Paris buys an office building to avoid Airbnb housing

It is an unprecedented operation which aims to be emblematic. For the first time, the City of Paris has preempted an entire office building to prevent it from being transformed into year-round tourist accommodation of the Airbnb type. The property, a building in the Sentier district in the heart of the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, is located at 210, rue Saint-Denis, between Strasbourg-Saint-Denis and Etienne Marcel metro stations.

This five-storey building complex, covering 800 square meters, was bought at the end of March to oust the company that wanted to acquire it. To afford it, the city had to pay the tidy sum of 8.55 million euros, “which corresponds to the market price”, she specifies. A significant amount when we know that the land account, that is to say the budget allocated to pre-emptions, amounts to 142 million euros per year, which makes it possible to buy a little more than 500 homes each year.

Seventeen HLM planned

But for the city, this transaction was necessary. “The weapon of preemption was the only way to break the sale of this property, which would have been entirely dedicated to seasonal rentals in an area which already has the largest number of Airbnb rentals in Paris,” explains Ariel Weil, mayor of Paris Center, which brings together the first four districts of the capital. Instead, Paris Habitat, the social landlord of the City of Paris, will transform these offices into 17 intermediate social housing ”.

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How did the town hall know that these offices were going to be converted into Airbnb housing? “Our services which follow the sale of lots alerted us when they noticed that the company that wanted to buy the building had already acquired, two years earlier, under the name of another company, the building located in backyard, ”explains the Paris town hall. However, the plot bought back in 2018 is itself currently the subject of a request to change its destination to be transformed into hotel accommodation, in other words into Airbnb rentals ”.

For lack of being able to oppose for the moment the change of affection of the property already acquired, the town hall has decided to exercise its right of preemption on that still for sale. “We had no other choice,” sighs Ariel Weil. A decree should change the situation by subjecting any change of assignment to systematic authorization. Long-awaited, its publication should take place before June 1, according to the Ministry of Housing.

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