PARIS — A luxurious Cheval Blanc hotel with views of the Seine — and possibly a wedge-shaped Louis Vuitton boutique at the foot of its Paris headquarters — are part of the picture for the next-generation Samaritaine.
This story first appeared in the May 19, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The multiuse complex, with a new-look department store as its centerpiece, is slated to open around mid-2014, nine years after Samaritaine was forced to close because it was deemed a safety hazard.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Jean-Jacques Guiony, Samaritaine’s new president and also the chief financial officer at its parent, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, revealed details about the project and an information center that is open to the public Friday, complete with a scale model of the site and its environs.
Guiony said LVMH would invest 450 million euros, or about $637.8 million at current exchange, to realize the project and create about 2,400 jobs. Construction is expected to start sometime in 2012.
“The building merits an exceptional renovation,” Guiony said, while allowing that “it would have been easier to just open a department store.”
The complicated project spans 95 units of affordable housing, a day care center for 60 children, 280,000 square feet of shops and 215,000 square feet of offices — all spread across four heritage buildings.
Guiony declined to say which brands would be present in the shopping areas, but allowed that LVMH banners such as Sephora would likely be part of the mix.
The Japanese architecture firm that nabbed the Pritzker Prize last year, SANAA, has been charged with overhauling the sprawling site, which has some structures dating back to the 17th century. The firm plans to add an ultramodern facade of undulating glass on the Rue de Rivoli side, while preserving original features, conceived by the architects Frantz Jourdain and Henri Sauvage more than a century ago.
Architect Edouard François has been contracted to design the hotel, which is expected to boast about 80 rooms and suites.
The Samaritaine department store was founded in 1870, with LVMH acquiring a majority stake in 2000 and an additional 40.1 percent stake last year.