Brexit: Paris announces seven new skyscrapers as it steps up bid to lure London jobs

Infrastructure announcement follows an aggressive campaign to woo UK businesses, urging them to “join the frogs”

Ben Chapman
Wednesday 22 February 2017 18:26 GMT
375,000 sq m of new office space, as well as new restaurants and co-working areas
375,000 sq m of new office space, as well as new restaurants and co-working areas

Paris has ramped up efforts to lure jobs from London as Europe’s leading business hub post-Brexit after announcing a huge investment in its main business district, La Défense.

The buildings will be the tallest constructed in the French capital for more than 40 years, but in a bid to attract financial firms it will now build seven new skyscrapers in La Défense by 2021.

The towers will create 375,000 sq m of new office space as well as new restaurants and co-working areas, Defacto, the organisation which is promoting the development, said on Wednesday.

Marie-Célie Guillaume, chief executive of Defacto, said, “Brexit represents a huge opportunity for Paris.

“With only a few weeks to go until Article 50 is triggered, we want to send a powerful message to businesses that are uncertain about their future in London,” Ms Guillaume said.

The infrastructure announcement follows an aggressive campaign by Defacto, urging UK businesses to “join the frogs”. Paris has been particularly keen to attract London’s financial firms, which fear the consequences of losing their passporting rights to trade freely across the EU.

On Tuesday Emmanuel Macron, a candidate in May’s French presidential election, said he wants British “banks, talents, researchers, academics” to move to France after Brexit.

He said if elected his policies would include “a series of initiatives to get talented people in research and lots of fields working [in London] to come to France”.

A host of financial firms have announced plans to move jobs out of London in recent months. HSBC already has an office in La Défense and said in January it would move around 1,000 jobs from London. UBS said around the same amount would go while JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon warned that more than 4,000 of its staff could be relocated from the UK.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein said New York had already gained from Britain’s decision to leave the EU and that his bank had stalled previous plans to move jobs to London.

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