JPMorgan's Paris problem: It only likes the most prestigious historic buildings

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JPMorgan's Paris problem: It only likes the most prestigious historic buildings

While Bank of America gets ready to move into its new art deco Parisian office 'La Poste', it seems that JPMorgan has come up against a potential problem in its Parisian expansion: the building it would rather like to occupy in Paris won't be ready for a while.

Alongside its report that JPMorgan has secured office space on the 'outskirts' of Paris for 200 people, plus hotel bedrooms for those who require them in case of a no-deal Brexit, Reuters also reports that JPMorgan is eyeing-up the Hotel De La Marine on Place de la Concorde for its permanent Parisian base.

This isn't a hotel at all, but a former palace commissioned by Louis XV in the 18th century. It's very sumptuous, but is currently undergoing renovation works to add 6,200 square metres of new offices, a glass ceilinged-atrium and various conference rooms. And it won't be ready until spring 2020. 

In this sense, it might be argued that JPMorgan has fallen foul of its big aspirations. While Bank of America has opted for a 'simple' art deco ex-postal building, JPMorgan appears to be going for a palace that was used to celebrate Napoleon's coronation. The 260 year-old building will unquestionably require substantial updating before it can house a contemporary trading floor. 

JPMorgan's Paris business is no stranger to prestigious historic accommodation. The bank's current Paris building in the Place Vendôme was constructed by Louis XIV and is situated on the plaza where beheadings took place during the French revolution. 

As we've noted before, JPMorgan has a long history in France, having first opened an office there in 1868 and made crucial loans to Napoleon III and to the French government during World War I. The first of these loans resulted in JPM being gifted an office on...the Place de la Concorde, which the bank subsequently swapped for its current office on the Place Vendôme in 1916.

What with Brexit and the need to build-out in Paris, it therefore seems that JPMorgan wants to get back to its French roots.  A sense of history and a liking for prestigious buildings may be complicating things, however. It's would be much simpler just to go for a tower in La Defense. 

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