CENTRE COMMERCIAL PARLY 2
Avenue du Charles du Gaulle and Route du St.-Germaine
Commune of Le Chesnay (Department of Yvelines), France


One of the first United States-style shopping malls on the continent of Europe was built on a 50 acre plot, situated 10.3 miles southwest of centre city Paris, in the commune of Le Chesnay ["luh shuh-nay"].

The retail hub was a component of a 7,500-unit development, known as Parly 2, which was built between 1967 and 1978. The mall's tentative name, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, had been changed to PARLY 2 by the time of its completion.

Envisaged by Robert de Balkany and Jean-Louis Solal, the PARLY 2 development and shopping complex were built under the auspices of La Societe des Centres Commerciaux (SCC), of Paris. 

The mall opened for business November 4, 1969. It was designed by New York City's Lathrop Douglass, who had conceptualized several iconic malls in the United States. A listing would include Yonkers, New York's CROSS COUNTY CENTER (1954), Montgomery County, Maryland's WHEATON PLAZA (1960) and Fairfax County, Virginia's TYSONS CORNER CENTER (1968).

PARLY 2 was a fully-enclosed structure of 678,100 leasable square feet. There were 2 anchor department stores; a 3-level (143,500 square foot), Paris-based Au Printemps and 3-level (108,500 square foot), Paris-based Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville, a.k.a. BHV.

Among the 100 charter tenants were Christian Dior, Jourdan, Lanvin, Lenotre, Hediard, Nivernaise Butchers, Miss Franc and a Publicis drug store. Junior anchoring the complex were a 1-level (22,000 square foot) Suma supermarket and 2-level (43,600 square foot) Prisunic variety store and grocery. There was also 55,000 square feet of leased office space.

The 2-level shopping concourse was done in a late '60s Deco Avante-Garde motif, with marble floors, fountains, artificial foliage and little natural lighting. The building was also partially surrounded by a 2-level parking deck, with accommodations for 3,000 autos.

Other suburban-style shopping malls followed in rapid succession. These included VELIZY 2 (1972) {5.7 miles southeast, in Velizy-Villacoublay} and ROSNY 2 (1975) {16.8 miles northeast, in Rosny-Sous-Bois}.

In the mid-1980s, a joint venture was established. The Progemo Company and Sari Company, 2 Paris-based real estate firms, joined forces with Great Britain's Norwich Union Insurance Company. A parcel of land south of the PARLY 2 mall was acquired.

An expansion got underway in 1986. 322,900 leasable square feet, and 87 stores, were added. A single-level, Y-shaped mallway was built, which crossed over Avenue du Docteure Albert Schweitzer. The thoroughfare was routed through a tunnel for the mall extension. 

A new South Wing was dedicated in October 1987, which had 3 levels. The first floor housed a parking garage. The second contained the Y-shaped mall concourse. Level 3 consisted of a rooftop parking deck and 2 blocks of retail stores. The additional facilities expanded the mall's parking capacity to nearly 5,000 autos.

Stores opened as part of the 1987 extension included C & A (an apparel chain), fnac (selling electronics & appliances), Habitat (carrying home furnishings) and Truffault (dealing in outdoor and gardening accouterments). PARLY 2 now spanned approximately 1 million leasable square feet and housed 189 stores and services.

Ownership of the mall had changed by the mid-1990s. Norwich Insurance bought out the Sari interest and established a 90% ownership share of the South Wing. In 1994, Norwich divested its real estate holdings and sold its share of the shopping center to the Abu Dhabi Investment Fund. Meanwhile, the circa-1969 section of the mall was acquired by Amsterdam's Rodamco in 1995. 

Toys "R" Us opened their 34th store on French soil, at PARLY 2, on October 21, 2006. By this time, Place du Marche food courts had been installed on Levels 1 and 3 of the South Wing.

Rodamco merged with Unibail, a Paris-based retail real estate company, in April 2007, forming a new entity known as Unibail-Rodamco. By this time, PARLY 2 was in need of a renovation in order to stay competitive. The mall's dual ownership required its owners to sign a pact to co-ordinate and expedite the redevelopment.   

A 200 million Euro (235 million US dollar) expansion and renovation of the mall was envisaged, which got underway in 2010. The 5-phase project started with a face lift of the circa-1969 structure, using a "Sixties Chic" motif. Phase 2 involved renovating, replacing and expanding parking garages and decks. 2,000 spaces were created.

Next came a refurbishment of the circa-1987 South Wing. With this completed, work began at the northeast corner of the complex in March 2016. A parking garage was demolished. A 16-store addition, known as Pont-Neuf (or "New Bridge"), was built, linking the East (BHV) Court and east end of the South Wing

In all, 174,900 square feet -and 16 stores- were added. The Pont-Neuf section was completed in November 2017. "New signs" in the mall included those of Jott, Armani Exchange, Rituals and New Balance. The complex now encompassed approximately 1,323,900 leasable square feet and contained 204 stores and services. 

The final phase of the mall's metamorphosis involves reconstruction and expansion at the northwest corner. The parking deck 5-plex cinema, which was shuttered in June 2014, is being replaced with a state-of-the-art UGC 12-screen megaplex. This venue will be incorporated into a new parking structure. Both projects will be completed in 2019.  

Sources:

www.parly2.com
http://www.immoweek.frwww.scc.fr / Ingrid Nappi-Choulet
http://archives.nicematin.com
https://www.lsa-conso.fr / LSA Commerce & Consommation
La Societe des Centres Commerciaux

www.unibail-rodamco.com
www.yveslineradio.com
http://www.bdp.com (BDP Company)
https://parly2-extension.fr
"Parly 2" article on Wikipedia "L'encyclopedie libre"