New skyscrapers for Paris
Paris is going all-out in its bid to lure companies from London – with plans for seven new skyscrapers at La Défense business district in the west, plus the pyramid-shaped Tour Triangle at Porte de Versailles in the south.
They add up to 465,000m2 of office space and La Défense is going one step further by creating bistrots, a fine-dining restaurants, shopping and community spaces – with building due to be completed in the early 2020s.
Financial firms in the UK have already sounded out La Défense management group Defacto about possible moves, while the 375,000m2 of new space could open up other offices in the city centre for re-purposing – such as for muFinancialhousing.
Paris is hoping to build on its capital-to-capital links to London with Eurostar and lure at least 10,000 staff across the Channel, instead of to Dublin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Luxembourg and, especially, Frankfurt.
La Défense offers a relatively compact area that includes parts of Courbevoie, La Garenne Colombes, Nanterre and Puteaux and would be ideal for businesses wishing to pull together staff from other offices spread across the city.
Several of the tower blocks planned will have residential accommodation, such as the Lord Foster designed Hermitage Plaza. Its 260,000m2 will feature 160,000m2 of luxury flats, a 40,000m2 five-star hotel but just 37,000m2 of offices.
With 30,000m2 of shops, its twin towers will be the tallest multi-purpose buildings in Western Europe and, at 320m, have deliberately been kept lower than the Eiffel Tower.
Demolition works start in September and building is due to start in March/April next year for completion in 2022.
Another twin-tower, the lopsided Sisters beside the Grande Arche de la Défense, will have 95,000m of floor with a 20,000m2 hotel and the rest offices. It is due in 2021.
Paris has an over-supply of offices but only 7% of them have been renovated to offer modern amenities. If businesses amalgamate staff in new accommodation at La Défense or Tour Triangle (where planning consent is due soon) the city plans to turn any empty offices into housing.
Both projects will benefit from new transport access with an RER line giving La Défense access to both the city centre at Haussmann Saint-Lazare and the western suburb of Mantes La Jolie. Tour Triangle will be served by the new Métro 15. The line is an extension to RER Eole which goes east to Chelles Gournay and Tournan.
Ile-de-France region and Paris officials have pushed the plans at a high-profile presentation in London’s Shard tower block, where they showed the importance of their project... as they spelled it out in English.
Marie-Célie Guillaume, the CEO of Defacto/Paris La Défense, said: “All the signals are at green for La Défense.
“The skyscrapers are filling up, there is a strong push for new investments with the construction of new buildings and the development of new services, which goes in hand with the quality of life in La Défense: 92% of the employees are satisfied to be working here.”
Paris deputy mayor Jean-Louis Missika put it simply: “If you want to have one foot in London and the other in the European Union, best choose the place that is closest!”