Perpignan: the future of the rue de la Cloche d’Or gourmet artery project in danger: “I still give myself 30 days to find a solution”, announces the entrepreneur

After having acquired numerous businesses in the rue de la Cloche d’or to develop a vast culinary concept in the heart of the city of Perpignan, Abi-Nader Chukri’s project has taken off. After numerous works undertaken, the town hall has in fact issued danger orders in the four buildings concerned. A situation that strongly impacts the future of the project.

On paper, the project was enough to make you salivate. One year to the day after the announcement of the creation of a gourmet artery on rue de la Cloche d’Or, accompanied by the acquisition of 11 premises and businesses by the entrepreneur Abi-Nader Chukri, the project is today stalled despite the start of major works. Worse, it is even seriously compromised when the town hall took the decision to jeopardize four buildings which were to house 70% of the project (the billiard school, the dance and conviviality areas, the main kitchen and other shops in stuffy…).

After the start of large-scale works (electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, etc.) started in a business by the initiator of the project, the roof of the staircase of the building at n°24 was completely first collapsed in June, leading design offices to intervene and detect structural failures on the four buildings located on the even side of rue de la Cloche d’Or (at numbers 18, 20, 22 and 24).

Security works that are the responsibility of the current owners. “We made quotes. For number 18, there is work for 190,000 euros. For the other buildings, it is around 250 and 300,000 euros”says Abi-Nader Chukri, who also owns Mess and Espi downtown. “Even if the town hall can replace the owners to carry out the most urgent work, it will be a tinkering. She will not have the hand to do all the structural work afterwards. If the owners are in default, that will not be enough to be able to open the business when we have already started a lot of work”, continues the entrepreneur of Palestinian origin and with Lebanese ties.

I’m watching my investment collapse

Discussions have more or less been initiated with the various private owners, some of whom are elderly or lack financial means, while others have still not come forward. “Whether they want to carry out the work or sell their building, it will take at least 12 months in the best case. These are heavy works, we are talking about the installation of tie rods to support buildings. If I had known that I was going to come across this type of surprise, I would never have invested so much money.” A situation that impacts the project as a whole, when the latter was already to see the light of day last December.

“This gourmet artery is a global project. Either I open the 11 shops, or I don’t open any, because the project includes a central kitchen. Today, I give myself another 30 days to find a solution, in which case I leave the project and I put all my premises up for sale to the highest bidder. There are certainly real estate investors who will be interested in renting.”

Because Abi-Nader Chukri affirms it, he is not interested in buying these buildings, even more in the current state in which they are. “My job is a merchant and not a merchant of goods. When you buy a building, it is to exploit it commercially and not to sell it behind. I’ve been waiting for a year already, I’m paying rents in full, it’s becoming untenable. Instead of generating turnover, I’m witnessing the collapse of my investment.”

A project which could however find an unexpected outcome on the side of the town hall, since the stated objective of revitalizing the rue des Augustins. “It is not excluded that the town hall can propose solutions within the framework of public actions of the heart of the city program, while the rue de la Cloche d’or is essential to irrigate the rue des Augustins. To speed things up, one could imagine a substitution, even temporary, of the public authorities over the private sector to rehabilitate these buildings and bring the city center back to life. At that point then, we could resume the project.”

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