The Halle Freyssinet freight station was originally built in 1920, but in recent years it has been used as a reception and event center. This past summer Xavier Niel, founder of Le Monde, bought the hall for €70 million to turn it into a business incubator. Wilmotte & Associés SA is renovating the station into a 30,000 square meter flexible working space for 1,000 startups. While there are many start-up incubators around the world, this is likely to be the largest. 1000 Start-Ups will provide space for co-working areas, a fablab, a large auditorium, meeting rooms, large work spaces, and a bar-restaurant that will be open 24 hours a day.
The project is intended to promote and support emerging new talent and businesses in France so that the nation stays competitive in the global market. Flexible spaces mixed with innovative building technologies and digital capabilities will provide a creative and vibrant space for companies to grow and collaborate. The existing structure will be maintained to preserve the building’s industrial heritage. Daylight will stream down through rooftop skylights and shipping containers and modules will be installed inside the large space to create offices and meeting rooms. Work is expected to begin in June of 2014 and it will be completed within two years. The project was developed by the Municipality of Paris with financing from Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and Xavier Niel.
Images ©Wilmotte & Associés SA