CHICAGO: The French Connection
Meet Montparnasse 56. The Parisian firm has big plans for the Hancock’s observation deck, and we caught up with CEO Patrick Abisseror (snapped atop Tour Montparnasse) recently in Paris. (We'll go to the ends of the world for you, dear readers.) The company's founders built the French tower 40 years ago, taking ownership of the 56th floor and developing it as a tourist destination, he tells us. Others under its belt: Berlin’s TV Tower and Provence’s Crocodile Park. After a 2010 bid for One World Trade Center’s observation deck in NYC fizzled, the company jumped to buy the Hancock observatory (now 360 Chicago) from a Deutsche Bank-led venture, Patrick says.
Its $5M refurbishment plan includes Tilt, the site’s most innovative new feature—the wall moves (above), offering downward-facing views. The key to 360 Chicago’s success, Patrick says, is attracting tourists from rapidly growing markets like China, India, Brazil, and Russia. Chicago has already become Montparnasse’s base for US expansion, with a few more national projects brewing as a result. Ideally, he’d like to open two or three more US venues in the next five years. When he’s not working, Patrick enjoys traveling (he just went to Morocco) or relaxing at his home in Provence.