While Charlevoix is attracting more and more interest from foreign vacationers with the arrival of Club Med, an Italian-American billionaire has just paid more than $1 million to acquire a superb piece of land in the region.
John Elkann, great-grandson of Giovanni Agnelli, one of the founders of Italian automaker Fiat, acquired the nearly 800,000 m2 (8.6 million square feet) property in mid-December.
The land is located in the Port-aux-Quilles sector, in the municipality of Saint-Siméon, halfway between La Malbaie and Baie-Sainte-Catherine. It overlooks the St. Lawrence River and goes to Route 138.
Mr. Elkann paid $1.15 million for it, which is $150,000 less than the $1.3 million asking price by the saleswoman, Lynda Leclerc. The property had been for sale for almost a year.
The land neighbors a series of lots that John Elkann purchased in 2010 for $1.3 million.
More than a kilometer of shoreline
The businessman, who holds dual Italian and American citizenship, therefore now owns plots totaling more than 2.7 million square meters (29.3 million square feet) that the St. more than a kilometer. There is also a small lake, but no buildings.
The municipality of Saint-Siméon assigns a value of just $360,000 to the entire estate. Last year, municipal taxes amounted to just over $3,300.
The mayor of Saint-Siméon, Sylvain Tremblay, was not aware of the transaction when Le Journal contacted him yesterday. He hopes that John Elkann does not intend to develop the territory excessively.
"We want to ensure that we have sustainable development that does not scrape our territorial reality, which is exceptional," said Mr. Tremblay.
"We want to keep our territory interesting and not get stuck with a multitude of residences at $800,000 like at Le Massif when there is no one in the village," he added.
National park project
For several years, the government has been studying the possibility of establishing a national park in the vicinity. In 2014, public lands in the area were protected for four years.
"It's the most beautiful place in Charlevoix," said Mayor Tremblay.
He pointed out that in the region, several prime lots have been sold to wealthy buyers in recent years.
"These are places that become non-public," said Sylvain Tremblay. Pay attention to access to the river. »
– With Philippe Langlois, QMI Agency
Little known in Quebec, John Elkann is the one who currently directs the destinies of the Agnelli family, one of the most powerful in Italy.
Born in 1976 in New York, Mr. Elkann is the grandson of Gianni Agnelli, who ran the Italian automaker Fiat from 1966 to 1996. In 1997, Mr. Agnelli chose John Elkann, just 21 years old , as successor.
Today, Forbes values Mr. Elkann's personal fortune at US$2 billion. This sum includes his share of the Agnelli family's interests in the holding company Exor, which are currently worth C$12 billion.
Exor is the largest shareholder (14%) of Stellantis, a group born in 2021 from the merger of automotive giants Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot. He is also the largest shareholder in the manufacturer Ferrari (23%), the publisher of The Economist magazine (43%) and the Italian football club Juventus (64%).
John Elkann chairs the board of directors of Exor as well as those of Stellantis and Ferrari.
Unlike other heirs, Mr. Elkann showed his business acumen. In 2013, to allow Fiat to swallow the American manufacturer Chrysler (under the impetus of the Italian-Canadian leader Sergio Marchionne), he carried out a smoking gun by selling Exor's 15% stake in the Swiss giant SGS certification.
The transaction allowed Exor to raise 2 billion euros, three times more than the sum invested in the company 13 years earlier. Subsequently, the stock market share of SGS progressed relatively little.
It was Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), an investment company of the Frère (Belgium) and Desmarais (Quebec) families, which bought Exor's interests in SGS.
“GBL and its controlling shareholders – the Desmarais and Frère families, whom I know well – will fully support the next phase of development at SGS,” John Elkann said in a statement released at the time.
Paul Desmarais Jr then joined the board of SGS while Mr. Elkann retired.
The Desmarais and Agnelli dynasties have not concluded another major transaction since. Note, however, that John Elkann's estate in Charlevoix is about a 30-minute drive from that of the Desmarais, located in Sagard.