Expanding horizons


New residences in French Alps reap dividends for property developer and owners

The decision to expand its development activities into the Central and Haute-Maurienne regions of the French Alps has paid off for leading French developer MGM, according to its London-based UK sales consultant Richard Deans.

Little more than a year ago he announced that MGM was about to start building two major new schemes in new areas for the first time. One comprised 65 leaseback apartments in a brand new four-star r�sidence de tourisme in Alpe d’Huez in the Central Alps; the other was the company’s biggest ever r�sidence, Le Chalet de Flambeau, in the Val Cenis ski resort in the Haute-Maurienne region of France, close to the Italian border.

Already all the apartments in Alpe d’Huez have been sold off-plan and construction work on the r�sidence is on schedule for completion by the start of the ski season later this year. The news has been welcomed by early off-plan buyers like Lincolnshire couple Mandi Plummer, a management consultant, and her solicitor husband Alan (see below).

Meanwhile, all but a handful of the 90 apartments in the first phase of Le Chalet de Flambeau also have been sold.

The prices of those still available range from €210,000 for a one-bedroom apartment with a floor area of 40 square metres to €380,000 for a three-bedroom duplex of 90 square metres. Prices exclude French VAT at 19.6% which is waived under the leaseback scheme.

Richard is confident that all of the apartments will have been sold by the time phase one is completed in December, particularly as buyers at Le Chalet de Flambeau are among the first to benefit from a new range of leaseback options launched by MGM.

The strength of demand has prompted MGM to bring forward for the launch of the next phase of the development which, when complete, will comprise what is, in effect, a brand new street of eight detached chalets together containing a total of 197 apartments. They are located close to the ski lift, giving access to around 125 km of pistes.

Facilities for use by residents at Le Chalet de Flambeau include an indoor pool with a glazed roof, and an additional children’s pool, a fitness suite, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and steam rooms, as well as one of MGM’s first own-brand �desCimes spas offering a variety of beauty, massage and other treatments.

The ground floor of the chalet closest to the ski lift will be occupied by the ski school office, the ski pass office and a cr�che. On an adjacent site are 10 new shops, including a supermarket, tea room and sports equipment shop. Also nearby is the meeting point for skiers taking lessons during the school holidays.

Val Cenis is 90 minutes by road from Chambery Airport. Grenoble Airport is a two-hour drive and Geneva Airport is two and a quarter hours by road.

Commenting on MGM’s decision to extend its activities into the Haute-Maurienne, Richard said this week: “We have been keen to do so for a while and investigated a number of locations for development before selecting Val Cenis. We are building on a flat open site of 2.32 hectares (5.7 acres) in a sunny location with panoramic mountain views between the old-established villages of Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard.

“For MGM, the development of Le Chalet de Flambeau marks the start of our expansion into a new region of the French Alps, providing the company with the opportunity to offer a new generation of high-quality ski properties in the biggest ski resort in the Haute-Maurienne.”

Tel: 0207 4940706

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Case study

Early off-plan buyers in Alpe d’Huez were Lincolnshire couple Mandi Plummer, who is a management consultant, and her solicitor husband Alan.

In previous years, the couple, whose home is in Stamford, enjoyed many holidays in Alpe d’Huez, sometimes taking Alan’s three grown-up children with them. Says Mandi: “Alan, Will, Tommy and Elle are awesome skiers and the resort has something challenging for everyone.”

Although the Plummers had been looking for a place of their own in the resort, the only suitable properties available to buy were in the old town, away from the ski slopes.

In January last year Mandi was walking through the newer part of the town, noticed that a site had been cleared for construction work just 100 metres from the ski lift, and made a note of MGM’s London office telephone number from the site board.

“We were so keen to buy a four-bedroom family apartment in this location that our meeting in MGM’s London sales office was little more than a formality,“ recalls Mandi, who says they made their decision to buy there and then.

The Plummers purchased their property at a cost of €500,000 but only had to pay €350,000 because they were able to take advantage of a discount of €150,000 in respect of the VAT which is waived under the leaseback system and a rental credit’ rather than a rental income.

“This has already proved to be a good investment for the Plummers,” says MGM’s Richard Deans who reports that, in the period since they bought their apartment, demand has pushed property values up by 10%.

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