France’s Conseil d’Etat—the country’s highest administrative court—has ruled that luxury giant LMVH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton can revamp the iconic Samaritaine department store along the banks of the Seine. This ruling comes after a three-year legal battle over the plan, which pitted defenders of Paris’ architectural heritage against city officials who felt that the project would be a boon for the local economy.
LMVH plans to turn the historical building into a massive, multi-use steel-and-glass structure. Conservationists filed a lawsuit to prevent this construction, arguing that the building’s modernity would disfigure the city’s romantic façade. The luxury conglomerate as well as Parisian city officials noted, however, that the project would provide the rare opportunity to expand in one of the world’s most cosseted capitals.
“We need to know how to bring modernity to this city, and modernity is not the enemy of heritage,” says Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris. “Nostalgia is a nice engine for a city, but creation is also a good one.”
The new building will contain a luxury hotel, office space, and subsidized housing. With construction now underway, the site is set to open in late 2018. CJ