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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

Giant leisure park set to open near Paris in 2024

The EuropaCity leisure center should see the light north of Paris come 2024. The project will involve 3.1 billion euros of investment and hopes to attract 31 million visitors per year.

Located north of Paris, in what will soon become part of Greater Paris, the future leisure park EuropaCity will sprawl over nearly 200 acres. Aiming to become “the new leisure destination of Greater Paris”, according to its website, it is so far the largest private project for leisure, culture, retail and entertainment in Europe, involving private investment totaling 3.1 billion euros.

Set for completion in 2024 the park will be located close to Paris’ main airport, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, in Gonesse, a commune in the Val-d’Oise department of Île-de-France. Its cultural and leisure facilities — including a theme park, cinemas, concert halls — restaurant, bars, clubs, shops and hotels will be served by the future line 17 of the Grand Paris Express, the expanded metro system.

The project’s promoters hope to attract over 30 million visitors per year, from Paris and France as a whole, but also from abroad. However, some oppose the project, taking issue with its lack of housing, for one. One critic in particular, Karim Ouchikh, tells Le Parisien that in his opinion “EuropaCity does not wish to create a cultural hub, but instead to develop an entertainment industry” and will merely “serve the economic interests” of large commercial groups.

Chinese commercial real estate giant Dalian Wanda recently announced its participation in the development of EuropaCity. Wanda is the biggest commercial property developer in China and the largest leisure industries group in the world, according to the Financial Times.

According to the project’s main developer, Immochan — the real estate branch of the Auchan group — Wanda’s “know-how in terms of entertainment” alongside its financial participation, will “make a substantial contribution to the development of EuropaCity.” The CEO of Dalian Wanda, Wang Jialin, has said in a press release that for them, the leisure park is “the most important project outside of China.”

A public debate on the project will open on 15th March and run for three months. If approved, construction is scheduled to begin in 2019.

Photo credit: EuropaCity


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