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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

First housing units in La Défense for 30 years

Arena 92

Two brand new buildings are under construction in Paris’ main business hub, La Défense. These will house the first residences to be built in the district in 30 years, as well as a business school campus.

Major Parisian business district, La Défense, is currently the scene of an urban overhaul. One portion in particular, once a disused area under a pedestrian passageway, is undergoing major works.

The future Jardins de l’Arche — the Gardens of the Arch, referring to the Grande Arche, La Défense’s iconic arch-shaped building — will contain a leisure arena, a hotel, as well as a university campus and student and regular accommodation.

Stretching from the Grande Arche to another new project, Les Terrasses landscaped terraces extending right to the river Seine — this new area will aim to become a popular destination for leisure and tourism just 10 minutes from central Paris thanks to La Défense’s transport links, according to its developer EPADESA.

This will be mainly achieved thanks to the construction of Europe’s largest indoor concert hall, the Nanterre-La Défense Arena — with an expected capacity of 40,000 spectators — due to open in early 2017. The center, also called Arena 92 aims to be the “biggest, most modern and most modular arena in Europe,” according to the project’s website, which also refers to La Défense as “French Manhattan.”

Two energy-efficient buildings set to contain La Défense’ first housing units in 30 years are also underway, One and Skylight, the latter of which will also house the campus of the IESEG business school, set to welcome 3,400 students per year. Shops, restaurants and even a boutique hotel, CitizenM, will complete the area’s new offerings.

Hughes Parant, the CEO of EPADESA, has said in a statement: “The construction of the first housing in 30 years in this area and the establishment of a school of higher education and other facilities are strong signals indicating the renewed vitality and dynamism of the La Défense area.”

Scheduled for completion in 2017, the Jardins de l’Arche’s 20 acres will contain 369 housing units, 200 hotel rooms, a business school, 5,000 m2 of shops and restaurants, the Nanterre-La Défense Arena — expected to host 50 shows per year as well as contain 34,000 m2 of office space.

Photo credit: EPADESA

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