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Local Matters / Architecture & Landmarks

Paris is Redeveloping Former Military Sites to Build new Housing

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The old military barracks of Reuilly in the 12th arrondissement will be given a new lease of life, as work starts this week to turn the site into a complex of almost 600 apartments. 

Redeveloping former military sites is a great way to meeting housing demand in a city like Paris where homes – and foreign armies at the city gates – are in short supply. Explosive price growth has prompted creative and hasty decisions to increase the stock of affordable housing in the city, and the social housing organisation Paris Habitat in partnership with the local town hall will be turning Reuilly’s old military barracks into 582 properties.

Construction on the project starts this week with the work expected to be done by 2020. “All the planning permission has been granted, with no delays or appeals. Partial demolition and asbestos removal has already finished,” said Pierre Dariel, head of services as Paris Habitat, the man heading the project. All properties will be rentals and there will also be a public garden of 4,800 m2 and 1,800 m2 of vegetable gardens. Of the 582 units:

  • 339 will be social housing (58%)
  • 110 will be intermediary housing rented to families (19%)
  • 133 will be sold to buy-to-let investors (23%)
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The Barracks’ Entrance © Paris Habitat / Cyril Bruneau

The 12th arrondissement‘s town hall bought the site from the state in 2013 for a total of 40 million euros and will spend 170 million euros on the transformation. Local mayor Catherine Baratti-Elbaz highlighted its wider impact in a part of Paris dominated by large boulevards.

“This project will allow us to transform the 12th arrondissement by better linking its neighborhoods. The public garden will allow locals to move from the Boulevard Diderot to the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. In this densely built-on district, it will provide a real breath of fresh air.”

Part of the social housing properties will be reserved for students and 90% of the properties of the site will go to Parisians. Centres in the ground-floor will present opportunities for cultural events and artistic endeavors, while the facade on the Boulevard Diderot-side will remain as it is in an effort to preserve the patrimoine architecturale – the architectural heritage – of the famous site.

It was built in 1665 under Louis XIV as the Royal Manufacturer of Glass, in an effort to compete with the great Venetian mirror factories. Fast forward to 1830 and King Louis-Philippe turned it into a military barracks for artillery, infantry and cavalry, which it remained until 2011.

title image © Paris Habitat

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