Essonne: the sinking of the Réaux residence in Soisy-sur-Ecole

Of the 256 residences in the Domaine des Réaux, located in Soisy-sur-Ecole, only about twenty are today occupied by legitimate owners or tenants. The latter no longer have access to electricity and gas. The complex, consisting of five buildings nestled in an 18-hectare park, some of which have been squatted, now looks desolate. Far from the allure of the luxury spruce house for seniors, built in 1972 near the Château des Réaux.

“Come and experience the castle life” mentioned in particular the promoters in a brochure addressed to potential buyers, generally retirees. The residence, with indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, billiards and bridge rooms in the castle, counted up to 112 employees (including nurses and a hairdresser) during the prosperous period. Half a century later, the estate is no longer maintained at all, the castle is closed. And only a guard watches over the floating liner.

poisoned map

The condominium, in cessation of payments, has accumulated 14 years of late payment of charges. The deficit is over 17 million euros! Since 2010 she has been supervised by a bailiff. How did we get to this? The spiral of decline started in the 1980s after the death of some of the first inhabitants. Many heirs of these first owners did not know what to do with these priceless homes. “These homes were initially successful, but then went out of fashion,” says René Bresson, architect, expert in neglected apartment buildings. The latter fulfills a task of coordinator entrusted by the prefect of the file and helps the town hall in looking for a solution.

The procedure will be long, you may have to consider legal remedies.

René Bresson architect, expert in degraded apartment buildings.

In the 2000s, several real estate dealers bought dozens of apartments for dirt cheap prices, hoping to get them all back. But the tenants are not there; the promoters forget the burdens… speed up the difficulties of co-ownership.

The file has already poisoned relations within the Soisy city council for some time, the elected officials are resisting the foreseeable remedy. The takeover project by a social landlord of the estate to create housing will even lead to a part of the city council resigning in 2021.

New elections are being organised; a new team led by the current mayor, Laure Cadot, takes over the case. “I wrote to the twenty mayors of the surrounding municipalities, warned the president of the region and the department and the prefect. The current situation cannot last any longer,” the elected official warns. Because in addition to the future of the property, there is an urgent issue of the rehousing of elderly residents who endanger themselves by staying in the condominium. “I myself took an elderly lady in my car to place her in a retirement home,” reports Laure Cadot.

The condominium, in cessation of payments, has accumulated 14 years of late payment of charges.DR

Faced with the urgency of the situation, the Essonne departmental council decided to “go beyond its usual interventions” by examining the possibilities of social housing for ten elderly people. One resident has already been able to enter a national shelter, another has been accommodated by an association landlord. The municipality is looking for rehousing solutions for other people. The prefecture of Essonne also claims to be mobilizing strongly.

Go through the justice box

There remains the future of the domain, a subject that raises many legal complexities. After all, in order to intervene, the government is obliged to go through the justice box. Only a judge can establish a state of deficiency, a necessary condition for permitting expropriation. The proceedings were initiated in Evry Court with the delivery of an expert report outlining the issue. In a favorable court decision, the Prefect of Essonne could make a declaration of public utility to expropriate.

“The procedure takes a long time, you may have to consider legal remedies,” René Bresson is concerned. Especially since the expropriation decision must be based on an alternative project. The National Home Improvement Agency, Anah, is preparing to fund engineering studies on the subject. But getting funding means that the future project will include a part of the social housing… yet to be determined.

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