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Inside the Market / Big Deals

Elite Paris University acquires a former Defense Ministry Building to expand its campus

Sciences Po buys Hôtel Artillerie Ministry Defense campus

The prestigious Paris University of Political Sciences has purchased a massive building former Ministry of Defense in the 7th arrondissement to expand its campus.

Sciences Po, a prominent university and one of France’s best-known Grande Ecolehas bought the Hôtel de l’Artillerie in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. The 14,000 square meter building, located in the Place Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, was previously owned by the Ministry of Defense.

The elite institution bought the property for 93 million euros, including closing costs. With renovations and restructuring, the total cost of the acquisition is estimated at 200 million euros.

“We are going to give up our 16 leased sites and concentrate all scattered services and people onto this new site,” the Sciences Po Director Frédéric Mion explained.“This will ensure a geographical continuum. Tomorrow, the seven sites that compose Sciences Po will be located within 200 meters from each other.”The project will also include the creation of student housing, with the aim of maintaining social diversity at the elite school. The school already owns six sites in Paris and this new addition is adjacent to the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) on the Rue de l’Université.

The university, which specializes in political science, economics, history, sociology, law and journalism, is ranked 4th in the world for the study of Politics and International Studies by QS2016 World University Rankings. Its main campus is located between the Boulevards Saint Germain and Raspail, nearby.

Sciences Po’s objective is reportedly to create a concentrated world-class campus in the heart of Paris, gathering teaching, research, and student life all in one place. The university aims to create an urban campus at the heart of Paris, much like the London School of Economics or the New York University, by 2021. It also hopes to buck the trend of other prestigious French schools that have left the capital for less expensive locations elsewhere in France.

The acquisition faced much criticism when it was first announced last year, because Sciences Po’s initial offer of 80 million euros did not match a 2009 valuation of the property at 104 million euros. Sciences Po raised its offer to 93 million, which was accepted by the state.

Photo credit : Sciences Po

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