Parisian Court Shuts Down LVMH La Samaritaine Renovation

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton's La Samaritaine renovation project has hit another roadblock this week, as an Administrative Court in Paris canceled one of the luxury conglomerate's building permits for the renovation of the Parisian department store. The matter has been ongoing since LVMH filed for a permit in December 2012.

This past July, a Parisian tribunal found that the rue de Rivoli side of the building planned by LVMH, particularly its undulating façade made entirely of glass and stone, is not in line with the architecture, and "does little to enhance the surrounding buildings." The challenging to LVMH's project comes from the Society for the Protection of landscapes and the aesthetics, which argues that LVMH's planned restoration will "distort the center of Paris."

The Samaritaine, a Parisian landmark located in Paris' First Arrondissement, was purchased by LVMH 2001. The store, which was opened in 1869, had been operating at a loss since the 1970's, was closed in 2005, as the building did not meet safety codes. In 2010, LVMH announced that a Japanese firm had been chosen to redesign the building as a combination hotel/apartments/offices, along with a small retail component, with an estimated re-opening in 2016. According to a statement from La Samaritaine, a subsidiary of the LVMH group, the project will allow for the renovation and maintenance of "an exceptional architectural heritage" and the "hosting of new uses required for the vitality of central Paris in buildings that are exemplary in terms of urban ecology."

LVMH and the city of Paris have two months to appeal the latest ruling, which as of now, fully suspends any further progress in relation to the building.