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Capital Facilities

19 May 2008

Providing modern office environments in historic buildings is a challenge in any major city, and Paris is no exception. Office 8 the largest office complex in Paris, blends the old with the new, and offers its blue chip tenants a total facilities management package.

LONDON STILL RETAINS MUCH OF ITS MEDIEVAl street pattern, but Paris has Baron George-Eugene Haussmann and Napoleon III to thank for the long straight, wide boulevards with their cafés and shops that makes the city one of the most visited in the world and one of the most comfortable to live in. As a 21st century office location, however, this glorious architectural history from the Haussmann era has restricted modern office development in Paris as strict limits are imposed on building height and style to retain its characteristic building style and streetscape.

Nevertheless, the largest office development in Paris has managed to blend modern architecture and 19th century Parisian streetscape with the demands of ‘blue-chip’ business operations to provide a 21st century working environment. The Capital 8 office complex near Parc Monceau has successfully blended old and new to provide a complex of offices occupying a high standard of location, architecture and service.

Comprising the majority of the buildings in a block bounded by Avenue de Messine, Rue to Messine, Rue du Monceau, Rue du Docteur Lancereaux and Rue Louis Murat, Capital 8 consists of renovated 19th century Haussmann private mansions, a 1930’s building and a set of 1960’s buildings. Formerly housing the French utility company, EDF, these buildings has been entirely redesigned into a harmonious modern 62,650sq m office complex designed for multioccupation. Along with underground parking for over 500 cars, there is 6,000 sq m of gardens and landscaped areas in open courtyards between the buildings, and four kinds of catering including a staff restaurant, brasserie, fast-food and food delivery service shared by the tenants. There is also a conference centre with a number of side rooms and a 141-seat auditorium, and a gym and onsite concierge service. There is wi-fi in the reception areas, lobbies, the conference centre and reception salons.

The tenants include bankers Rothschilds and Chartered Bank, food company Kraft, cosmetics company Marionnaud, financial advisors Aforge, Finance, investment company Eurazeo and energy experts Gaz de France.

Capital 8 is noteworthy not just because of its size, sensitive architecture and exclusive occupants, but also because Unibail-Rodamco is not only the developer, but also the managing agent and owner of the properties. With a such a long term interest in the occupation and investment value of the buildings, Unibail’s choice of facilities management supplier was an important one.

The French FM market is still immature despite the success of French companies such as Dalkia, Elyo, Sodexo, Faceo, and Cofathec outside France, particularly in the UK where they have built their market share in the FM sector. For this, its most prestigious location, Unibail selected Cofathec Services, a Gaz de France company - one of its tenants – and a sister company to Cofathec in the UK.

As Jean-Luc Billiani, Director of the Paris La Defense Agency for Cofathec Services explained “The FM market in France is immature but this is changing as more multi-national and French companies seek to outsource FM and support services.”

Cofathec Services supplies total FM to not only to its main client Unibail, but also to a significant proportion of the tenants. The on-site FM, Mustapha El Mansouri, heads a team of 11 which includes eight technical staff, and he reports to Paulo Sarabando, Assistant Group Manager for the contract. Cofathec Services and its specialist suppliers provide M&E maintenance for heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical including high and low voltage, lighting, emergency generators, UPS, plumbing, BMS, lifts, fabric maintenance, fire detection and fire protection, and maintenance of catering equipment.

Soft services supplied include internal relocations, space planning, cleaning, window cleaning, hygiene, waste recycling, pest control, interior and exterior landscaping, mail, security and visitor reception. It contracts Sodexo for the catering and concierge services, Securitas for the security, TEFID for cleaning, Florence Dore for visitor reception and Club Med to run gym facilities.

Tenant services include the M&E for specialist equipment, heating, cooling, ventilation, high and low voltage power, lighting and UPS systems, plus cleaning, window cleaning and hygiene.

Maintenance requests are handled through the Unibail call centre and conveyed to Cofathec Services. They also meet them on a weekly basis, and monthly with their tenant clients and quarterly with Unibail for all the contracts it manages across the Paris agency region.

Plans are still ongoing for the proposed merger of Franco-Belgium utility Suez and state-owned Gaz de France, of which Cofathec Services is a part. Meanwhile, Cofathec Services’ Paris region already has a significant market share with turnover totally €74m (2006) and a staff of 400. It has a national contract with EDS that includes managing the company’s datacentres, and it also provides FM services to La Defense, Air France and Credit Agricole, and to theatres and museums including the Opera House and the Pompidou Centre.

Despite the difference in maturity of the French and British FM markets, the issues for FM service providers are much the same on either side of the Channel. Top of the list are the growing pressure on margins and skills shortages. Cofathec Services employs 40 apprentice technicians in the Paris region alone to develop its in-house skills.

As in the UK, energy management is an integral part of most French FM contracts, and there is often a contractual obligation to reduce energy use, but sharing the savings between client and service provider is less usual . At Capital 8, the air handling units are connected to the district heating system in Paris (CPCU) that delivers heat generated in part from waste incineration and supplied through some 450km of pipelines under the city. To limit the risk of legionnaires disease, only dry cooling systems are allowed in the city. At Capital 8 an ice storage system provides cooling for the hot Parisian summers.

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