Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault, Head of LVMH Group, to Open Cultural Center in Paris

French business magnate and art collector Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of the LVMH Group, is planning to open a new museum in Paris, Le Parisien reports. Arnault will transform the former Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires into a cultural center, which will host exhibitions and events. He finalized an agreement with the city, requiring him to lease the building for the next fifty years, last Friday. Arnault is expected to announce details of the project at a press conference in France today. President François Hollande, mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and minister of culture and communications Audrey Azoulay are expected to attend.

Located near Arnault’s Louis Vuitton Foundation, the eleven-story building has been vacant since 2005 and has fallen into disrepair. The LVMH Group’s revival of the structure includes removing asbestos from the building, which has been estimated to cost between $52 and $84 million. Architect Frank Gehry will lead the renovations. Once completed, the museum will feature a space for exhibitions and organizing events as well as a 10,000-square-foot area dedicated to handicrafts and a restaurant.

The $166 million project should take five years to finish. The group will pay a fixed annual fee of $158,000 to the city, plus a variable amount depending on the revenue generated. While Arnault is presenting the plans for the cultural center to the public today, he will have to submit them to the Pairs Council on March 27, 28, and 29 and will need the approval of the site commission of the ministry of the environment due to the building’s proximity to the Bois de Boulogne before he moves forward.