Instead of concrete real estate, the French aristocrat Louis-Albert de Broglie wants to develop in Comporta organic farming, eco-hotels, art spaces, conferences, recycling and education.
Text by Conceição Antunes
“We cannot repeat mistakes, it is urgent to remake Comporta with a project that serves the territory and the population”, he said.
He walks barefoot on the property with the ease of those who are familiar with the land. The French aristocrat Louis-Albert de Broglie has been going to Comporta for 25 years and has a house where he makes a permaculture of tomatoes and other species in unlikely sandy terrains. Recently, it has advanced a proposal to purchase the vast property of the Espírito Santo family that is in the process of selling. He’s goal is “to develop a project for the people of Comporta, the people of the villages, to give economy to the territory and work to the people who live here”, guarantees.
“It is urgent to remake Comporta with a project in the service of the territory and the population,” says the French prince – who is the son of the Duke de Broglie, who was the minister of Charles De Gaulle. He remembers that the collapse of the previous owners, the Espírito Santo family, “was an humiliation for the people of the village, there were things that were not paid, people who lost money. After this trauma, we cannot give the population of Comporta the punishment of concrete”.
The house of Louis-Albert de Broglie privileges traditional materials of the region, such as straw
He also points out that it is “a responsibility of Portugal to have a national project to retake Comporta. The whole world will want to come here, see how to make a good project with social, environmental and cultural ambitions, with organic and low carbon farming.”
A fervent advocate of nature and biodiversity, Louis-Albert de Broglie has a project for Comporta of no more than 15% of the tourism-real estate development already approved for ADT2 and ADT3 (the tourist development areas that are in the process of sale, with 365 hectares and 551 hectares, respectively).
He’s project consists in developing in these areas of Comporta seven eco-tourist centers, each of them dedicated to areas such as agroforestry and permaculture, incubation of startups that transform agriculture into healthy food, reconnective medicine, a ‘Blue School’ (alternative teaching of reconnection with nature), conferences (“on exciting themes such as sea or food”), art (with a museum in the form of Noah’s Ark) or recycling (e.g. incorporating old fishing nets in the manufacture of material from Adidas).
The prince’s plan diverges sharply from what was in sight of the previous promoters of Comporta. In the Alcacer do Sal area where the Espírito Santo group planned to create 1553 residences, apartments or hotel rooms, as well as a second golf course, the main focus of the aristocrat is to make 30 quintas with three hectares each, with organic farming and attracting owners “who may be Portuguese or foreigners with money, but share the interest in investing while preserving the uniqueness of the territory.”
“There will be people working in the farms, people who study in research centers, people who transform food, people who come to conferences, people from all over the world will want to come to Comporta to study, work, or stay for a week,” he predicts. “For me, the power of this project is to bring savings to the people of the territory. On one side there are the people of the land, on the other the rich who arrive, and that is the beauty of life and also the principle of permaculture, in which all work together, “says the aristocrat.
This project is called Utopia, but, as the prince emphasizes, “utopia, according to Victor Hugo, is the future of tomorrow”. With a career in banking (at BNP Paribas) and leading a business group around the world (Deyrolle, partner of UNESCO and COP21), Louis-Albert de Broglie ensures that his feet are laid on the ground and that his project to Comporta is “to give money”. Not with “speculative vision,” but creating “positive externalities at various levels, with intelligence and savoir-faire, and benefiting local employment.”
In the project for Comporta, the French prince has as partners the Global Assets Capital and the Bonmont Golf & Country Club, bringing forward dozens of other investors he works with, “who share the same interest for the future and for preserving sustainable territories “.
“It’s not coming and making concrete. If you do not create work, people will leave, leave the countryside and agriculture will disappear, it is desolation. Comporta can not repeat the mistakes of the Algarve, France or Spain, “argues Louis-Albert de Broglie, warning that” if instead of making an example in Comporta a counterexample, with tourist real estate everywhere, it will be a hell”. And it gives the example of the project of Herdade do Pinheirinho, in the county of Grândola, “which is closed, has golf and 300 houses that have never opened and there is no one to buy, there is no trade, agriculture or schools, there is nothing. A total disaster, and in the ecological plane is catastrophic. ”
On the contrary, Comporta represents “an opportunity for Portugal to be ahead in time and to make a project that makes of the place a laboratory and a model for the world”, says Louis-Albert de Broglie, remembering that “today development no longer passes for making big cities with skyscrapers, it does not make sense to do this because it does not bring the economy that the population needs.”
Article published on the Expresso on June 24, 2018