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MAURITIUS DISCOVERY
» 03 Oct 2016
DISCOVERY

PATRICK ARNALDI, HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THIS ECOCITY?
I have been living in Mauritius for the past twenty years. I first started in the computer industry having developed my activities over all the Indian Ocean islands. Five years ago, the previous government announced the expansion of the airport, it was simple to observe that there was a lack of offices, accommodation and hotel deals in the immediate vicinity. I decided to concentrate my efforts on that particular area. I started to buy land near the airport and at the same time started to think about the concept of an ECO CITY, breaking away from the famous smart cities. This label has two major meanings “ECO” for economy, because we have an excellent quality and also “ECO” for ecology that goes in the direction of sustainable development. All our buildings’ electrical needs will be covered by renewable energy sources. All the public areas of our buildings are covered by solar and wind energy. So these are very significant savings in operating buildings, at the expense of the properties, which are owned and rented. The whole becomes an extremely competitive shot. This also brings a huge technological innovation and a great showcase for Mauritius.
WHY A PROJECT OF THIS MAGNITUDE, ONLY TO MAURITIANS AND NOT TO FOREIGNERS?
We find out that for ten years many foreigners associated themselves with Mauritians for IRS, RES and recently PDS projects, to sell to foreigners. We wanted to do the opposite by bringing the best of foreign technology at a very competitive price for the Mauritian middle class people and people with resident status. We will build apartments for less than 2.5 million rupees consisting of 3 bedrooms and a parking space. All our apartments will be according to international standards, with a positive energy supply in the common areas. We will provide a GFA (“Guarantie financiere d’achevement”) that brings 100% completion bank guarantee on all of our projects. Not many people in projects are offering these types of projects at such a price in Mauritius right now.
REGARDING THE HOTEL DEVELOPMENT, WHICH MARKET ARE YOU TARGETING?
We have two products: a business hotel with 100 rooms which is intended primarily for business people in transit. Next to that, a residential four-star hotel that targets the rental of furnished rooms for medium and long periods for foreign people working in Mauritius. And for the business park, what are the target companies? Airlines, import-export companies, IT services companies, accounting or financial services are the first concerned. We have already recorded some reservations.
IS THE CURRENT SITUATION IN MAURITIUS FAVORABLE FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT?
There are certainly a lot of developments in progress and the government gives great impetus to boost confidence among investors. Everything now depends on what you want to do. If it is to buy a villa or IRS RES to dwell, that’s interesting. By cons, if it is for a rental investment, it is more complicated because
there are very important offers. One should be very careful. That’s why we did not want to get into a particular pattern. That said, the future remains very promising, the island is beautiful, the lifestyle is improving on a daily basis. A huge part of the land has gentle slopes with picturesque sea view. This is a real advantage.
LET’S RETURN ON THE ENERGY PART OF THE PROJECT. YOU RELY ON THE SUN AND WIND. WHAT HAPPENS THERE WHEN THEY WILL BE DISCREET OVER A VERY LONG PERIOD?
You should know that we will have a central battery system implying a storage system. However, we will also be connected to the Central Electricity Board (CEB) for safety. It should also be noted that our wind turbines, of French manufacturing, are not high and can be folded during cyclones. They are patented to be silent.
AND IN TERMS OF DIRECT JOBS?
100 million euros will be invested for the entire project. This represents about 1000 direct jobs per year over a minimum of five years. It should also be noted that as part of the construction, 10% will be offered to small entrepreneurs. There will be a construction company that will undertake the whole project but in the contract, 10% will be subcontracted to small entrepreneurs. We will have full control over this point to meet the commitment from the government.
WHAT IS THE TIMETABLE FOR THE CONDUCT OF BUSINESS?
We will start the first phase in the last quarter 2016, that is, the offices and 250 apartments will completely be built after 18 months. The hotel and the residence will follow very closely, because we are well advanced in partnership with different groups.

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