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11/04/2022 Comments (0) Architecture, Other, Real Estate

Animating ground floors: creative examples abound

In a previous article, we explained the importance, both for real estate professionals and for municipalities, of carefully considering the destination of ground floors. In this second part, we invite you to discover some original initiatives, from both the public and private sectors, and all located in France.

Ground floors are an indicator of a city’s economic health. In the 18th arrondissement of Paris, the designers of the new Chapelle International business district  have e created the SOHO (Small Office Home Office), i.e. 8,000m2 of duplex surface area, making it possible to set up an activity on the ground floor and housing just above. The same promoters have also ensured that all the premises located on the street front are offered at rents one third below the market price, allowing project promoters to be able to get started at an attractive price and contribute to enrich the attractiveness of the district, both for the occupants of the offices and for passers-by. 

  • © Soho Chapelle International
    © Soho Chapelle International
  • © Soho Chapelle International
    © Soho Chapelle International
  • © Soho Chapelle International
    © Soho Chapelle International
  • © Soho Chapelle International

Photos © SOHO Chapelle International

The 1000 cafés programme, implemented throughout the territory, contributes to revitalising towns with fewer than 3,500 inhabitants by reopening local shops, in the form of multi-service cafés, where there were no longer any. This creates social ties and allows small towns to revive. The group offers to rent or buy commercial premises at a low price, but also to recruit, train and guarantee remuneration to the managers who will run the business.

Sometimes, it is the citizens, the first concerned, who are solicited. My Korner Shop is a crowdfunding platform that allows local residents to buy empty or occupied commercial premises and participate in their management, or to help local merchants to gradually acquire their premises.

New ecosystems

But the most attractive example of ground floor activation can be found in Saint-Etienne. A few years ago, the BEAU association (Bureau Ephémère d’Action Urbaine) was created there. It managed the temporary transformation of a dozen empty shops to test original community activities (a wellness shop, education for children, municipal archives, a coating workshop, etc.). The Saint-Etienne metropolitan area also hosts the Rues du Développement Durable Association, which supports project leaders linked to ground floors. Its leaders aim to transform the city, with and for its inhabitants, and to develop participative, creative, friendly and more economically accessible neighbourhoods. 

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