French chateau renovation ends in demolition

BORDEAUX, France Thu Dec 6, 2012 10:08am EST

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BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Builders sent in to renovate an 18th century chateau in western France's Bordeaux wine region reduced it to rubble instead, according to the Russian owner of the property.

Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin told a local newspaper he was shocked to learn that workers who were supposed to tear down an outhouse and renovate the rest had instead bulldozed his stately pile, wiping Chateau Bellevue off the map.

"He told me that he was really surprised, that this was an accident and he was the principal victim," said Claude Carty, mayor of the village where the chateau used to stand.

Poland-based Stroskin, who runs an export business, has said he will build a replica of the chateau, which used to be rented out for weddings under previous ownership.

"I will rebuild Bellevue exactly as it was," Stroskin told SudOuest newspaper, which spoke of a rebuilding contract worth 1.5 million euros ($1.96 million).

Locals sent angry messages to the newspaper's website, many airing doubts about whether the demolition was a blunder.

"He'll need a new building permit," said mayor Carty. ($1 = 0.7652 euros)

(Reporting by Claude Canellas; Writing by Brian Love, editing by Paul Casciato)

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