France shuts down 'outdated' Dalian Wanda mega mall near Paris

Business | 8 Nov 2019 9:47 am

French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to scrap a 3 billion euro shopping and leisure complex project that French retail group Auchan and Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda planned to build just outside Paris, the Elysee Palace said yesterday, Reuters reports.

The “EuropaCity” project, which was to be located between the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Le Bourget airports north of Paris, included features such as a circus and an indoor ski slope as well as shops and restaurants, and was supposed to open in 2027.

But the plans met with fierce opposition from environmentalists who argued that it would have destroyed one of the few large natural areas close to Paris.

“It was an outdated project, out of sync with our citizens’ aspirations. It stopped matching the way people consume today and tomorrow,'', the French presidency said.

Alliages & Territoires, the company in charge of the EuropaCity project, said the decision to scrap the mall was “a mistake” and a blow to the economic and cultural development of the Val D’Oise region.

“This decision is also incoherent with the government’s will to attract investors in France as there is no investment without trust in the stability of the state’s position,” the statement said.

Bloomber earlier reported that Auchan and Dalian Wanda expect EuropaCity, which will have about 500 stores and 2,700 hotel rooms, along with conference centers and an urban farm, to create more than 10,000 jobs and attract at least 30 million visitors a year. That’s as many as the city of Paris, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and would be twice the number of annual visitors to the Disneyland Paris theme park.

Dalian Wanda, responding to the cancellation of the project, said the Chinese company was only participating in its conceptualisation and design.

“EuropaCity is in fact an investment project by a consortium led by a certain large company from the French side. Wanda was only participating in the project’s concept and design,” the company said in a statement today.

It is the second time Macron has dropped plans for a big construction project. In early 2018, he decided against the planned Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport near Nantes in western France.

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