History project Linya
It is a precious project in a sought-after location. Linya is a place where conscious living and entrepreneurship prevail. Of course, there are certain parties who would like to see it otherwise and try to put a stop to it. However, the change in the world is unstoppable, we are unstoppable. Revive the power of your nature! With the purpose of: ‘Viver (epicurean): Pleasant and delightful enjoyment of the abundance that life offers.’
What has happened in the past years and what have we overcome? You can read about it period by period in the overview below.
How it all started | 1994 - 1995
As a child, I (Frank) often had a dream, a vision. I dreamed that I was walking through the jungle and came across a big black mountain. In the mountain was a small passage. It was dark there. I went through the passage on my hands and knees, was all scraped up. Everything was black until I saw a small point of light in the distance. I crawled to it, climbed through the opening and entered a paradise valley.
A place where people live healthy, happy and pleasantly with each other. Surrounded by butterflies and flowers. Grandfathers of 90 playing soccer with their grandchildren. Women hiking with tigers. There was no danger, stress or misery. Only happiness, joy and freedom. This dream came back often in my childhood. As I grew older, it faded into the background.
Years later, during a vacation in Italy, a medium told me and my wife at the time that I was going to do a project in the Pyrenees to start a new world. This didn't let go of us. We kept talking and tuning in about it, and finally we made the decision to actually look for a suitable location, somewhere in the Pyrenees.
We wanted a plot close to a lake. We looked at the map of Catalonia and started around the lake of Sant Ponc. We drove around and at sunset, we saw the church and massia of Linya, beautifully illuminated by the last rays of the sun. There was something magical about it. We decided to come back the next morning to see it in daylight.
Once we returned, we were just as excited. The plot was big enough for our plans, the view is phenomenal and the energy there is very relaxed and pleasant. I also immediately had to think again of my dream, vision, from my childhood.
We looked up and exactly above our heads we saw two stripes in the shape of a cross. At that time there were not as many airplane stripes as now, so that was remarkable. It became really special when the cross was still hanging in the sky 3 days later. It was a sign to us that Linya was the right place.
In the dilapidated massia of the valley, we came across an elderly couple. Totally neglected and malnourished. They were so poor that they could not support themselves.
The valley had been in the family for more than 500 years, and the family's will stipulated that it should stay in the family. This combined with all the rules, guidelines and procedures in Spain made the purchase of the area a complicated operation. Through the courts, permission was granted to sell it and it was determined which family members would receive which share of the purchase price. The rest was put into an account with an arrangement that the elderly couple would receive an amount each month for living on.
When all that was settled, the land was ours and we could start working out the first plans. Unexpectedly, the judge came with the news that he had forgotten the 20% VAT. Since the older couple's money was tied up in an account, an additional arrangement was needed. We paid the VAT and in return we got a nearby piece of land as collateral with the option to buy.
Plans & permits | 1996 - 2007
Besides being particularly prescient at the time to want to develop such a project, it was ingeniously conceived. With housing and facilities for permanent residents, who form the heart of the society, and housing and facilities for resort residents and visitors. Although together it forms one whole, it is positioned in such a way that visitors don't have to go all the way into the entire resort if they don't want to.
We have a vision for a better world and a unique concept that includes all elements for a self-sufficient society. Our blue zone will become the blueprint for life.
The areas for homes are designed in a way that each home is surrounded by greenery. Due to the height differences in the area, almost all homes have beautiful mountain views.
After creating the plan, it is presented to the residents of the Naves municipality of which Linya is a part. During the presentation, people from the area ask a number of questions. Since the mayor values the opinion of residents, a referendum was held. 84% of the residents voted in favor of the project.
In 1998, Johan Cruijff commits himself to the project. At the time, his nickname in Spain is El Salvador. We hold a press conference in Barcelona to which the press flocks. It was picked up by many newspapers, the most beautiful headline: El Salvador meets the messiah (Group Mesai'H is the name of Frank's former Belgian company).
A fire broke out in 1999; the largest fire in Catalunya's history at the time. Due to the "miracle of Linya," the wind turns just before the fire arrives in Linya and the site remains intact.
Read more about the Miracle of Linya
In 2005, a lady from Buenos Aires completely loved the project. She buys 33.3% of the shares because she wants to come to Europe andsettle in Spain. Within 6 months, however, her plan is changed and she moves back to Argentina to be with her children. She leaves no contact information. Although we searched for her for years, we did not find her. We have not spoken to her in person since then. Too bad, because as a result we don't know how she is doing and what her wishes are. We did speak with her lawyer though (more on that later).
Although the overwhelming majority votes in favor of the project, the press is raving and the area could use an economic boost, it will be almost 10 years before the municipality actually grants the permits.
A conscious economy that respects people, nature and the environment obviously includes the municipality of which it is a part. We paid the municipality of Naves 525,000 euros as a contribution to the project and incentive for the municipality. Among other things, the sports complex in Naves was constructed from this money.
Finally everything is complete, with the permits in our hand we can start the actual construction. We think, but there appears to be 1 more point to solve.
Additional obligation: own water supply | 2007 - 2009
The permits for the plan were pretty much complete when the municipality indicated that there was one remaining issue, which was to find water on our own land.
Why? That particular summer it had been dry and the water in the adjacent lake was so low that part of the church tower stood out above the water. The nearby farmers were afraid that we would need all the water from the lake for Linya. The municipality wanted to reassure them and therefore imposed this additional obligation: search for water on our own land.
Finding water on your own land. Well, how? What a bummer. Initially, we were done fighting over permits and wanted to sell the land including plan and permits. Initially we wanted to sell the land including plan and permits. In fact, the sales agreement had already been signed. But the party in question left Spain and didn't pay. So we had no choice but to find a commuter who could help us find water.
We had arranged to meet with a commuter at our office in Barcelona. This man assured us he was the best commuter in the world and wanted to meet at Linya's place a few days later. When we met in the valley on the appointed day, the man congratulated us that we had won the lottery. He told us that our valley has the most and best water of any plot of land in Spain.
On the map, he had drawn several underground rivers and added how deep they are, how much water flows through them, and the quality of the water.
The crisis of 2008 and 2009 was a strange period. 80% of real estate projects and companies working in real estate went bankrupt. What about us? We were drilling for water.
We engaged a company that specializes in drilling and installing wells. With the commuting map in hand, we pointed out the first place where the drilling would begin. The whole village had gathered and everyone declared us crazy. "There really is no water here you know."
When the drills reached the depth indicated by the shuttle, there was no water. Let's go a few more meters deeper, the man could of course be slightly mistaken. And yes, after going a few more meters, the water spurted up. Everyone cheered, laughed, and cried with happiness.
The commuter has been right on every occasion. We have now established 8 water wells.
Obtaining water exploitation rights is a formality, but a very important one. It involves taking and analyzing water samples frequently over a period of time by which you have to demonstrate that there is consistent water quality and that the water is safe to drink.
We have an exploitation permit for wells 1 through 6 for operation and use within Linya. We want to work on the operating permit for wells 7 and 8 next period.
Attracting collaboration partners and financiers | 2010 - 2011
To actually get started with the construction, we enter into a joint venture with a constructor. A separate company is set up for this purpose: Llac de Linya.
At the creation of Llac de Linya, our company Blue Green Valley has 99% of the shares and the constructor 1%. Gradually, the constructor gets more and more shares until after 3 years he has 50% of the shares, corresponding to the investments over time.
The agreement is that:
- the constructor will build infrastructure for 2 million a year, so that after 3 years he will have invested 6 million.
- our company contributes at the start a number of plots plus the castle farm worth 3 million and after 3 years contributes again plots worth 3 million.
In addition to the joint venture, arrangements are being made with a number of financiers. They would buy some shares and with that money the marketing and sales costs would be financed.
With this, everything is settled and ready to start. The permits are in place, we have the requested water sources, we have a partner for construction and financiers with whom a verbal agreement has been made.
Deception and deceit when you are most vulnerable | 2012 - 2022
Everything was arranged to start the construction of the Linya society. Exactly at that moment Frank is told that his then wife is seriously ill. He rushes back to Belgium to be with his wife.
The lawyer involved in the project wanted Frank to sign a guarantee, with the shares of Llac de Linya as collateral. In the turmoil of the moment, he did just that. The biggest mistake ever, as it later turned out that he had been framed.
While the lawyer said beforehand that this was purely a guarantee, he immediately monetized it after signing. He sold the guarantee (and thus the shares and contributed plots of land) to one of the financiers for an amount far below the market price. It soon became apparent that this was a collusion between the lawyer and the financier in question.
This was the beginning of a legal battle that would last almost 10 years and bring incredible grief, pain and misery.
When it came to light that our own lawyer and one of the financiers had deliberately misled us to get their hands on the plots, we immediately took legal action and filed charges.
But the harm had already been done. The plots were sold far below the market price to the financier in question. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the financier in question has convinced the lawyer of the untraceable Argentine lady, that Frank has deliberately disposed of the plots. And that she would have to sue to recover the market value of the parcels from Frank. An extra stab in the back.
Several lawsuits are pending: against the lawyer (who dies not much later), against the financier in question, against Frank. Legal proceedings take forever, including this case. All the while, the real estate and water projects are largely at a standstill. What is not at a standstill are the vicious antics of the parties involved, they are really trying to do everything they can to hostile take over the project. From letters to the municipality declaring that they are the owners of the project to frightening new potential investors with libel and slander.
Then, after almost 10 years of legal battle, in 2021 the judge finally pronounces in 2 cases:
- In the case against Frank: the plots either must be returned to the original company or, if that is not possible, a deposit of 3 million euros, according to the value of the plots in question.
- In the case against attorney and financier: the plots have been misappropriated and belong to us. The plots are transferred back to us at the land registry.
What a wonderful synchronicity: the plots have to be returned and a short time later they are back.
Although we still have several lawsuits pending against these parties, these are the most important ones. We confidently await the verdicts of the other lawsuits.
Regardless, justice prevailed, the plots were returned and the project was restarted.
Restart project | 2022 - present
Because of all the lost years in which we could not realize anything, the approved urbanization plan is now outdated. Currently, the architectural office is updating and modernizing this plan so that it meets the latest laws, regulations, and standards that we envision. This plan will be resubmitted to the municipality for approval.
In addition, housing needs have also changed in recent years, so the plan for the houses has also been revised. For example, because of the "tiny houses trend," 60 m2 houses have been added. The final designs of the houses will be finalized soon.
At the time, all cooperation contracts and funding were in place. So many years later, we have to start mostly from scratch. A fresh start with some new partners.
We like to work with partners who share the same vision. Who want to contribute to the new world. Who want to create a conscious economy with respect for people, nature, and the environment.
Currently, we are looking for cooperation partners for:
- bottling and distributing the water from our wells
- architects and constructors who can realize the project together with us
- operators who want to realize the hotel, restaurant, beauty and health center, stores, etc.
And any other expertise and vigor needed to achieve this wonderful project in this unique location.
Do you live in the darkness of fear or in the light of trust?
Light dispels darkness; light overcomes darkness.
In ourselves, in Linya and in the world.