High-Speed Rail, Corporate Real Estate and Firm Location in the Central Business District: The Results from Two Surveys (2008; 2014) in Reims

Sylvie Bazin-Benoit1, Christophe Beckerich1, Marie Delaplace2, *
1 Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne - Laboratoire Regards, Reims, France
2 Université de Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée – Lab’Urba - Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris, Paris, France

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© Bazin-Benoit et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Université de Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée – Lab’Urba - Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris, Paris, France; E-mail:


The arrival of High Speed Rail (HSR) often gives rise to a development of office and corporate real estate programs around the central station where firms are expected to locate. But the question is to know if HSR is, in itself, a location factor or if it induces an indirect effect by triggering a supply of business real estate, which then explains the location of firms. The aim of this paper is to identify the exact role of HSR in firms’ choice of location, and on real estate supply, at the time of opening of HSR services and during their development.

We analyzed the case of Reims, a city served since 2007 by the Eastern Europe High Speed Line. Its district near the central station has been transformed into a so-called business district. Two surveys interviewing firms were conducted in 2008 and 2014 respectively. The results of the first survey clearly show that use of HSR does not directly explain the location, but the image effect it generates real estate investments. Such programs quickly find real estate buyers and tenants, mainly local ones, but less from companies outside the city. The second survey makes it possible to identify whether the dynamics noticed in the short term, where strong expectations existed, are still relevant seven years later. Interviews with developers and investors make it possible to identify the reasons why they have invested in this district. This last survey shows the importance of local developers, local public stakeholders and of land availability, but also that HSR becomes, for some firms, a direct location factor.

Keywords: Business real estate, business district, High-Speed Rail, location choice.