Libourne: several hundred million euros for the future wine tourism hub

01/14/2021 | Michel Ohayon and Philippe Buisson unveiled on Wednesday the first outlines of the rehabilitation project of the former Libourne gendarmerie school (ESOG).

We now know a little more about the rehabilitation project of the former school for non-commissioned officers of the Libourne Gendarmerie (ESOG). Mayor Philippe Buisson and the project leader, Michel Ohayon, founder of Financière Immobilière Bordelaise (FIB) unveiled on Wednesday the first intentions and ambitions of the future wine tourism hub. The project is in the study phase, before a first groundbreaking expected at the end of 2022.

A titanic project that will irrigate the entire region. Here’s how to roughly summarize the wine tourism hub project in the Libourne barracks. “The territory is mature enough for this type of investment, ambitious economically and tourism. This project is not a ghost, it will magnify the Libournais and the region while respecting the original setting that are the barracks, ”reassures Philippe Buisson. As a reminder, the school for non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie (Esog) closed in 2009, before being bought by the City and the agglomeration in 2013. A hotel complex project was presented by Financière Vauban in 2016 , before being discontinued in 2019.

The wine tourism hub project is led by Michel Ohayon, a successful Bordeaux entrepreneur, owner of the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux, the Château Triannon in Saint-Émilion and recent buyer of Camaïeu, among others. The businessman was won over by the Casernes site. “I am fascinated by the land: 7 hectares in the heart of the city, an almost Versailles architecture, it’s impressive. We are going to be able to restore wine tourism to its former glory ”. Beyond the site of the Esog itself, Michel Ohayon relies on tourist infrastructures already present in Libourne: the river, the station, the motorway and an “incredible wine heritage”. For the founder of Financière Immobilière Bordelaise, the idea is to make Libourne a staple of the South West wine route.

6 to 8 million tourists expected each year
For the Esog rehabilitation project, Michel Ohayon is accompanied by architect Michel Pétuand Létang, president of Agence 4A in Mérignac. The two men propose to keep the barracks as they are and to add modern buildings to them, combining plants and minerals. To give Libournais more room in the world wine scene, Michel Ohayon wants to create an original tool. “The idea would be to build the first wine shopping center in the world, where more than 150 producers would come to present their products, as if you were in a cellar”, explains the entrepreneur. The rest of the wine tourism center would include two 25,000 square meter spaces, one of which is dedicated to food and wine trades, an indoor leisure park, a museum combining classic cars and contemporary art from the 1930s to 1970s.

The site will also host a luxury hotel. “Building a five-star hotel in the wine tourism hub will create needs in the area of ​​hotel offers and therefore benefit the rest of the region. With a project of this scope, we expect 6 to 8 million tourists each year, ”says Michel Ohayon. The latter did not quantify precisely the investment that the project would represent, but estimated it at “several hundred million euros”.
The City of Libourne intends to involve its fellow citizens in the reflection around the project. “I do not want this to be a showcase inaccessible to Libournais,” says Philippe Buisson. The project is currently in the study phase and was presented to the city council on January 13. The start of work is hoped for at the end of 2022 or even early 2023.

Yoan Denéchau
By Yoan Denéchau

Photo Credit: YD

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