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Centre Hospitalier & Schaeffler Factory Set for Deco...

Centre Hospitalier & Schaeffler Factory Set for Deconstruction in Calais, France

Closed since the beginning of summer 2012, the former hospital in Calais, France will be destroyed in 2015. The deconstruction work will last approximately 18 months and should be finished at the end of 2017. Green spaces and townhouses are set to replace the existing structure on this site of 2.5 hectares. The cost of

Townhouses, Rue des Volubilis, Cité florale, Paris, France. Photo of a dead-end street with townhouses on three sides in yellow and white-painted brick.  Each townhouse has a small garden in front. Those on the left and right sides are fenced in with small metal gates

Closed since the beginning of summer 2012, the former hospital in Calais, France will be destroyed in 2015. The deconstruction work will last approximately 18 months and should be finished at the end of 2017. Green spaces and townhouses are set to replace the existing structure on this site of 2.5 hectares. The cost of the operation is set at 4.8 million euros.

For more than two years, no activity has been registered at the former hospital on the street Quai du Commerce. In order to keep out intruders the site was walled in, adding a somber detail to the decor of this part of downtown.

“A Deconstruction, Not a Demolition”

The 2.5 hectares of the hospital and its parking lot stretch out between Rue Verte and Rue Valmy. They belong to the Public Real Estate Establishment (EPF), who is completing studies on the deconstruction of the site. A date for the beginning of work has already been pushed up: the first strikes of the axe will take place during the second trimester of 2015.

But there is no question of demolishing this giant 8-story building with explosives or a wrecking ball. “What we will be doing is a deconstruction,” specifies Emmanuel Agius, first deputy to the City of Calais“The EPF is accustomed to this type of work site and that will allow them to recover reusable materials from the site. This is the type of deconstruction that is best adapted for an urban construction zone. However, this procedure does stretch out the calendar.” The cost of the demolition is estimated at 4.8 million euros, of which 30% will be paid by the city.

Once the hospital is demolished, the city will become the owner of a large space in the middle of the city. Even though no definitive project has been adopted yet, the general idea is to use the land to bring green spaces to the city, as well as new townhouses that will be available for purchase.

“Calais is a concrete jungle and we need to change that. We need green spaces, especially downtown. On this site, we can imagine something that resembles Pierre-et-Marie-Curie Park, but smaller,” adds Emmanuel Agius.

With regards to housing, there aren’t any large constructions or apartments in the works. The lodgings built will be more in the line of townhouses with small gardens: “Collective housing is becoming obsolete. People don’t buy apartments anymore. Here, we are imagining housing at less than 200,000 euros. That is what the population demands from housing these days. Furthermore, the city hopes to “showcase the canal that passes in front of the site.

Work on the area will last 18 months, and should finish at the end of 2017.

Schaeffler Factory in Calais, France

172 social housing units at the former Schaeffler Factory?

In August 2013, the automobile parts manufacturer Schaeffler Chain Drive Systems gave up the keys to its factory at Boulevard La Fayette in order to move its activity to Rue Louis-Bréguet. The owner is anxious to sell the previous structure, and the city of Calais hopes to take over this 22,000 m2 industrial wasteland, situated in the middle of downtown. These common interests could very well be set in stone shortly. Vilogia, a private group specializing in social housing and based in the Lille metropolitan area, expressed its interest in buying the building. They would then present Natacha Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais, with a project for the construction of social housing. The project would consist of 172 townhouses. On its part, the city has launched an urban planning study with a master plan that they have returned to the social housing authority.

Nothing has been signed as of yet, as the mayor of Calais needs to study Vilogia’s project. In Calais, Vilogia is the owner of l’Écume des Mers on Rue du Maréchal-Juin. Emmanuel Angius gave the following details: “It is a very preliminary proposition that Natacha Bouchart needs to study. Nothing will be done without her opinion.” “We will be very attentive to the quality of social housing that is proposed. In Calais, we are suffocated by demands for social housing (Les prêts locatifs aidés d’intégration). It is necessary that social housing be intelligent and thought through. Otherwise, we could plan for reducing the number of accommodations.” If Les Bâtiments de France decides the issue, perhaps the facade of the Schaeffler Factory will be preserved.

How has your city transformed unused buildings into useful spaces for the community? Share your stories below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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