Bye Bye Aubergade
Just in case you have not heard the news, the Aubergade is closed. Finished. No more.
We closed for business and moved out at the end of the winter, but this by the looks of it, is not the end of the story and it is certainly not the beginning. Over the years that it has been going on I have been asked many many times for updates on how the story has evolved. Now our part is essentially finished, here is my version of the tale for anyone who might like to know how it came to an end.
I can’t remember the exact dates, but early summer 5 years ago I heard a rumor that the Auberade had been sold. At this point we had been renting it for 6 years and feel we had started to make the most of the lovely old building and felt that if there has been any such decisions made we would have known about it. However we contacted the owner Stephane about this and he confirmed the rumors were true and he had sold it to Promoteam. If you’ve been to Morzine in the last 5 years you would have noticed the skyline of the village has changed somewhat dramatically. Largely due to a number of new apartment blocks replacing buildings in the village center. All wood clad and sold as luxury apartments, they are built quickly, badly and for profit, not for the benefit of the village. Promoteam is the company largely responsible for these developments and although they are in the right to do what they are doing, it is widely regarded as not a good thing.
Their plan was to knockdown the Aubergade and build a number of apartments in its place. This as I’m sure you could imagine will be rather detrimental to that area as a destination for people to enjoy, as well as further the transition of Morzine into another faceless resort. To give them their dues, the Marie (Town Hall / Mayor and his team) recognized this as the bad decision it is and tried to compulsory purchase the Hotel.
There was a lot of back and forth over the next few years, but as no one ever thought to proactively let us know what was happening, we would every now and then ask Stephane what was happening and are we ok to stay on another year. Occasionally we would approach the agents for clarification as to why things like a planning permission board was stuck on the front of the hotel overnight one day, or to filter through the huge amounts of rumors that would circulate periodically.
The synopsis of the story goes something like this. The Marie tried to compulsory purchase the hotel. Promoteam fought this and won and continued to push for planning permission. A deal was struck between them both that The Marie could buy the Aubergade if Promoteam could build on other sites in the village center. The Marie put forward plans to knockdown the Aubergade, extend the underground parking from next door and just put in a small restaurant to do the catering for the kids club, but otherwise leave the space open and create a front de niege. As much as I think it’s a shame to lose another hotel, this is a far better result than another apartment block.
As said this all took a few years and takes us up to the summer of 2021. We are hopeful that there is an end to Covid and the Marie has got it’s planning sorted so has started the process of applying for the funds, as it would be a publicly funded project. This is when the conversation changed slightly as this process could take 3 years, but it could also be done in only 6 months and as such they could not promise us any notice on when we would have vacate the building, but we would at least be good for the next winter.
Although the desire was there to stay on, as we have grown rather fond of the place, we can’t continue to sell holidays not knowing whether we would be able to honor them when the time came to it, so we let it be known our intentions to stop running the hotel at the end of the following winter season. Which was the end of our time and a great shame, but it seems now not the end of the tale.
I wasn’t aware really of any of the legal situations that were entered into between those involved and pretty much everything I know was told to me by either Stephane or the guys at Morzine Immobilier, the agents. I was very aware that Stephane had not yet received any money for the sale, as he told me quite regularly, but supposedly he had signed it over and no longer had much say in what happened. However the latest seems to be that the Marie were taking to long, so it’s gone full circle back to Promoteam, who are continuing with the plan to build more crappy apartments.
It’s a great shame that it has come to this end, but I guess when money is the sole motivator then this is the sort of progress we will see.
We can now only be grateful for the time we had there and to all the folk who came to visit and enjoy the Aubergade. A lot of great times, great memories and fantastic people.
Thank you everyone and bye bye Auby.