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Luxury hotel conversion 'teeters near bankruptcy'

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Photo: RTS
09:51 CET+01:00
A longstanding project to transform a belle epoque hotel overlooking Lake Geneva into luxury apartments for wealthy clients such as NBA basketball star Tony Parker has been halted amid financial difficulties.

Renovations of the Hôtel du Parc at Mont Pèlerin, above Vevey in the canton of Vaud, have stopped after 15 contractors sought legal action for non-payment of bills totalling 2.5 million francs, broadcaster RTS reported at the weekend.

A Geneva company called Swiss Development Group (SDG) acquired the large, 113-year-old hotel, with its sweeping views over the lake and the Alps, in 2008.

It announced plans to convert the building into 22 apartments ranging in price from four million to 23 million francs ($3.94 million to $22.6 million), including what was billed as the “largest penthouse on the Swiss market”.

Parker, the French basketball star, “fell in love with the place” in 2010 when he signed a contract to move into the building that was scheduled to be finished in 2012.

The building was marketed as Du Park Residences with a “prime location on the Riviera” and staffing from the Kempinski hotel chain, offering the “ultimate in luxury living”.

But the renovations were never finished and neither Parker nor any other purchaser has moved into the building, which has been abandoned amid the “fiasco”, RTS said in its report.

The broadcaster attempted to contact the project’s Geneva promoter without success.

SDG counted among its shareholders Ilyas Khrapunov, the son of a former cabinet minister in Kazakhstan Viktor Khrapunov, targeted since 2011 by an investigation into money laundering, RTS said.

The company was subsequently taken over by an unidentified Geneva financier, who did not respond to inquiries about the project, according to the report.

SDG issued a statement to RTS saying that the company met on January 21st to confirm a bankruptcy reprieve that will make completion of renovations possible.

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It is is not clear whether this arrangement involved any fresh injection of financing.

Find out more about the luxury project through the promotional video below:

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