’s about creating a vibrant community hub.

Cinema Rex in Ghent is a special place with a lot of history. It opened in 1933 and closed in 1982 but it holds many memories for people. Alderman Sami Souguir also finds it charming and shares a laugh about the memories. Besides the sentimental value Cinema Rex is important architecturally. Its outer look and cinema hall are protected keeping its original beauty. Inside the art deco style adds to its unique feel mixing old memories.

They are currently clearing out the unwanted stuff and next week they will start taking down the added walls and floors that were put in when the cinema became a casino. This caused the hall to lose some of its grandeur but they plan to bring it back to its former glory. Once the building is empty they will conduct a structural study and prepare for the renovations. Before the actual work begins the city of Ghent wants to open the building temporarily for people to visit. They aim to involve the citizens in the whole process similar to what they did with the Winter Circus. Alderman Souquir mentions that after the summer there will be an exhibition showcasing the city’s film history.

Will Ghent’s Cinema Revival Plan Pay Off?

The city bought the cinema and a building nearby for about 1.7 million euros. They plan to spend around 3 million euros to fix it up. They want to make it a place all about Ghent’s film history where everyone involved can join in. Ghent is really committed to this plan and hopes the Flemish cinema house can also be there even though other cities are interested too. This project fits with Ghent’s dream to be the European capital of culture in 2030. The alderman thinks everything might just come together perfectly.

The city is being smart with the renovation project in these tough times. They’re paying for it now but the idea is for all partners using the space to pay rent later. This way they can get their money back. It’s like investing in a neighborhood that’s growing. People living nearby will still need to go to other cinemas in the city to watch movies. It won’t be a regular cinema with set movies all the time. They’ll show films now and then but it’s not the main focus.

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.