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La Samaritaine to be Transformed into a Paris Luxury Hotel

La Samaritaine was the most egalitarian of ‘les Grand Magasins’ in Paris or one of the largest departmental stores in the French Capital. The store offered practically everything ranging from flowers and bathing suits, to candies and hats. The store was shut down in 2005 and finally a redesign proposal worth $641.9 million has been approved that will keep the façade of the building intact but transform it into a luxury hotel. The adjacent buildings are also part of the project and will house offices, public apartments, and of course, shops.

The old generation of Parisians is very nostalgic about the store as they have very pleasant memories of visiting the store with their parents and grandparents since they were kids. The old building could not sustain the store beyond 2005 as the safety codes became more stringent and there were serious difference of opinion about the way forward between the current owners, the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, the city administration and the heirs to La Samaritaine’s founders. The problem seems to have been sorted out as the work on the new project is expected to start in early 2012 and the completion is scheduled for mid 2014.

The Paris landmark building sits on some of the most prestigious real estate in Paris. It is close to both the Louvre and Notre Dame and more importantly it fronts the Seine river. The tourists visiting La Samaritaine would take the elevator to the top floor and climb a narrow stairway to the roof. It was the vantage point for some of the best views across the Paris skyline. The project promises to restore the Paris landmark building to its full glory though, it will not house the department store any more. It is the largest ever privately funded construction project undertaken in Paris. The main building and the tree adjacent properties that are part of the project will add up to a total of 70,000 square meters. Guiony of LVMH sees it as a symbol of continuity between the history of Parisians and the modern world.

Via: pursuitist



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