Those who have not experienced the golden era of the Janis have a hard time imagining it. The factory inaugurated in 1961 by General De Gaulle nevertheless experienced such a prosperous period that nearly people worked there in the 1970s. Buoyed by the success of the Citroën GS or BX, the car manufacturing plant of Chartres-de-Bretagne has long been the flagship of Rennes’ economy. Before slowly and inexorably declining to the point of near-death.
That year, the boss Carlos Tavares had blackmailed elected officials by promising the allocation of a new vehicle to Rennes but under conditions. The boss of Stellantis had sold hectares to the Brittany region, supported by the department and the metropolis for million euros. The price to pay to avoid an outright closure of the historic factory. Remember, it was not won, ”slips Nathalie Appéré, who was then the very young mayor of Rennes.
Seven years after the purchase of what represented a quarter of the land of the car manufacturer, the Janis appears in some places like a desert of bitumen that no one would want. “The site could be ten times full if we had said yes to all the requests”, assures the president of the metropolis Nathalie Appéré. Territoires, the city’s developer, has just launched a call for expressions of interest to attract professionals in “carbon-free construction. Because if the area takes so long to transform, it is because the local authorities have decided to install industrialists there. But not just any. “La Janais is a nugget for the region. But you have to take the time, not just do anything. We made the choice of the industry, it was not the easiest but we believe in it. We are serene,
Ten days ago, the socialist inaugurated the new premises of the Euro-Shelter company, which took possession of a former hangar from where Citroën manufactured prototypes. The company now manufactures mobile units that are very popular with armies or local authorities. “We had already had views on this site for a long time but it was complicated in particular for access because we were in the grip of PSA. We looked elsewhere but found nothing,” explains Benoît Le Lay.
Around his shed, the director of Euro-Shelter can feel a bit lost in the face of the emptiness because the space is so immense. At the entrance to what is now an industrial area, a feverish gate controls access to this still sparsely populated area. Here, the SNCF is renovating its old TGV trains and the Ecodesign company is building houses out of containers. Stellaris and its employees continue to release a few Peugeot and Citroën C5 Aircross when spare parts are not lacking. But we are still waiting to see the arrival of other economic players.
Refusals, the communities have however sent a good number, in particular to Amazon, which dreamed of setting up a huge logistics warehouse there. Faced with the scarcity of land, transport, and logistics companies are looking to expand. Land acquisitions have been significant and therefore need to be developed. Some buildings like the one that housed the shoeing are thermal sieves that will have to be demolished and transformed. It’s easy to welcome companies without knowing what jobs they will offer and for how long they will settle. We prefer to see in the long term, to bet on a new industrial revolution”, justifies Nathalie Appéré. La Janis will not be deserted for long.