In November 2014, URBEM initiated its participation in Réinventer Paris, a large-scale urban development initiative conceived by the City of Paris. The object of Réinventer Paris is the sale or concession of an ensemble of 23 properties that belonged to the City. Through a public tender process, these properties would eventually be handed over to the proponents of the best urban/architectural visions and financial offers. The City of Paris aimed at transforming these properties into platforms of urban innovation and has therefore organized a public call wherein innovative projects are necessarily accompanied by the economic/financial propositions.
The properties are all located in central areas of Paris (always within the Périphérique) and comprise areas of varied construction potentials (from 1,000 m2 to 70,000m2). Of the 23 properties, 10 are historic buildings that would be retrofitted; the other 13 are areas that would host completely new projects. These assets – see photos below – can be seen in more detail on the project’s website: Some are located in prime areas of high-end retail, such as Hotel Coulanges on rue de Francs Bourgeois at the 4eme; others are intended for large built-to-suit constructions, such as Pershing, the first concession of aerial rights in Paris, over the Périphérique ring, which should receive an iconic project, emblematic of 21st century Paris.
For the first time, URBEM structured projects with third party resources, namely: GAMARO Desenvolvimento Imobiliário and Grupo Moura. GAMARO is a private Brazilian firm promoting real estate investment; Grupo Moura is a firm specializing in the manufacturing of electric batteries. Together with them, URBEM formed a consortium that also integrates the Atelier Triptyque and Ilion Partners.
For the projects' design, the group has gathered a diverse team of architects from around the world. Amongst them are Alex Washburn (Chief Urban Designer of NY in the Bloomberg administration), NNBJ (USA), Carlo Ratti (Italy/USA), Paulo Mendes da Rocha (Brazil), Phillippe Rahm (Switzerland), Tryptique (France/Brazil), MMBB (Brazil), Edouard François (France), Andrade Morettin (Brazil), Phillippe Chiambaretta (France), Alejandro Aravena (Chile), Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Marcio Kogan (Brazil), Joly&Loiret (France).
The call was set in 3 phases that occurred along the year of 2015. The Consortium coordinated by URBEM successfully passed the first phase (which ended on January 31, 2015) in all the 13 properties for which proposals were submitted. For the second phase, which required the delivery of Initial Offers for each one of the sites until May 11, 2015, URBEM established partnerships with local developers for model validation and joint positioning. There was an average of 30 competitors for each property; and URBEM had 2 projects selected for the Finals. A Final Offer for these two properties was placed in November and URBEM ranked 2nd in both sites. A detailed account of URBEM's participation in Réinventer Paris was published by the magazine Architecture d'Aujourd'hui (available in the "Texts" tab). The specialized magazine Monolito dedicated one volume (#32) to the projects presented by the Institute in Paris.