France Unveils Plan for New Defense HQ

French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet on May 31 unveiled a detailed architectural model and plans for the building complex, popularly dubbed the French Pentagon and expected to house 9,300 command and civilian staff in 2014 under a 3.5 billion euro ($5.1 billion) public-private partnership (PPP) contract.

Builder Bouygues led a group that includes Thales, Sodexo and Dalkia to win the PPP contract, initialed by Longuet on May 30, to build and manage the site under a 27-year lease, receiving an annual rent of 130 million euros. The other bidders were Vinci and Eiffage. A bank pool including Natixis, Dexia, Société Générale and BBVA will lend financing.

Architect Nicolas Michelin said he designed the main building as an environmentally friendly system inspired by the lines of stealthy military aircraft.

Defense officials hope the new site will encourage a joint approach in military affairs by bringing together at the Balard site, located in east Paris, the headquarter staff of the services, which are dispersed around the capital. The Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office will also join the defense staff.

The government retains the Hotel de Brienne, the 18th-century building that served as the headquarters of Gen. Charles de Gaulle when he led the provisional administration on the liberation of Paris in August 1944.

Pierre Tran, DefenseNews