Pamiers: the city abandons the idea of ​​​​a new cinema at Castella

the essential
Eight million euros of investment: the project to set up a cinema in the former bishopric “is no longer on the agenda” for the municipality of Frédérique Thiennot: “It’s much too expensive” , says the mayor. The creation file for a new cinema is now on stand-by.

On this image (Google maps), we clearly distinguish the former bishopric, unoccupied for ten years.

At the request of the municipality, two studies have been carried out simultaneously in recent months: the first to find out the potential for spectators offered by the Appamean catchment area, the second to estimate the cost of creating a cinema on the site of the former bishopric. The results of the first study are known, and rather encouraging: “This potential is estimated at 80,000 to 120,000 spectators”, underlines the mayor of Pamiers, Frédérique Thiennot, while the Rex, in good years, flirts with 60,000 entries.
On the other hand, for the estimate of the cost of the site, it is the cold shower. The bill sounded the death knell for an installation on the site of the former bishopric.

8 million euros of investment

“It would be 8 million euros, and even within the framework of a public-private partnership, and counting the subsidies to which we could be entitled, we do not have them. In such an uncertain period, with the rising costs that await us, and when investments have to be made, a cinema is not a priority, ”comments the mayor of Pamiers. And to add, excluding this other option which immediately comes to mind “An extension of the Rex would not be another possibility. The places pose accessibility problems, and there is a street that passes behind the rooms. The cinema file is therefore on stand-by ”.

The former bishop's palace overlooks the Place du Mercadal.

The former bishop’s palace overlooks the Place du Mercadal.

On the Rex side, Serge Mascagni, one of the three co-managers, finally seems reassured by the pragmatism of the municipality (see opposite). said it well”. Xavier Malbreil (Pamiers Citizen) reminds us: “In the municipal council, we opposed the launch of an expensive study to study the feasibility of this project on a site that did not belong to the municipality, notes the chosen one. It seemed obvious to us that such a project was not suited to the site, especially since the Bishopric did not want to sell off the sale”. Xavier Malbreil believes that the cinema file is now “less burning”: “Le Rex has changed a lot since it was taken over by new managers, he believes. There are still comfort concerns, but the programming has evolved. We are no longer satisfied with American got boosters. I was able to see there very recently the last Palme d’Or of the Cannes festival, “Sans Filtre” by Rubel Ostlund, awarded at the Cannes festival. What is still missing, in my opinion, is a film club, for more “Arts and Essay” programming”.

“Costly studies for nothing”

For her part, Anne Lebeau, elected opposition member (Union pour Pamiers), is not surprised by this news: “When we know that […] the cost of construction is 1,500 euros per chair, there was no need to ask a consulting firm to work on the subject. The result was obvious”. And to add: “More costly studies for nothing! The municipal majority, with the choice of this site, added to this already high amount of the project, acquisition costs (former bishopric), demolition and construction in the ABF perimeter, the requirements of which generate an additional cost of at least 30% compared to a classic cinema project in a commercial area”. The elected official notes this: “The majority did not want to listen to our advice”, but is delighted that the former bishopric is not slated for demolition, as the old hospital could be: “Madam Mayor who dreams of razing all the buildings of Pamiers must review its copy and that’s good! “Concludes the chosen one, vitriol.

The former bishopric is still looking for a buyer

It is an imposing U-shaped building, consisting of a mansion dating from the 18th century, surrounded by a huge garden in successive terraces, over 6,000 square meters, in the heart of the city. The place does not lack charm and cachet, but it is still looking for a buyer, despite the combined efforts of the real estate agencies to which the property has been entrusted. An exceptional property.

First estimated at €1m

“We estimated it at €1 million,” recalls Serge Billot, vicar general of the diocese of Pamiers, a structure which owns the premises. The mansion, enlarged at the beginning of the 20th century, had been acquired by three priests in 1914 to make it available to the Bishop of Pamiers, who would install the diocese there. In 2013, the latter moved to the Maison des Oeuvres, rue des Jacobins. We then sought to give the places a new destination, continues Serge Billot. Several leads were followed: boarding house for example. But nothing could come to fruition. It is true that we are not professionals”.

It will not be “sold off”

The former bishopric will therefore be put up for sale in 2020. During these two years, it will have attracted several investors, in particular to create housing… And even hotels. But without success. The proposals were not acted upon. Very recently, the price of the property was reduced to €800,000, a far cry from the €360,000 estimated by Les Domaines. Or the €300,000 offered by the city.
If possible, a project with “a social dimension”
But, if the price has been lowered, the bishopric does not intend to sell off this important real estate acquisition. “It is a real estate complex that has value, because of its location, in the heart of the city”, points out Serge Billot who concludes: “We are open to all the proposals that will be made to us. But, of course, we would have a preference for a file that would have a social dimension”.

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Pamiers: the city abandons the idea of ​​​​a new cinema at Castella