COURBEVOIE: A group of tenants near Paris whose apartments are to be destroyed to build the tallest skyscrapers in western Europe are refusing to leave after fighting for years to save their homes, reports AFP.
The Hermitage towers, two 320-metre (1050-foot) buildings proposed by a Russian property developer, are due to be completed by 2024 in the La Defense business district to coincide with the city’s hosting of the Olympic games.Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the towers will stand just four metres shorter than the Eiffel Tower (324m from base to tip) on a location currently occupied by a social housing block which was built in 1974.
But twelve of the 250 apartments in the Damiers block are still occupied, according to the landlord, holding up construction in a battle pitting them against developer Emin Iskenderov and his 2.8-billion-euro ($3.3 billion) project.
“I was a political refugee,” one defiant resident, anaesthetist Tatiana Dinulescu, told AFP as she recalled how she fled the former dictatorship in Romania. “It took time for us to build a new home, and now they’re doing this. It’s unacceptable.” She has lived in the Damiers flats for more than 20 years.
The struggle over the Hermitage towers comes amid a push to expand office space and residential sites in the Defense area, a centre of the French financial industry.