A KFC could soon settle in Place de la République in Limoges… and not everyone likes it

Un KFC pourrait bientôt s

From the 1970s to the 2000s, the Place de la République was the Mecca of luxury in Limoges. You could buy Chanel bags, English cashmeres, handmade shoes, creations by Paul Smith, Sonia Rykiel or Castelbajac.

The announcement of the opening of a KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] the number 1 fried chicken instead of the République café has cast a chill. There was already, within a wider perimeter, the historic Quick or the most recent O’Tacos… An inflation of “junk food”.

“It pulls us down, It’s a shame. We were promised, however, that there would be no fast food in the area thunders a local trader who prefers anonymity.

The place de la Rép’ associated with an image of junk food?

What residents and shopkeepers interviewed fear is that the neighborhood is associated with an image of junk food. With, as a consequence, the arrival of a new, more popular, younger clientele and a flood of Deliveroo and Uber deliverers who, parked under the windows of local residents, can sometimes create a nuisance.

” Same if to date, nothing has been finalized, we are looking to open in the city center of Limoges and the Place de la République is one of our privileged choices. It is true, and it should be underlined, that since its renovation this square has regained a commercial dynamism attracting many brands”, underlines Loïc Médard, the project leader. “I think that the revitalization of city centers must also be done through large brands,” he notes, refusing to comment further.

“Better than a bank or an insurer”

“We, the traders, we still tend to complain, recognizes the boss of Pomme Cannelle, Guillaume Gorceix. The arrival of KFC is not extraordinary for the place of the Rep, that’s for sure, but it’s better than a bank or an insurer. I prefer to focus on myself and continue what I’m doing. For my business personally, maybe this will be positive. But you have to be honest who, apart from them, can settle here?? At the Café République, the previous owners didn’t last more than 2-3 years… Only chains that are financially sound can set up shop. The rents are so expensive. Added to this are taxes, soaring raw material prices, etc. »

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Will the image of the Place de la République be degraded, compared to that of the “upper town”, well-to-do, even bourgeois, in the area of ​​the central halls?? “We didn’t make a top-of-the-range place, that’s for sure. We made a great skate park, ironically the boss of Pomme Canelle, so we shouldn’t be surprised. »

Take the opposite… The Nachos brand, which is also settling in Place de la République, is well ranked in the fast food category. But she does not want to be equated with junk food in any way. “We are delivered every day the products that make up our meals, we do everything homemade with fresh products. There is nothing fried,” says Denis Monzat, one of the managers. “Guacamole, we make it every day by mashing avocados. We are all former athletes and the healthy side was very important to us. I trained, worked five weeks eating there every day, and lost 8 pounds?! »

In any case, the hypothesis of a KFC at the République café is causing a lot of talk. Raymonde, a local resident who has lived there for 14 years, won’t be ordering nuggets anytime soon. “It was already not terrible to eat on the square, there, it will be something. “Five years ago, there was nothing in the Place de la République, it was the desert”

The few young people questioned in the middle of the week, present in front of Monoprix, did not seem to be waiting for the arrival of KFC with much impatience. “I don’t usually go there. For me, the Quick was enough, ”explained Claire, a 17-year-old high school student at Renoir.

An opinion that is not necessarily representative, the brand wishing to establish itself in the city center to respond precisely… to a request from customers.

The word to the mayor… The mayor of Limoges Émile Roger Lombertie agreed to answer us about the establishment of a KFC.

The probable arrival of the KFC sign on the Place de la République is arousing criticism from both traders and residents, do you understand?? “This possibility has been debated within the municipal team. Vincent Léonie was totally against it. Basically, I am opposed to it, as is Catherine Maugein-Sicard. Others were less opposed to it. But one point is major for me: did we have the legal means to prevent it?? No. »

Was a preemption not possible?? “A commercial DIA [déclaration d’intention d’aliéner] makes it possible to replace the project leader. But you have to pay for the redemption of the fund, in this case, 380,000 euros. You have to pay the rent and the property tax, which is 100,000 euros more. All of the employee contracts amount to 400,000 euros per year. I asked the deputies who were opposed to the arrival of the KFC if they wanted to assume to launch a DIA. They answered me no. I bowed to this decision. And I respect the law. On the merits, I am unfavorable but in terms of law, I accept it if it happens. However, I have two requirements. »

What are these requirements? “I wanted the KFC to be associated with a Limoges brand that offers quality food that young people like. The terrace will only be assigned to this local brand. We will also ensure that the exterior aesthetics are pleasant, like Mac Donald’s in Les Casseaux which, in my opinion, has been very well renovated, beautifully crafted and which does not visually pollute the entrance to the city.

You are sensitive to the health of citizens. Is that why you are opposed to KFC?? “I am concerned about the health of fellow citizens and am opposed to anything that is called junk food. Everyone dreams of a starred restaurant in a square like this, but since restaurants have replaced the old cinema (called the Omnia Editor’s note) none of them lasted long. And it was inconceivable to leave the Place de la République with a closed establishment.

Local residents fear the noise pollution caused by delivery people on bicycles and scooters… “It’s another general problem in Limoges, not just related to KFC. We are going to organize ourselves because we no longer want a concentration of delivery people who disturb the tranquility of the residents. We need a smoother system. For this, we will take a decree, it is planned. »

Stephanie Barrat and Franck Lagier

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