The Old Market is Dead, Long Live Carré Eden!
After six years in the pipeline and only a few months behind schedule, the Carré Eden Shopping Center opened with great pomp on May 8, 2014 right in the heart of Marrakech’s New Town District, aka Gueliz. This multi-purpose complex has been built in place of the Old Market, which belonged to the City Council and was torn down back in 2007. At the time, flower and fresh produce stalls were moved at a stone’s throw, to Rue Ibn Toumert, where they still are doing business until further notice.
The 1+-billion-Dirham (€100M) and 100,000 sqm. (108,000 sq. ft.) project was initiated by French art collector and lover of the Red City, Xavier Guerrand-Hermès from the Hermès family, and designed by Casablanca-born architect Karim El Achak, who has been living in Marrakech for over twenty years now. The idea behind the scenes was to boost the heart of an ever-changing City that has gradually gain international stature, while providing it with a unique offering in terms of shopping experience.
The mall has a Starbucks Café -a Marrakech premiere- and a Nespresso store, as well as sixty other shops with such leading international brands of fashionable ready-to-wear and sportswear as Adidas, Lacoste, Guess, LC Waïkiki, Springfield, Orchestra and Gant, as well as of cosmetics, like Yves Rocher. The Swedish flagship store H&M is spread over the three floors of the shopping center. On the basement there are a well-stocked Carrefour Market convenience store and 600 underground parking space. The top floor is mostly dedicated to the Food Court, with takeaway restaurants like Domino’s Pizza, Sushi Club and Wok-to-Walk.
Besides, the residential center will soon be complete: eighty one- and two-floory apartments and a 5-star Radisson Blu hotel, fitted with 200 rooms and suites and a rooftop swimming pool. So far, 80% of the complex are said to be sold or rent.
Although 100 years old, the alive-and-kicking new part of Marrakech is gradually turning into a hype city in itself, with wide avenues, traffic jams and well-maintained parks, such as Jardin Majorelle and the Cyber Park. Before that, one remembers a small town with villas, leather shops and the Old Market. That was it!
The sky is the limit; let’s hope the very essence of Marrakech will remain unchanged. Carré Eden helps preserve its architectural legacy because it blends in very well with the Red City.