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Euro Disney, Pierre & Vacances Introduce Villages Nature

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PARIS—Euro Disney S.C.A. Group (“Euro Disney”) and Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs (“Pierre & Vacances”) recently unveiled their new concept of a vacation destination based on the search for harmony between man and nature. The destination would be, in its design and in its operations, a unique model of sustainable development for tourism and be called Les Villages Nature de Val d’Europe (Villages Nature). As a mixed-use resort, Villages Nature will work with visionary landscape architects to develop new lodging and leisure experiences that will provide multiple opportunities for visitors to interact with nature. These activities would be centered on gardening, boating, hiking, horseback riding, visiting an organic farm, walking along discovery paths, and enjoying seasonal festivals and culinary events. The entire resort will be developed around its iconic 3,500-square-meter geothermal lagoon, and the adjacent water park which will be the largest in Europe.

The Villages Nature site is located 6 kilometers south of Disneyland Paris, north of the Brie Forest, in Seineet-Marne. This project, which could span up to 500 hectares and be developed over a 20-year timeframe, will be launched depending on market conditions. The first phase would be comprised of 175 hectares and could open in 2015.

Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances have studied the Villages Nature project together. Villages Nature is a resort concept designed to appeal to European consumers, offering them a unique experience based on connecting with nature. As a short and medium-break vacation destination, Villages Nature will provide a relaxing and immersive experience in the heart of nature—with 90 percent of the resort retained as green space. The destination will offer a number of recreational and learning activities that will inspire future generations to value conservation.

For this project, the partners have created a 50/50 joint venture, with companies’ respective CEOs, Gérard Brémond and Philippe Gas, acting as co-chairmen of the managing entity, and Dominique Cocquet as general manager.

Inspired by One Planet Living

To develop a Sustainable Action Plan and position Villages Nature as a reference of eco-tourism in Europe, the partners have been inspired by the “One Planet Living” methodology developed by BioRegional and WWF International. The Sustainable Action Plan relies on the following 10 key, measurable targets aimed at reducing as much as possible the destination’s ecological footprint, ensuring social responsibility, and developing synergies with the local communities: zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable transportation; local and sustainable materials; local and sustainable food products; sustainable water; natural habitats and wildlife; culture and heritage; local partnerships and fair trade; and quality of life and well-being.

The destination’s overall heating needs will be provided by a deep geothermal source. Emanating from 1,800 meters under the project site, the 78 degrees Celsius water will be used for heating before it is recycled back into the water table, producing no greenhouse gas emissions.

The first phase of Villages Nature would include the construction of 1,730 apartments or cottages, and measure between 32 square meters and 85 square meters, located within three villages: two villages around the lake and one village in the forest. Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities are also planned, for a total 70,000-square-meter area.

Units Managed by Villages Nature

Based on the 40-year proven real estate development model of Pierre & Vacances, the apartments and cottages would be sold to individual investors as tourism residences while facilities would be sold to institutional investors. The housing units and facilities will be leased and managed by the Villages Nature operating company.

During various study phases of the project there has been an active dialogue with local stakeholders. Public officials from the local area presented their concerns, and many of their expectations have been considered in the project scope. Both the Seine-et-Marne General Council and the Ile-de-France Regional Council have voted their support to the project. In the months and years ahead, additional information will be shared and active dialogue will continue with surrounding communities to ensure the project remains well integrated into the community.

Villages Nature will aim to be a strong economic and social contributor to the region. When completed and fully operational, the first phase is expected to generate approximately $9.4 million in local taxes per year, and create 4,500 jobs, 1,600 of which will be direct.

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