Our thinking in relation to the Reims Grand Centre project, work on which began in the summer of 2015 encompasses – in terms of time and space – several different scales with very distinct uses:
The ambition underpinning the Reims Grand Centre project is to create a hub made up of a new waterpark complex, a large events centre, and Boulingrin Square.
Located on either side of the railway tracks and covering nearly 100 hectares, the site will give the city a new, smiling face.
All the fundamentals are present for an ambitious and visible urban project that will help to reposition the agglomeration and reconnect a fragmented space.
We must exploit this large empty space, located a stone’s throw from the station, to develop a shop window for Rheims, combining not only economic activities, tourism, leisure activities, culture and sport, but also the expertise of the city and, above all, its knowledge of the Champagne sector.
From the old SERNAM brownfield site to the Halles du Boulingrin and on to the Promenades, we have imagined a federative project articulated around facilities serving both local people and visitors.
By adding a waterpark and an events centre, redynamising the Halles, and reinvigorating Boulingrin Square and the Promenades renewed, the project will extend the downtown area beyond the old medieval walls.
Also among the project’s strong points are the improvements that will be made to connections between the north and south of the city, and the simplification of pedestrian pathways. Work is also being done to improve public spaces, which, for the most part, are experienced as crossroads rather than genuine squares (for example, Place de la République).
We also focus on the Laon/Lundy axis. These two avenues, which currently host retails outlets and champagne companies, fall somewhat short in terms of quality. But soon, with the introduction of the waterpark complex at the entrance to the SERNAM site and the delivery of a strong new programme on Boulingrin Square, the entire axis will present a new face to the world.
At the exit from the station, on a site of almost 20 hectares, the Promenades (High and Low Promenades, Square de la Patte d’Oie, the Schneiter Garden, the Square Colbert) border the historical downtown area. They account for a considerable portion of the city centre, providing it with a green lung. At a broader scale, they provide part of a green landscape corridor running from the Butte de Brimont to the Montagne de Reims. As we can see, the Promenades are of central importance in the town. However, their potential has yet to be fully exploited.
The car park takes up a good deal of space, in fact nearly two hectares, or, in other word two hectares fewer green spaces for locals and visitors. The first issue is, therefore, to give this space back to local residents by providing parking under the Low Promenades at the entrance to the city. The project to redevelop the Promenades should boost Rheims’ attraction as a tourist centre, notably in regard to the historical legacy and monuments that characterise the area, including the Mars Gate, the Halles du Boulingrin, the Louis XV Gate, the Art Déco façades.