PARIS — Chinese powerhouse Dalian Wanda Group is set to invest over 3 billion Euros ($3.3 billion) in EuropaCity, a retail and leisure project to be built on the outskirts of Paris by 2024. The investment was unveiled today by Wanda’s boss, Wang Jianlin, and Vianney Mulliez, the president of Immochan, a leading commercial real estate company in Europe.
Conceived as Europe’s biggest leisure, culture, retail and entertainment “village,” the 80-acre EuropaCity will include hotels (about 2,700 rooms), restaurants, shopping centers and concert halls (3,000 to 5,000 seats) as well as parks, night clubs and bars. It could even include a snow park. EuropaCity is being built in Gonesse, a town 16 kilometers northeast of Paris, between Le Bourget and Charles de Gaulle airports.
Wang Jianlin, president of Dalian Wanda Group, said in a statement: “We have wanted to develop ourselves in France for a while, and particularly in Paris, as I had told the French president during his visit to China last November. EuropaCity allows us to finally reach that objective, and we are pleased to collaborate with a famous French stakeholder to develop this ambitious and innovative project. For us, it is the most important project outside of China.”
Construction will kick off in 2019. A subway station is being built so tourists will be able to access the site directly via metro from within Paris.
EuropaCity is expected to attract 31 million visits every year and generate 11,800 new jobs in the area. Far from being a posh suburb, Gonesse and its surroundings have a high unemployment rate, reaching up to 40% for young people under 25, according to Christophe Dalstein, EuropaCity director.
EuropaCity, which was initiated and backed by Auchan Group, is being supported by Immochan and the financial institution CCI Paris Île-de-France. A public consultation period, in which local institutions, inhabitants and culture, tourism and urbanism groups can weigh in on the project, will take place from March 15 to June 30.
“EuropaCity is a project that we are co-constructing by involving all the stakeholders: local residents, public partners and future operators. This partner’s know-how in terms of entertainment and Wang Jianlin’s ambition to develop his group on a global scale have convinced us that Wanda could make a substantial contribution to the development of EuropaCity,” said Mulliez, Immochan president.
Wanda’s investment in EuropaCity underscores the Chinese powerhouse’s aim of expanding its footprint internationally. Last month, Wanda Pictures agreed to pay up to $3.5 billion for Legendary Entertainment, the outfit behind such films as “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Pacific Rim.”