The restoration of the tanners´ district is probably the best known and most spectacular of the works carried out in Colmar. It all began in 1968 and was completed in 1974. It involved thirty-three properties, all rundown and in urgent need of renovation. Twenty-seven of the properties were restored, creating some one hundred and eight luxury apartments and sixteen office units.
A lot of Colmarians still remember the spectacular restoration works. The buildings were laid bare, stripped down to their wooden framework, and the brickwork thoroughly cleaned, before the start of the actual restoration works. The interior design and layout no longer had anything to do with the original structures, while the installation of lifts inside the buildings also caused a few heads to turn.
While the technical part of the restoration works went off without any particular snags, the social aspect caused a profound upheaval in the district. The 150 or so people living in the district were aging and of modest means and the housing was not up to the required standard. They were moved out and housed elsewhere in the city.
The whole area, previously little more than a rundown cluster of old houses, was turned into a residential district for three hundred and fifty people, mostly managers in local companies who had moved to Colmar for their jobs. Both the inhabitants and the social status of the tanners´ district had completely changed.
The "quartier des tanneurs", a village within the city, has now become a magnet for tourists and has brought millions of visitors to the city from all over the world.