Bernard Arnault to Open New $166 Million Frank Gehry-Designed Museum in Paris

The French collector is expanding his museum empire.

Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault, French president Francois Hollande, Paris' mayor Anne Hidalgo look at a scale model during a press conference to unveil a new museum in Paris, on March 8, 2017. Photo: CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/AFP/Getty Images.

French luxury goods billionaire Bernard Arnault will open a new museum close to his Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, which opened in 2014. The collector enlisted Frank Gehry to revamp the building that formerly housed the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions.

In a presentation attended by French President François Hollande, culture minister Audrey Azoulay, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Bernard Arnault announced that he agreed to a 50-year lease at €150,000 ($158,000) annually for the 11-story building, which belongs to the city of Paris. Additionally, the city will receive a variable percentage of turnover between two and 10 percent depending on profitability.

As part of the deal, the museum will be renamed La Maison LVMH/Arts, Talents, Patrimonie. According to Le Parisien, renovation costs have been estimated at €158 million ($166 million).

The 15,100-square-meter building will include a traditional craft workshop, a 2,000-seat event hall, multiple gallery spaces, and a rooftop restaurant.

The former Arts and people’s traditions’ museum, located in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, will become a showcase for handicraft and art works, under the supervision of French group LVMH. Photo: CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/AFP/Getty Images.

Abandoned for over a decade since the ethnological museum closed to the public in 2005, the structure will require extensive renovation. According to a 2014 report by the court of auditors, the cost of removing asbestos alone has been estimated at between €50–80 million ($52.7–84.4 million)

As a result of the astronomical renovation costs, the city has struggled to find a new tenant, and with monthly security costs totaling €33,000 ($34,000), the property had become a burden. Arnault and LVMH agreed to reestablish a museum in the building after protracted negotiations.

According to Le Parisien, the deal is expected to be formally finalized on Friday, but is subject to approval by the Paris city council and the French Ministry of the Environment, due to its close proximity to the Bois de Boulogne park.

Renovation of the museum is expected to take at least five years, and the new institution is slated to open in 2022.

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