candidate report
Fábrica do Padre João€145k • Portugal
filed by Jacob, PRELIMINARY

Not sure what this is all about? This is a report on one of the property candidates for our crowdfunding campaign to create a co-owned co-operative coliving space!



The area — Covilhã, Portugal🇵🇹

☃️ 14–19°C  🏖 33–39°  ☀️ 13 days  ☔️ 9 days

  • a small town located on the edge of the Serra da Estrela, Portugal's highest point at 2,000m in a large natural park with spring water and many natural swimming spots
  • multiple direct trains every day to Lisbon only 3h30 and just €10, or Porto by coach (3h30), train (5h) or car (2h), Madrid by coach (6h+) maybe train soon
  • historically centred around wool and textile production, and still today, yet primarily a university town with multiple campuses, and innovation labs
  • mild winter temperature of 14°C yet up in the park it gets snow and has a (tiny) ski station
  • thanks to its several valleys the town feels small with a population of only ~35k, although it does have some ugly burbs
  • has fibre internet and free wifi in town; is also base for one of the world's largest datacentres thus promising a good reliable connection
  • there's a number of restaurants, including two veggie and one moderately fancy, some relaxed cafés, a shopping centre/multiplex, several supermarkets, and an organic shop
  • a great streetart festival, a big nightclub and some annual events
  • the neighbouring (and equally small) towns are close at 30–45 mins by train, otherwise Lisbon and Porto are awesome and not too far for couple of days escape (staying at Selina!)
  • not an unreasonable distance to remain connected with the Lisbon ecosystem, both attracting visitors and enabling members to escape for days away
  • most activities are 20–40mins by bike or drive, which gets you well into the natural park or down the river
  • within striking distance there's hiking, SUP, paragliding, mountain biking, ski/snowboarding, horse riding, kayaking…
  • country club with tennis, squash, pool and restaurant serving a daily €10 menu
  • several public gardens and spots to chillout in town
  • on a very steep hill, but if you're not up for it, there's lifts and local busses
  • covered municipal market with local producers, with organic stalls every week supported by a local association (also at neighbouring town 30mins by train)

Some points against the area:

  • in the long could get much hotter with less water, yet is on the only tall mountain in Portugal and thus first on the atlantic
  • whilst daytime temperatures in winter remain reasonable there is a significant proportion of cloudy and rainy days, nonetheless this should not be a concern as we mostly work indoors, and can be flexible about when to take advantage of the sunny days
Some photos from my exploration of both the valley where the properties are, and up in the natural park.
Some pilfered photos of the town and park.


This video explores the annual streetart festival, and also gives some great glimpses around the area which comprises everything from gritty sixties edifices, the classic old buildings of stone and tiles and of course the natural landscape!

The property

2300m² on 3 floors and 2+ buildings •  1500m² land (unusable)

GOOD  🔨 effort
GOOD  💰 value
GREAT  ☀️ climate
GREAT  🚃 transport
GOOD  🛒 shops
GREAT  📡 internet
GREAT  🎪 capacity
OKAY  🌷 garden
GREAT  🏠 building
GREAT  🏘 neighbourhood
GOOD  🏇 activities
GOOD  🏔 nature
OKAY  🏙 towns
GOOD  ✈️ access
GOOD  ♻️ sustainability

A somewhat random complex, which is arguably more friendly than that others being super snug along the stream, with a courtyard surrounded by stone facades. Compared to its very uniform neigbour downstream (#53 Cravinos), this property would result in lots of odd (interesting! fun!) angles and spaces…

It comprises two buildings, the smaller (west) is two stories, and the larger is three stories formed from three or four adjoined structures. There are several sheds and ruins, the ones in the courtyard and behind would be demolished to open it up onto the stream. The ramp pictured in the courtyard would be removed to restore the windows, we won't need to drive vehicles into the auditorium will we?

There's also an unused basement space onto the stream that is not well lit of around 100m2, could either be converted to 2 studios with outside access or an additional terrace next to a swimming area.

Whilst this does not include cohousing, there is a building with 200m2 of floor (outlined in orange) next to the gate which is being sold seperately and could be converted to four 50m2 studios, at a much lower cost than #53 (maybe €25k ea).

Spaces (1100m²)

    main building
  • kitchen and dining 130m²
  • lively workspace 160m²
  • lively lounge 100m²
  • workspace 80m²
  • auditorium/cinema/lounge 130m² for 50–80 places
  • quiet library and workspace 130m²
  • hall/lobby 60m²
  • ancillary building
  • kitchenette 80m²


Basic rooms will generally be reserved for volunteers. Typical capacity would be 24 persons, but potentially increasing to 75 for occasional events.

  • 9 premium/studios 30m² ensuite
  • 19 standard 20m² ensuite
  • 3 basic 15m² with shared bathrooms
  • 1 dorm with shared bathroom

Outside (??m²)

  • courtyard
  • conservatory
  • splashpool
  • stream path

Offers a good number of units, which needn't all be fitted out immediately. We can welcome more volunteers and run more residencies. We would also be able to host Wifitribe/Remote Year type programmes, and larger more diverse events such as festivals! Finally of course, it means booking for co-owners will be much easier as we could have a larger availability reserved for share use, plus any booking overlaps could be accommodated in the bunkrooms for a few days at no cost.

Interestingly the property includes some 200m of stream as it tumbles through rocks and boulders, thus could have a cute little walkway along part of it. It is otherwise however too narrow to be used except for the courtyard and terrace hanging over. Nonetheless if cleared next to the building more light would be available and its sound would permeate the spaces.

The only space with an open outlook is a small courtyard next to the path near the bridge, to mitigate the enclosed nature a roof terrace could be added with a good view down the valley. There's a spring on the other side of the bridge which would feed a splash pool with fresh water, and it's likely some of the surrounding plots could be acquired to add garden spaces.

The facade along the stream is pretty ugly, but mostly invisible, and could be improved with streetart! This section could actually provide a second entry/exit point.

The last photo here of the stream is just above the property, the land starting just out of view and could be dammed for a pool.


As with candidate #53 (Cravinos) but slightly higher up the stream thus not next to the railway bridge, but quieter with agricultural plots below on one side and some ugly factory buildings on the other. These are mostly hidden from the property itself, but do loom somewhat.

It is almost directly below a road out of town, this however is 50m higher up a steep tree covered slope and thus not notceable.


These are indicative prototypes. Ground floor is above the stream.

Condition and renovations

Can be undertaken in multiple seperate phases. Ideally needs 600m2 of new roofing, however much of this can in fact be deferred. New trusses may be required if the existing are not suitable for the load requirements with insulation.

Ancillary bulding.

Main building, ground floor.

Main building, 1st floor.

Main building, basement and bridge.

View the lead candidate reports:
#53 Cravinos, #59 Padre João;
all the properties; or checkout common questions.

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