Paris's Gare du Nord retail expansion approved by French commission
On October 10, the French National Commission for commercial planning (CNAC) approved the planned extension of the Gare du Nord rail station in Paris. The decision overturns the ruling of June 27 by the local Departmental Commission for commercial planning (CDAC) on the project presented by Ceetrus (a commercial real estate developer owned by the Auchan group) and Gares & Connexions, about which the Paris mayor’s office was sceptical.
The commercial planning authorities’ approval is a prerequisite to obtain a building permit for the extension, which would increase the station’s retail and commercial area by 16,321 m2, by means of a new building constructed between the station’s existing platforms and the RER and underground stations area to the east of the platforms. This would triple the Gare du Nord’s total surface area, also adding to it an 11,000 m2 roof garden accessible to passengers and local residents.
The CDAC’s rejection of the plan was a surprise. The Paris mayor’s office said it abstained during the vote, stating it didn’t want to endorse the project without prior knowledge of the type of commercial establishments that would feature in the planned retail area. This didn’t prevent Paris’s elected representatives from giving a favourable opinion in summer about the station extension project’s overall environmental impact. The clock is ticking for this project: the goal is to deliver a revamped Gare du Nord in 2024, in time for the Olympic Games that Paris will host the same year. A goal that would have been jeopardised by the CDAC ruling.
Of course, the CNAC’s own ruling could be appealed. Opponents of the project could in fact bring the matter to the Administrative Court of Appeals, which is competent in these issues, before a potential last-instance judgement by the French Council of State.
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