Steel opened at 4 p.m. with great fanfare. Impatient, many visitors awaited the opening of the gates. Since then, the aisles of the huge shopping center have never been empty and queues have formed in front of certain brands. “It’s grandiose,” some whisper. “We didn’t expect that,” others slip, taking pictures of themselves in front of the sculptures and other design objects that adorn the site.
Exceptionally, Steel, its shops and restaurants will be open until 9 p.m. tonight.
Inauguration this morning
Before opening their doors at 4 p.m. (and exceptionally until 9 p.m.), the 70 shops, cafes and restaurants were inaugurated this Wednesday noon by Gaël Perdriau, mayor and president of Saint-Étienne Métropole, and Maurice Bansay, CEO of Apsys, the promoter and operator of Steel.
During the press conference held in the morning, the latter, in indirect response to criticism against the project, recalled that “the objective is to bring back to the territory the 500 million euros annual escape commercial. And to show that there is an attractive commercial offer in Saint-Étienne. We have to create a positive dynamic, and we will win this bet together, with the merchants of the city center ”.
As for Gaël Perdriau, he recalled that “Steel has represented the largest private investment in the Loire for several decades” and “one of the most ambitious commercial projects at the national level”.
For the elected representative, Steel “reinforces Saint-Étienne in its urban renewal approach and helps create a commercial attractiveness complementary to the city center, which will shine well beyond our Metropolis”.
At the same time, a hundred opponents of Steel demonstrated place Jean-Jaurès and provided support for businesses in downtown Saint-Étienne.