INFO THE DEPECHE. Val Tolosa: the developer Unibail assigns the State and the communities and claims 187 M€

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The promoter of the Val Tolosa shopping center project located in Plaisance-du-Touch considers himself aggrieved by errors made by public actors and has decided to sue them before administrative justice.

This is yet another twist in this nineteen-year-old case. The French group Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, promoter of the Val Tolosa shopping center project which was to settle in Plaisance-du-Touch (and now unfeasible), has just assigned the communities and the State to the Toulouse administrative court. The world leader in shopping centers has decided to sue the town hall of Plaisance-du-Touch, the community of communes Grand Ouest Toulousain, the Departmental Council of Haute-Garonne, the mixed union Smeat and the State represented by the Prefect of Haute-Garonne.

The mayor of Plaisance: “A feeling of betrayal”

The group, owner of the 40 hectares of the site, which has had to face a multitude of appeals against its building permits or against the orders for derogation from biodiversity, blames the communities and the State for having created this legal uncertainty. “We were very surprised by this appeal against the town hall of Plaisance-du-Touch because our municipality has been an unwavering partner in the project from the start. I feel a very strong feeling of betrayal,” reacted Philippe Guyot, the mayor of Plaisance-du-Touch. The elected official, like all the other parties sued by Unibail, did receive a request for “amicable” compensation at the end of December 2021. But by rejecting it, the town hall triggered the litigation procedure before the administrative court.

A stalled project

Contacted, the developer via its subsidiary carrying the project (PCE) confirmed the information: “PCE confirms that it has taken action against the public authorities to obtain compensation following the impossibility of carrying out the development of the ZAC des Portes de Gascogne and the Val Tolosa project, even though they were initiated by the local authorities”. Unibail criticizes in particular the risky drafting of the local urban plan (PLU) but also of the territorial coherence scheme (Scot) which served as the legal basis for the cancellation of the building permit which it held. And to regret that today “the site is in an inextricable administrative situation due to various shortcomings committed by the public authorities”. The project has indeed been stopped since July 2019 when the Council of State ruled that Val Tolosa could not demonstrate an imperative reason of major public interest allowing it to derogate from the protection of protected species which were threatened by the construction of the shopping center.

The prefecture did not wish to comment on the current procedure and the Departmental Council rejects the very idea of ​​having been able to commit any breach. “Faced with the failure of their project, the promoter is now trying to challenge the public partners. We are already engaged in defence,” we confide to the department. The battle has only begun.

Compensation: €187 million claimed

Unibail “intends to be compensated for this project which now appears to be irreparably compromised” reacted the promoter. And the compensation is commensurate with the challenges: €187 million, including €95 million in losses suffered, plus €92 million in lost earnings. “The amount is pharaonic when you know that the annual budget of Plaisance-du-Touch is 20 M€” is alarmed the mayor of the town. According to experts, the administrative procedure will go to the Council of State and will last “for years”.


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