Paris set to outdo London Shard with Russian skyscrapers
It?s planning a complex costing about 3 billion euros ($4 billion) on Paris?s outskirts to elbow out the London Shard from its spot as western?Europe?s tallest skyscraper. The project with two 320 meter-high (1,050 feet) towers in the La Defense business district, 11 metro stops from the Notre-Dame cathedral, will house luxury apartments, offices and a five-star hotel. The structures would surpass the 310 meter-tall?London Shard. In the French capital, only the Eiffel Tower will be taller.
?You?ll be able to see the buildings from every part of the city,? Emin Iskenderov, 37, the Russian chief executive officer of Hermitage, said in a Sept. 12 interview in his Paris office. ?We hope before the end of this year we?re going to finalize the financial agreements, and we?re going to start the project this year.?
The conception of the buildings, France?s first skyscrapers to combine offices, apartments and a hotel, coincides with dropping housing prices and office rents in the country. The French economy will barely expand for the second year in 2013 amid Europe?s financial woes, and as Socialist President?Francois Hollande?and his predecessor?Nicolas Sarkozy?raised the tax burden to a record to trim the?budget deficit.
?In a difficult period, it?s not an obvious project to develop,? Olivier Gerard, the head of commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield France, said in a Sept. 10 interview. A multipurpose tower ?is a very difficult building to develop because of security issues and different flows of persons within the building,? he said.
In 2010, architect?Jean Nouvel?abandoned his plan for a 301-meter high Signal tower combining offices and apartments in La Defense after failing to find investors.
Iskenderov is undeterred, pointing to the success of the mixed model in?Asia?and the?Middle East. So-called mixed-use buildings have been thriving in?China, the U.S. and Dubai, home to the world?s tallest skyscraper, the 828-meter high Burj Khalifa building, according toSkyscraperpage.com.
Alexander Kraft, Chairman and CEO of?Sotheby?s International Realty?for France & Monaco, said Iskenderov may be right.
?They really plan to have services that you don?t get anywhere else today in Paris,? he said in an interview yesterday. ?Owners will have all access to the luxury hotel services, maid service, room service, etc. If all this becomes true, I think there can and probably will be a new market for it, but it has to be done right. You will have incredible views over all of Paris.?
The?Foster+Partners-designed French complex — to be named The Hermitage Plaza — will have towers of 85 and 86 floors and is slated to be completed by early 2019, Iskenderov said.
Hermitage got permits for the two towers overlooking the Seine river and four smaller buildings in March 2012, according to?Epadesa, the authority overseeing La Defense developments. The project envisages 165,000 square meters of apartments, 35,000 square meters for the hotel, 40,000 square meters of offices and 40,000 square meters of shops and restaurants.
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