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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$287M Resort Plan For South of France

A group of Russian investors wants to spend more than 200 million euros ($287 million) to build a new resort town in southern France.

Sergei Bezborodov, president of developer Q-tec, told Vedomosti that a pool of Russian investors bought 400 hectares of land from a French citizen in La Chaume, about 70 kilometers from Nice and eight kilometers from Entrevaux.

Q-tec was invited to join the project by financier Vladimir Sirotinsky, who is representing the interests of the current landowners and is a managing partner, Bezborodov said.

Sirotinsky confirmed the information but declined to identify the investors or the land’s original owner. He said there were five investors and that not all of them were Russian businessmen. Bezborodov said they live in Russia but are not involved in the construction industry.

A source close to the project’s participants said they wanted to remain incognito until the development gets under way, in part because investing in real estate amid the crisis is risky.

Entrevaux Mayor Christian Gatti told Vedomosti that a presentation on the project was given to local officials two weeks ago, but that plan had not yet been approved by more senior authorities. Sirotinsky said he thought approval would take about six months.

Q-tec will be the project’s developer, while the design is being developed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. A spokesman for Wilmotte confirmed his participation in the project.

Currently, the land is a nature reserve with small, 17th-century buildings. Bezborodov said the new owners were planning to create a secluded resort. “It’s a meditative place. Clearly it will be a sort of closed club, catering to the wealthy.”

The developer said he expected that about 120 hectares would be developed, with the land divided into several zones. One of the most remote spots will house a boutique hotel with 50 to 70 rooms, several expensive villas on a mountainside (starting at 5 million euros apiece) and a little village with 100 houses for about 1 million euros each.

A farm, horse stables, an observatory and a spa are also planned.

Bezborodov said the combined 100,000 square meters of real estate would require at least 200 million euros. “It will be coming from the investors’ own funds, although we haven’t ruled out attracting capital,” he said, adding that the village would be built over the course of seven years.

Analysts were surprised at the investment choice. Knight Frank senior vice president Andrei Zakrevsky said he “wasn’t really sure what segment the project is targeting,” and that the group will “really have to try” to sell expensive homes 70 kilometers from the coast.

The resort will seek to attract people from all of Europe, not just Russia, Bezborodov said. Sirotinsky stressed that the details of the development could still change.