By  on April 10, 2009

PARIS — La Samaritaine, the landmark Paris department store shuttered in June 2005 because it did not meet city fire safety standards, will be reborn as a complex combining retail, offices, social housing and possibly a hotel.

Owned by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Samaritaine said Thursday the City of Paris has given a green light to its mixed-use proposal for the hulking, Art Deco-style building, located between the Seine River and the Rue de Rivoli.

“Our project will be part of the economic revitalization of central Paris,” said Samaritaine president Philippe de Beauvoir, noting the project would create more than 2,000 jobs.

Plans call for 250,000 square feet of shops, 225,000 square feet of office space, 75,000 square feet of apartments for students and families and a high-end hotel of as much as 150,000 square feet.

Work is not expected to start until 2011, with an opening slated for the end of 2013.

The future of the site, whose closure affected 725 Samaritaine employees, has been the subject of years of wrangling between city authorities, workers committees and LVMH. Meanwhile, the building has sat empty.

LVMH acquired La Samaritaine in 2000 and had invested some 50 million euros, or about $66.2 million at current exchange, to revamp its image and take it more upscale.

The French firm took a 147 million euro, or $189.1 million, nonrecurring charge in the first half of 2005 related to the store’s sudden closure. At the time, authorities said the building’s metallic structure and flooring system were not resistant to fire and would require up to five years of work.

The luxury group also runs the high-end department store Le Bon Marché on the Left Bank, of which De Beauvoir is also president.

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