The SNCF announced Tuesday evening September 21 that it was giving up the gigantic and controversial transformation project of the Gare du Nord in Paris designed with Ceetrus, a subsidiary of Auchan, highlighting “Unbearable drifts”, especially in terms of cost. The site was to triple the area of the first station in Europe in anticipation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.
“Taking into account the unbearable drifts compared to contractual commitments”, SNCF Gares & Connexions “Can only note the serious failure of its concessionaire and pronounce its forfeiture”, said in a press release the SNCF subsidiary in charge of stations.
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After the SNCF announcement, the Paris town hall called for “Do not postpone once again the modernization and renovation of the station”. “We are available and willing to initiate a new renovation project for the Gare du Nord which is at the service of everyday users, urban integration and intermodality”, said in a statement Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor PS Anne Hidalgo.
1.5 billion euros against 500 million envisaged
SNCF Gares & Connexions had been warned in July of a slippage in the estimated cost of the works, bringing the bill to more than 1.5 billion euros, against 500 million still envisaged at the end of 2020, and of a “Considerable delay” preventing them from being completed by the 2024 Olympics as initially planned.
After the abandonment of the project with Ceetrus, SNCF Gares & Connexions now promises “A rapid adaptation of the Gare du Nord to the challenges” the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic Games in 2024. It also undertakes to “The design of a new transformation project (…) developed in close consultation with the public actors concerned”.
In the initial version of the transformation project, the Gare du Nord was to, with an additional 88,000 m2, reach a total area of 124,000 m2, including 46,000 m2 devoted to an auditorium, cultural facilities, a sports hall or more shops and offices. In November, a less ambitious version of the project was adopted. This new version reduced the surface area of shops and services by 15%, ie 7,500 square meters less, and in particular eliminated the performance hall. The schedule also pushed back the project deadlines. The inauguration of the new complex was no longer announced before 2025.
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More than 700,000 people pass through Gare du Nord every day today “And 900,000 are expected in 2030”, had indicated in January Aude Landy-Berkowitz, president of the management board of StatioNord.