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More than 8,000 strangers purchase decaying French chateau

UPI News Service, 12/05/2017 

Thousands of strangers joined a crowdfunding campaign to save a crumbling French chateau from being demolished.

A group of 8,186 pledged at least $60 each on the French crowdfunding site Dartagnans to "adopt" the 13th-century Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers with the hopes of restoring the property and opening it to the public.

"La Mothe-Chandeniers belongs to thousands of users. Through this collective purchase, we believe in the preservation and development of the heritage of tomorrow and prove that the civic strength is always the greatest," the crowdfunding platform said.

The group reached its goal of about $590,000 in 40 days and has so far collected about $790,000 from the more than 8,000 donors.

Donors will be offered shares in a company to run the chateau set up early next year for an additional dollar for each $60 donated.

For a donation of about $70, donors will receive a membership card and "access to part of the castle."

"The idea is not just about raising the money, but getting as many people as possible to participate in saving this magical, fairytale place," Dartagnan founder Romain Delaume said. "The more the merrier."

La Mothe-Chandeniers oldest portions date back to the 13th century and the chateau was taken twice by the English in the Middle Ages and was ransacked during the French Revolution.

The nearly 5,000-acre property, which also includes almost 3,000 acres of forest, is surrounded by a moat and was last purchased by Marc Deyemer in 1981.

"I killed myself for two years trying to save it with preservation works, but I was sickened when my projects were torpedoed by certain people. I'm tempted to declare it a ruin so it can be destroyed," Deyemer said of the property in 2012.

Anyone interested in becoming a part owner of the chateau can make a donation within the next 20 days.

An additional $590,000 is required to make the structure safe and once the second phase is complete, the property will be overseen by an executive committee that will consult with a general assembly of co-owners.

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