SAINT-LAURENT-D’AIGOUZE Like dog and cat in the cooperative cellar

In Saint-Laurent-d’Aigouze, the former cooperative cellar is rented by Kaï Expert (Photo Yannick Pons)

The owner of the former cooperative wine cellar wanted to sell his property to the company Animo Concept, the French leader in canine cleanliness. Like a cat, the mayor of the town Thierry Féline jumped at the chance by buying the lot in order to create an administrative center. The fate of the twelve employees of the Kaï Expert company who currently occupy the premises is uncertain.

The fate of the twelve employees of the Kaï Expert company which currently occupies the premises is uncertain. The owner of the wine cooperative cellar located in the city center of Saint-Laurent-d’Aigouze, Norbert Requier, now retired entrepreneur, wanted to sell his property to the company Animo Concept, whose boss Olivier Rasse is a resident of the town for twenty-seven years. Thierry Féline, the mayor of the town, jumped at the chance to exercise his right of first refusal by buying the lot. It spent 1.78 million euros to build an associative and municipal cultural center as well as free parking open to all. If it seems that the acquisition of the property by the town hall is definitively recorded for 2023, there are still questions, particularly with regard to the company that occupies the building as well as the fate of its twelve employees.

Between dog and wolf

Thierry Féline fought hard, drawing on his experience as a bailiff’s clerk for six months in order to buy out the former wine cooperative by preemption. The mayor of Saint-Laurent-d’Aigouze wishes to move existing association and administrative offices in certain premises (which will be sold) to this new administrative centre. This relocation of centers of interest will bring in money which will enable the municipality to carry out the work inherent in the project around the old cooperative cellar. In the meantime, the municipality will collect the rents of the logistics company established on site, which according to the elected official, will be higher than the annuity of the loan relating to the acquisition.

But the story is not over. The logistics company Kaï Expert, represented by its boss Jean Sébastien Dedieu, who currently occupies the premises, still enjoys a nine-year lease which is still only in its second year, according to Norbert Requier. The acquisition of the real estate complex, which represents 5,000 m2 of buildings on one and a half hectares of land in the city center, would have been recorded, according to Thierry Féline, for the summer of 2023.

For Animo Concept, it’s back to the niche

The current owner Norbert Requier had bought the site with his own logistics company, La Saladelle, which had as customers at the time the companies Barcardi-Martini and Pernod-Ricard, for which he stored and delivered on the southern quarter of the France. The site was then rented to Kaï Expert, also a logistics company, whose warehouse had just burned down. Norbert Requier says he almost sold in 2015 to a promoter who wanted to build a retirement home. Already Thierry Féline had done “Storm the case by not signing the building permit in time”explains the retiree.

Today, Olivier Rasse, president of Animo Concept, is KaÏ Expert’s main client, which is why he wanted to buy the site. But he has the impression that Thierry Féline played cat and mouse with him. “ Successive mayors have all promised us a craft zone and nothing has ever happened. I have been a citizen of the city for 27 years and I have never been able to set up my company here, he explains. While his company is based in Marsillargues. Thierry Féline called me on the phone to tell me that the site was for sale. So I wanted to buy it but he exercised his right of first refusal just before. Then on the phone, he said thank you. I served him as a hare”he adds.

“What will become of them? »

The entrepreneur, who wanted to continue his activities in Saint-Laurent-d’Aigouze, made up his mind but remains worried about the employees of the company in place in the cooperative cellar. According to him, the town hall is already paying loan annuities when it is not yet the owner and the eviction of the company Kaï Expert by the municipality would cost 1.5 million euros to Saint-Laurent residents. “This story cost me €80,000, I was deceived. But this case is not over yet, I filed a complaint. I am worried as a citizen of the commune and I am thinking of the boss of Kaï Expert and his employees, what will become of them?, he says. Thierry Féline has succeeded in buying the site, but a solution will now have to be found for the staff currently working there.

Yannick Pons

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