Tour & Taxis owes its original name to the founders of the postal system, the Von Thurn und Tassis family. They used the marshy land alongside the port as pastures for their horses and organised the imperial post from Brussels, right up to the 18th century.
Frans Von Tassis was behind the ‘horse post’ system, which operated a relay from town to town and which enabled his illustrious family to reign unchallenged over the postal system for 355 years.
At the end of the 19th century, Belgium was classified amongst the five greatest economic powers in Europe. Trade and merchandise transit were intensifying in Brussels and to keep up with this, it became obvious that a new port would inevitably be required.
Thanks to its exceptional position, the site of Tour & Taxis convinced as a location. Alongside the canal, leading to the city gates and scarcely populated, it was chosen for the maritime and rail installations.
In 1910, around ten years after the port was inaugurated by King Leopold II, operations were launched in a series of prestigious buildings: the Royal Warehouse with its dependent buildings and a maritime Station, built on the instructions of the SNCB, the Belgian Railway company.
This gigantic customs clearance and goods warehousing complex logically became the central hub for the transit of merchandise through the capital.
During the sixties, Tour & Taxis saw its heyday, with more than 3,000 workers on the site. But just a few years later, it gradually lost its raison d’être with the opening of European customs centres. Once abandoned, the buildings progressively deteriorate and the entire site was eventually put up for sale.
In 2001, following several unrealistic project proposals, which did not fit in with the existing district, Tour & Taxis gets its second life thanks to Project T&T. This joint venture between two real estate companies (Extensa, formerly Leasinvest, and Robelco) set itself the objective of creating a new district for Brussels. So it started with the renovation, development and management of Tour & Taxis.