La Grand Poste

Revitalised and heralding the renaissance of Liège’s creative ambitions

  • Customer Profile

    La Grand Poste is a space dedicated to creative companies and entrepreneurs of the new economy. It features coworking spaces, offices, a food market, a craft brewery, classrooms, multimedia studios, numerous conference rooms and exclusive venues. Designed to host unique events, its panoramic terrace offers a bird’s eye view of the city of Liège.
    • Vertical: Large Public Venue
    • Location: Liège, Belgium
    • Customer size: 8,000sqm, 200 coworking spaces, 6 food retailers, one brewery

    Use Case

    Establish a unified network in renovated 120-year-old building to support tech start-up tenants, business guests and the public.

    Requirements

    • Centrally manage and secure high-performance Wi-Fi across a redeveloped city neighbourhood
    • Ensure seamless network access for a range of users across the site
    • Enable the integration of new proptech

    Outcomes

    • Ensures secure, tiered access to a range of users, from public to tenants to businesses
    • Underpins the adoption of the latest proptech, smart building management and digital visitor experience
    • Secures a high-quality collaboration with global leader in network technology
    • Establishes a resilient, future-ready infrastructure with the intelligence, scalability and intuitive toolsets to grow alongside the development's future phases

    La Grand Poste is one of the most iconic buildings in Liège. The former post office building closed in 2000; today it is being reimagined as a new social hub for the city, the gateway to a new creative district. It will become an incubator for business start-ups, event space, production studio and food scene. There is even a brewery in the basement.

    "La Grand Poste will be a totem for the city's new creative district," says Gérôme Vanherf, La Grand Poste's CEO. "It will create a local ecosystem of creative businesses, students, technology and investors."

    "The bones of the building are more than 100 years old but everything about the renovation is new," says Gregory Van Ass, IT Manager & Executive Advisor, Noshaq.

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Creating an Inclusive, Flexible and Smart Environment

    The revitalised 8,000sqm space wants to be inclusive, flexible and accessible. It also wants to be smart.

    While the coworking spaces will be available to all, Noshaq, the investment body in charge of the renovation, wants La Grand Poste to attract tech start-ups to its office spaces. It intends to 'curate' an ideal mix of tenants to better accelerate the impact of the ecosystem. In addition, the site will adopt the latest proptech applications.

    The network infrastructure cannot fall short of expectations.

    "The bones of the building are more than 100 years old but everything about the renovation is new," says Gregory Van Ass, IT Manager & Executive Advisor, Noshaq. "We want a high performance network capable of supporting many types of users and to be managed by a small team. But our priority is security. The activities of one user cannot impact the experiences of another."

    Establishing an End-to-End Network Approach

    The comprehensive and unified Aruba architecture includes Wi-Fi 6-based indoor and ruggedised outdoor APs plus Aruba 2930M access switches. The entire network is managed and supervised through AirWave, while network security orchestration and access control are centralised through ClearPass Policy Manager. The APs include Bluetooth and Zigbee interfaces, offering a unified IoT integration platform as well as an interface for Aruba Meridian Location Services, which also includes the addition of Aruba BLE beacons.

    To deliver smart, connected and automated experiences, the La Grand Poste team continues to include technologies from leading solution providers in many areas, such as virtual cash registers, intelligent kiosks, workspace management, smart locks and payment solutions. Aruba ClearPass plays a central role in the integration and coordination of secure network access for all these platforms.

    Ahead of opening, coworking spaces are already 95% booked and occupancy of the offices for tech start-ups is sold out. The onsite brewery has more than 50 beers in production. Six food retailers are booked for the market hall.

    Bar counter in La Grand Poste

    Simplifying tiered network access for different users

    Once fully open, the building expects to be home to 450 workers, with up to 3,000 daily visitors. Ahead of opening, coworking spaces are already 95% booked and occupancy of the offices for tech start-ups is sold out. The onsite brewery has more than 50 beers in production. Six food retailers are booked for the market hall.

    The Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) enables La Grand Poste to provide tiered network access for a range of users and with well-defined SLAs. For tenants, as part of their monthly fee, there will be high-performance Wi-Fi throughout the space. Coworking spaces can be booked via an app; tenants can also use their smartphone to open doors, access lockers or print documents. A gamification feature in the app allows users to win points for good behaviour or lose points if meeting rooms are left untidy or booked rooms are unused without cancellation. Points can be converted to discounts in the on-site stores.

    "Gamification will be used to help strengthen the community and improve the management of the building," says Vanherf. "We may give extra credits if you organise an event at La Grand Poste, or you help bring new people to the building. It should make us better at facility management and programming."

    Consistent Tech Excellence to Elevate the Visitor Experience

    For visitors, once registered, Aruba ClearPass recognises their device and connects it to the network, applying policy-based SLA and privileges. As Liège residents come and go from the building, their network experience is fluid, consistent and secure.

    "It was very important that users could access every type of functionality via a single sign-on," says Van Ass. "Whether it's an app to order food, or the app to book a room, it all comes through Aruba."

    The onsite food hall can accommodate 200 visitors and will open from morning to late at night. There are plans for the Batte, Belgium's oldest market, to be held weekly on the plaza to the front of the building. The site will host events, investor get-togethers and conferences. No matter the frequency of the visit, stallholders and repeat visitors will have secure access to the Aruba network, outdoors as well as indoors. The use of BLE Beacons integrated with an app and the Aruba Location Services Platform will enable visitors to be guided around the site.

    Vanherf says winning over the citizens of Liège is a huge part of the renovation remit: "La Grand Poste is a building that resonates with citizens young and old. Many of us have fond memories of this place. The tech experience needs to work 100% of the time – but it should only serve to improve the human experience. Cashless tills, ordering food via the app, booking a room online… these features are great. But the real job is to directly connect with people."

    "We want to take real estate development to the next level," says Van Ass. "Many of the features and approaches here will be replicated on new projects."

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Integrating the Latest Proptech Functionality

    Aruba's open architecture enables La Grand Poste to integrate a host of third-party solutions, including ZAP Floor facilities booking and Salto KS access control. La Grand Poste will act as a showcase for the latest and greatest building management systems.

    "We want to take real estate development to the next level," says Van Ass. "Many of the features and approaches here will be replicated on new projects."

    Aruba's open architecture and range of use-cases enables Noshaq to test new applications and benchmark usage trends. Again, this meets Noshaq's ecosystem objectives: La Grand Poste can provide safe space to test new technology, investors can see their investments at work and like-minded businesses can discuss collaborations.

    Establishing a Repeatable Format

    While the goal was never to create a real estate/ecosystem template to drop into other European cities, Vanherf says the end result is just that: an approach that marries business, technology and the public.

    "Our goal was to create an ecosystem that works for Liège, but is the format repeatable? Of course."

    Noshaq, which has invested more than €1 billion over the past 30 years (€135m in 2020 alone), is planning to build a new biotech hub in the Liège area, alongside a new hospital. Many of the lessons of La Grand Poste will be applied. The components of the Aruba architecture allow Noshaq to drop in a new network quickly and effectively.

    "No two projects are identical," says Van Ass, "but it was always our intention to learn and reuse elements from La Grand Poste."

    "The network experience will be seamless across the whole neighbourhood," Vanherf says. "It will be like being in one building."

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Finding New Value in the Aruba Partnership

    La Grand Poste CEO, Vanherf, says the engagement with Aruba is exciting on many levels. The solidity of the Aruba architecture is central to the successful opening of the site and establishes confidence in the phased opening of new buildings over the next two years. Noshaq is renovating three other buildings in the neighbourhood and is constructing a new building to house the local television broadcaster and newspaper publisher.

    "The network experience will be seamless across the whole neighbourhood," Vanherf says. "It will be like being in one building."

    Perhaps the greatest value is the expertise and industry links accessible through the Aruba ecosystem partner community.

    "Aruba has already helped make introductions with new proptech companies. The next step is to involve Aruba in onsite workshops and conferences with our community. We see this as a win-win for all parties."

     

    The photos on this page are copyright of Matthieu Litt.

    Read more

    La Grand Poste is a building that resonates with citizens young and old. Many of us have fond memories of this place. The tech experience needs to work 100% of the time – but it should only serve to improve the human experience.
    Gérôme Vanherf, CEO, La Grand Poste
  • Customer Profile

    La Grand Poste is a space dedicated to creative companies and entrepreneurs of the new economy. It features coworking spaces, offices, a food market, a craft brewery, classrooms, multimedia studios, numerous conference rooms and exclusive venues. Designed to host unique events, its panoramic terrace offers a bird’s eye view of the city of Liège.
    • Vertical: Large Public Venue
    • Location: Liège, Belgium
    • Customer size: 8,000sqm, 200 coworking spaces, 6 food retailers, one brewery

    Use Case

    Establish a unified network in renovated 120-year-old building to support tech start-up tenants, business guests and the public.

    Requirements

    • Centrally manage and secure high-performance Wi-Fi across a redeveloped city neighbourhood
    • Ensure seamless network access for a range of users across the site
    • Enable the integration of new proptech

    Outcomes

    • Ensures secure, tiered access to a range of users, from public to tenants to businesses
    • Underpins the adoption of the latest proptech, smart building management and digital visitor experience
    • Secures a high-quality collaboration with global leader in network technology
    • Establishes a resilient, future-ready infrastructure with the intelligence, scalability and intuitive toolsets to grow alongside the development's future phases

    La Grand Poste is one of the most iconic buildings in Liège. The former post office building closed in 2000; today it is being reimagined as a new social hub for the city, the gateway to a new creative district. It will become an incubator for business start-ups, event space, production studio and food scene. There is even a brewery in the basement.

    "La Grand Poste will be a totem for the city's new creative district," says Gérôme Vanherf, La Grand Poste's CEO. "It will create a local ecosystem of creative businesses, students, technology and investors."

    "The bones of the building are more than 100 years old but everything about the renovation is new," says Gregory Van Ass, IT Manager & Executive Advisor, Noshaq.

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Creating an Inclusive, Flexible and Smart Environment

    The revitalised 8,000sqm space wants to be inclusive, flexible and accessible. It also wants to be smart.

    While the coworking spaces will be available to all, Noshaq, the investment body in charge of the renovation, wants La Grand Poste to attract tech start-ups to its office spaces. It intends to 'curate' an ideal mix of tenants to better accelerate the impact of the ecosystem. In addition, the site will adopt the latest proptech applications.

    The network infrastructure cannot fall short of expectations.

    "The bones of the building are more than 100 years old but everything about the renovation is new," says Gregory Van Ass, IT Manager & Executive Advisor, Noshaq. "We want a high performance network capable of supporting many types of users and to be managed by a small team. But our priority is security. The activities of one user cannot impact the experiences of another."

    Establishing an End-to-End Network Approach

    The comprehensive and unified Aruba architecture includes Wi-Fi 6-based indoor and ruggedised outdoor APs plus Aruba 2930M access switches. The entire network is managed and supervised through AirWave, while network security orchestration and access control are centralised through ClearPass Policy Manager. The APs include Bluetooth and Zigbee interfaces, offering a unified IoT integration platform as well as an interface for Aruba Meridian Location Services, which also includes the addition of Aruba BLE beacons.

    To deliver smart, connected and automated experiences, the La Grand Poste team continues to include technologies from leading solution providers in many areas, such as virtual cash registers, intelligent kiosks, workspace management, smart locks and payment solutions. Aruba ClearPass plays a central role in the integration and coordination of secure network access for all these platforms.

    Ahead of opening, coworking spaces are already 95% booked and occupancy of the offices for tech start-ups is sold out. The onsite brewery has more than 50 beers in production. Six food retailers are booked for the market hall.

    Bar counter in La Grand Poste

    Simplifying tiered network access for different users

    Once fully open, the building expects to be home to 450 workers, with up to 3,000 daily visitors. Ahead of opening, coworking spaces are already 95% booked and occupancy of the offices for tech start-ups is sold out. The onsite brewery has more than 50 beers in production. Six food retailers are booked for the market hall.

    The Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) enables La Grand Poste to provide tiered network access for a range of users and with well-defined SLAs. For tenants, as part of their monthly fee, there will be high-performance Wi-Fi throughout the space. Coworking spaces can be booked via an app; tenants can also use their smartphone to open doors, access lockers or print documents. A gamification feature in the app allows users to win points for good behaviour or lose points if meeting rooms are left untidy or booked rooms are unused without cancellation. Points can be converted to discounts in the on-site stores.

    "Gamification will be used to help strengthen the community and improve the management of the building," says Vanherf. "We may give extra credits if you organise an event at La Grand Poste, or you help bring new people to the building. It should make us better at facility management and programming."

    Consistent Tech Excellence to Elevate the Visitor Experience

    For visitors, once registered, Aruba ClearPass recognises their device and connects it to the network, applying policy-based SLA and privileges. As Liège residents come and go from the building, their network experience is fluid, consistent and secure.

    "It was very important that users could access every type of functionality via a single sign-on," says Van Ass. "Whether it's an app to order food, or the app to book a room, it all comes through Aruba."

    The onsite food hall can accommodate 200 visitors and will open from morning to late at night. There are plans for the Batte, Belgium's oldest market, to be held weekly on the plaza to the front of the building. The site will host events, investor get-togethers and conferences. No matter the frequency of the visit, stallholders and repeat visitors will have secure access to the Aruba network, outdoors as well as indoors. The use of BLE Beacons integrated with an app and the Aruba Location Services Platform will enable visitors to be guided around the site.

    Vanherf says winning over the citizens of Liège is a huge part of the renovation remit: "La Grand Poste is a building that resonates with citizens young and old. Many of us have fond memories of this place. The tech experience needs to work 100% of the time – but it should only serve to improve the human experience. Cashless tills, ordering food via the app, booking a room online… these features are great. But the real job is to directly connect with people."

    "We want to take real estate development to the next level," says Van Ass. "Many of the features and approaches here will be replicated on new projects."

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Integrating the Latest Proptech Functionality

    Aruba's open architecture enables La Grand Poste to integrate a host of third-party solutions, including ZAP Floor facilities booking and Salto KS access control. La Grand Poste will act as a showcase for the latest and greatest building management systems.

    "We want to take real estate development to the next level," says Van Ass. "Many of the features and approaches here will be replicated on new projects."

    Aruba's open architecture and range of use-cases enables Noshaq to test new applications and benchmark usage trends. Again, this meets Noshaq's ecosystem objectives: La Grand Poste can provide safe space to test new technology, investors can see their investments at work and like-minded businesses can discuss collaborations.

    Establishing a Repeatable Format

    While the goal was never to create a real estate/ecosystem template to drop into other European cities, Vanherf says the end result is just that: an approach that marries business, technology and the public.

    "Our goal was to create an ecosystem that works for Liège, but is the format repeatable? Of course."

    Noshaq, which has invested more than €1 billion over the past 30 years (€135m in 2020 alone), is planning to build a new biotech hub in the Liège area, alongside a new hospital. Many of the lessons of La Grand Poste will be applied. The components of the Aruba architecture allow Noshaq to drop in a new network quickly and effectively.

    "No two projects are identical," says Van Ass, "but it was always our intention to learn and reuse elements from La Grand Poste."

    "The network experience will be seamless across the whole neighbourhood," Vanherf says. "It will be like being in one building."

    Inside La Grand Poste

    Finding New Value in the Aruba Partnership

    La Grand Poste CEO, Vanherf, says the engagement with Aruba is exciting on many levels. The solidity of the Aruba architecture is central to the successful opening of the site and establishes confidence in the phased opening of new buildings over the next two years. Noshaq is renovating three other buildings in the neighbourhood and is constructing a new building to house the local television broadcaster and newspaper publisher.

    "The network experience will be seamless across the whole neighbourhood," Vanherf says. "It will be like being in one building."

    Perhaps the greatest value is the expertise and industry links accessible through the Aruba ecosystem partner community.

    "Aruba has already helped make introductions with new proptech companies. The next step is to involve Aruba in onsite workshops and conferences with our community. We see this as a win-win for all parties."

     

    The photos on this page are copyright of Matthieu Litt.

    La Grand Poste is a building that resonates with citizens young and old. Many of us have fond memories of this place. The tech experience needs to work 100% of the time – but it should only serve to improve the human experience.
    Gérôme Vanherf, CEO, La Grand Poste