Before mortgaging the Hôtel de la Marine, restore it to mint condition !

local/cache-vignettes/L290xH171/Hotel_Louer-3-db0cf-1e260.jpg3/2/10 – Heritage – Paris, Hôtel de la Marine – The ongoing serial of the Hôtel de la Marine’s future provides new episodes regularly, each one a bit more surrealist than the last. While higher-ups are pondering ways in which to better facilitate matters for potential customers (see article of 24/10/09), a document issued by the cabinet at the Ministry of Defense points out some practices which seem, to say the least, a bit odd.
The text suggests studying an idea put forward “by the legal advisor of one of the applicants who wishes to take over the Hôtel de la Marine” and who offers a “new proposal consisting in extending the scope of the construction lease” [1].

There is considerable cause for scandal when the ministry considers that a law can be changed to suit an individual, based on a proposal emanating from the individual himself and not initiated by a government office. The idea itself is totally surrealistic and the mere fact that it would be seriously considered by the Ministry of Defense proves once again that questions of conservation and enhancement of this historical monument are relegated to one side.
What exactly does this proposal entail ?
In order to be signed, the construction lease, a solution which would allow [the acquirer] “a real property right according him practically the same powers as actual property rights with the ability notably to present it as collateral to obtain financing for construction and refurbishing of the site”, that is mortgaging it, requires “the acquirer to promise the construction of structures on the lessor’s land […]”, something which is obviously impossible on this site. To avoid this obstacle, the only thing that is needed, as suggested by the potential acquirer, is changing one of the laws of the Code de la construction et de l’habitation by adding the following words “or to undertake works on the existing structures on the lessor’s land which would restore them to new condition as defined in the provisions of article 257 7° c) of the Code général des impôts […] [the French tax code]”.

We wonder, as will no doubt the Ministry of Culture, what the term “restore to new condition” means as applied to the Hôtel de la Marine, a building which is entirely listed as a Monument Historique [2].

Didier Rykner, mercredi 3 février 2010


[1] The only potential acquirer to have stepped forward so far is Alexandre Allard, on the advice of the former Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

[2] We addressed some questions to the Ministry of Defense about this matter but it was not able to answer on short delay. We will of course publish any response if and when it is supplied.

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