It’s a family affair
Families snapping up MGM apartments in lesser-known French Alpine locations
Skiing families have endorsed the decision by French developer MGM to build accommodation in lesser-known Alpine locations by snapping up new apartments off-plan.
Less than two years after announcing plans to build them, MGM already has sold all but a handful of the 90 apartments nearing completion in its new r�sidence de tourisme in Val Cenis in the Haute-Maurienne – a new area of the French Alps for MGM – and all of those in the Central Alps village of Alpe d’Huez where the opportunities to develop new buildings are rare. Similar high demand is expected in Valmorel, a ski resort within the Grand Domaine area currently little-known to Britons, where MGM is building 86 new apartments.
Richard Deans, sales consultant in the company’s London office says: “Some may feel that we are going off piste’ by developing in lesser-known locations like these, but we are continuing to build in high-profile ski resorts like Tignes and Chamonix as well as popular Haute-Savoie villages such as Samo�ns and Les Carroz. Nevertheless, our developments in lesser-known locations continue to attract strong interest.”
They include the village ski resort of Montgen�vre in the southern Alps, close to the Italian border, where MGM’s first leaseback development in the village – Le Chalet des Dolines comprising 54 leaseback ski-in, ski-out apartments – opened for business almost two years ago.
This month, MGM starts work on a second r�sidence in the village where, in recent years, the local authority has invested around €80 million in:
� a 0.35 km road tunnel so that traffic no longer passes through the village en route;
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� improvements to the front de neige – the area where the ski lifts start and the slopes end – as well as the layout and maintenance of the ski slopes;
� new slopes, lifts and high-tech snow cannon, boosting the appeal of the 400km of pistes in the so-called Via Lattea or Milky Way network.
A further €20 million is being invested in a new lift which will whisk skiers to new slopes planned at a snow-sure altitude of more than 3,000 metres.
Among other new developments underway in Montgen�vre, and on schedule for opening in the summer of 2013 is Durancia, a new leisure complex that will include a cinema, cr�che, bowling alley and aquatic centre.
MGM’s new r�sidence, Le Napoleon, takes its name from the chalet hotel that stood on the site opposite the front de neige. Demolition of the hotel has just been completed and work is getting underway on construction of the r�sidence.
The 50 two-, three- and four-bed apartments at Le Napoleon, many of which will enjoy panoramic views of the mountains and slopes, are being sold off-plan by MGM, which says they will be ready for occupation in December next year. They are expected to attract families seeking a year-round holiday home that is handy both for the ski slopes and the Mediterranean coast, three hours away by car.
Four-star facilities within the new r�sidence will include an indoor pool, fitness suite, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and steam rooms, as well as a beauty centre with a variety of massages and treatments on offer.
The r�sidence will be run by the MGM Group’s dedicated specialist company, La Compagnie de Gestion Hoteliere (CGH), which handles maintenance, letting and management for owners.
All of MGM’s new homes in Montgen�vre will have pine internal finishes with tiled and parquet floors. In keeping with MGM’s policy of using local natural materials wherever possible, the buildings will be clad externally in timber and stone.
Each home comes with cellar storage, a ski locker and underground parking.
Off-plan prices at Le Napoleon start at €271,000 for a one-bed apartment of 38.5 sq m rising to €560,000 for a four-bedroom duplex with a floor area of 82 sq m. These prices exclude French VAT at 19.6%, which is waived under the leaseback scheme.
Montgen�vre’s southern position in the French Alps means that it is generally sunnier and warmer than ski resorts further north. At 1,860 metres altitude, snow is virtually guaranteed during the season. The pistes usually open as early as November for weekend skiing.
Winter attractions include night skiing and the Monty Express, a 1,400 metre descent by toboggan through forests, over wooden bridges and through tunnels during both the winter and summer seasons. Trekking, biking and golfing are among other activities in the summer when the front de neige converts into an18-hole golf course. Within easy reach are fortress towns like Briancon and picturesque mountain villages.
The easiest routes to Montgen�vre from the UK are via Italy. The nearest airport is Turin, 75 minutes away by road. Eurostar travellers from London can change trains in Paris to take the three-hour TGV journey to Oulx in Italy, just 20 minutes by road from Montgen�vre. Alternatively the airports at Grenoble and Chamb�ry are a two-and-a-half hour drive.
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