Today, the Conseil d’État found that so-called dark stores are warehouses under the meaning of the French Town Planning Code and the local town planning scheme of Paris. As a result, Frichti and Gorillas Technologies should have filed an application with the Paris city authorities to use premises that were originally conventional shops as dark stores, and the city authorities could have refused the conversion. The Conseil d’État also found that the city was entitled to ask the two companies to return the premises to their original activity, because ground floor warehouses that open onto the street are prohibited in Paris.
In June 2022, the City of Paris ordered Frichti and Gorillas Technologies to return several dark stores, which are storage premises for the fast delivery of consumer products ordered online, to their original activity. After that decision was suspended by the urgent applications judge of the administrative court of Paris, the city appealed to the Conseil d’État.
Today, the Conseil d’État found that the City of Paris can lawfully order the rapid delivery companies to return these premises to their original activity of traditional stores, since the change of activity was not authorised. It, therefore, annulled the suspension by the administrative court of Paris.
It found that dark stores are warehouses under the meaning of the applicable regulations. Such premises store goods for rapid delivery to customers, and are not intended for direct sales under the meaning of the French Town Planning Code. Therefore, the new activity does indeed belong to the ‘warehouse’ category, in view of both the French Town Planning Code and the local town planning scheme of Paris. Dark stores do not belong to the category of ‘constructions and installations required for public services or the collective interest’ in the local town planning scheme (PLU) of Paris, contrary to the earlier ruling of the administrative court.
When the two companies involved converted their premises, which originally housed conventional shops, into storage spaces for quick delivery, they should have declared that change of use to the city authorities, who could have opposed it since the conversion of existing ground floor premises into warehouses that open onto the street is not permitted under the local planning scheme.
As a result, there can be no serious doubt that the decisions of the City of Paris in this matter were lawful.
Read the decision (in French)