A campaign to preserve the writer James Baldwin’s former home in France and turn it into a writer’s retreat failed to raise enough funds.
The campaign to save James Baldwin’s former home in the French village of St.-Paul-de-Vence seems to have failed.
On Nov. 16, the French newspaper Nice-Matin reported that the site’s remaining structures will be demolished and replaced by a luxury apartment complex. The development, Le Jardin des Arts, is slated to open by June 2019.
Sotheby’s, which is acting as the complex’s real-estate agent, is already accepting reservations for apartments. According to Nice-Matin, four units have been reserved.
Preservationists, led by novelist Shannon Cain’s organization, His Place in Provence, have been trying to raise money to buy the property where Baldwin lived and turn it into a writer’s retreat.
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In April, The New York Times reported that Socri, the property’s developer, would be open to selling the property for 9 million euros (then about $9.5 million) but that it planned to begin construction on the site soon.
A representative of the company also said it would be disinclined to sell the property to Cain, who squatted in the house during summer 2016 to protest the developer’s actions.
In response to the news about the development, His Place in Provence held an art auction Nov. 18 to generate funds for its fight against Socri.
Baldwin first moved to France in 1948. He shuttled back and forth between France, the United States, Switzerland and Turkey until 1970, when he settled in St.-Paul-de-Vence. The medieval village, nestled between the Alps and the Côte d’Azur, was his home until his death in 1987.
During this period, he completed several works, including the novel “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and hosted leading artistic figures such as Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.