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Paris pyramid plan down but not out

Capital’s mayor demands recount after councillors reject 180m €520m Triangle building that would have dominated skyline

PARIS mayor Anne Hidalgo has rejected a decision by her city council to throw out a plan for the 180m Tour Triangle building to be built at the Porte de Versailles.

She was reacting after a coalition of Ecologie, Parti de Gauche and UMP councillors united to vote against the €520million pyramid project that could have meant 5,000 construction jobs in the 15th arrondissement and 5,000 jobs when in use.

The glass Triangle, designed by Swiss firm of architects Herzog & de Meuron, would have been the third highest building in the city after the Eiffel Tower and the Tour Montparnasse. It is the same size as the Gherkin in London.

It had potential to be a spectacular addition to the capital’s skyline, especially when illuminated at night like London’s Shard, and would have provided 80,000sq.m of office space over its 42 storeys in a bid to attract international businesses.

It would also have had 5,700sq.m of public areas including health centre and crèche, 1,600sq.m of shops and a rooftop viewing area and restaurant with a fantastic panorama of the city.

Sited along Avenue Ernest Renan and built over the concrete warehouses and rundown areas near the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre and the Péripherique, the €520m project funded by Unibail-Rodamco subsidiary Viparis was intended to regenerate a deserted part of the city but could now end in an administrative quagmire.

Ms Hidalgo has called on the prefect to “validate” or recount the votes of the 161 councillors who voted 83-78 against the project as the vote was supposed to be a secret ballot but many councillors showed their votes on Twitter.

First proposed by former mayor Bernard Delanoë in 2008 – when it was opposed only by Ecology and Green councillors – the glass Triangle was welcomed by employers’ federation Medef, who said it would bring much-needed jobs.

It had originally also been backed by the UMP for the same reasons, but new Paris opposition leader Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet – and former Sarkozy ecology minister - said the original plan was vastly different from that proposed today.

She said that it had originally included a zone for business start-ups, a conference centre and a hotel - and had not been intended to be just another office block when “there was more than a million square metres of unused office space in the capital”.
Tour Triangle photo: Herzog & De Meuron / Unibail

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