Developer: Constructa Urban Systems
Designer: 5 + 1 AAA Agency
Site size: 4 acres (1.6 ha)

Les Docks Village is a ground-floor rehabilitation of the Docks, a historic and emblematic structure built in 1857 on the Marseille harbor and purchased by J.P. Morgan in 2007. Completion of Les Docks Village marks the end of the renovation of nearly 1,200 linear feet (365 m) at the front of the seven-story, 861,000-square-foot (80,000 sq m) brick-and-stone building.

A careful strategy to turn the ground floor into an urban center and an open space accessible to the public, instead of an enclosed shopping center, sets the site apart from the rest of the area while seamlessly weaving it into the urban fabric. Les Docks Village incorporates 162,000 square feet (15,000 sq m) of retail and restaurant space—accommodating almost 60 shops on each side of the main street—with four courtyards. The estimated cost of the project is about $50.6 million.

Related: ULI Case Study: Les Docks Village

Although the entire building consists of elements retained from the original structure, including stone walls, brick vaults, and iron portals, the architectural and design qualities of each room, hallway, and corridor offer visitors a new experience and a unique sense of place. A festive atmosphere is created by restaurants, bars, an indoor fresh produce market, terraces, and places to enjoy meeting people after work or to spend time with family. Forty percent of the space is dedicated to food through restaurants, bars, and the market, and 20 percent is reserved for community stores selling arts and crafts.

The developer’s strategy was first to gain the loyalty of the 15,000 employees working in the immediate area and respond to their daily needs. The renovation has increased the revenue generated by the property by 40 percent, providing stability through a diverse portfolio of revenue sources and embodying the value of development like that at Les Docks Village.