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French EuropaCity project: Entertainment at all costs?

In terms of figures, it’s already impressive: The Chinese investment company Dalian Wanda and French international retail group Auchan will invest €3.1 billion ($3.8 billion) in the EuropaCity development, to be built on some 80 hectares (800,000 square meters) of land a few kilometers northeast of Paris.

Eight architecture firms have now been chosen to develop and construct the compound’s eight buildings, which will feature hotels, restaurants, theaters, a museum, a cinema, a children’s cultural center, an urban farm, a swimming pool, a ski slope and an ice-climbing area. Environmentalists are already calling it unsustainable.

‘A whole new experience for the visitor’

Once developers get their construction permit, work will get underway. Its completion was initially scheduled for 2024 but is now likely to be pushed back by a few years due to delays in constructing a new crucial metro line.

Benoit Chang, the director general of Alliages et Territoires, the project company in charge of developing EuropaCity, says the project will reinvent the local economy for the digital era. “It’ll be a whole new experience for the visitor in terms of culture, leisure, sports and shopping. When it comes to retail, it will show how the shops of tomorrow will function.”

“The compound will be a meeting point between large manufacturers and consumers. We will have showrooms where companies will be able to tell the story of their savoir-faire and reinvent the way they do business.”

In an effort to allay environmental concerns, he added that EuropaCity was in line with the concept of sustainable development and would generate 75 percent of its consumed energy locally through renewables such as solar energy.

Locals could ‘feel proud to live here’

Not everyone is happy about the new planned leisure complex

A separate new office complex will take up 200 hectares around the project while most of the so-called triangle of Gonesse’s remaining

Article source: http://www.dw.com/en/french-europacity-project-entertainment-at-all-costs/a-42567950

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