shared live+work spaces
for people going places with purpose

property details & discussions
for a Hub House co-operative coliving project

🏡#144 🥉81%  PICK • €69k • typical • village • 500m² satellite • great value large property with good surroundings
southern France: Saint Gaudens, (Tarbes)
☃️3mo 10°  🍂3mo 14–25°  ☀️8 days  🌧11 days ↥500m
GOOD  🔨 effort
GREAT  💰 cost
OKAY  🚌 transport
OKAY  ✈️ access
OKAY  🛒 shops
OKAY  🏙 towns
GOOD  🧗 activities
OKAY  ☀️ climate
GREAT  ⛰️ nature
DODGY  🌷 garden
GOOD  🏠 building
OKAY  🏘 hood
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Environment ✧ lower mountains, hiking on doorstep, small skiing 10mins, peaks 45mins

Services ✧ minimart, bakery, bar; small towns 20/35mins drive, 15mins bike supermarket

Access ✧ local station 15mins bike, mainline 25mins drive/50 bus; Toulouse 1h45 train (last 5:30pm connecting), Paris 6h30; airports: Tarbes 2h transit, Toulouse 2h45

Property ✧ there are good reasons for the low property cost:
✦ 1. the village had a major flood in 2013 with many shops and facilities such as camping destroyed; it is on the upper Garonne river and the geography has a very narrow passage through escarpments which the village is built at the base of; with high flow it backs up, flooding will certainly continue as with warming the mountain snow and ice melts too quickly; the property basement survived with no noticable effects (flood level wass bit below the road [photo], meaning the lower basement gets half submerged (to the bottom of its raised windows), whilst the upper basement gets max a few inches, which would be easy to seal from as there's only the one front opening), whilst the next floor is raised significantly above (~1.5m) and thus no risk
✦ 2. the property is on the only road out of the village which is also currently a heavily used route to Spain; a bypass project with a tunnel past the village centre and bridge further up the valley are already finished, once fully completed (in 2024) the adjacent road will be very calm with only traffic coming into the centre from a couple of neigbouring hamlets (nothing else before the Spanish border)
✦ the building is standalone and quite prominent; 215m2 footprint but part split level; 2 floors currently divided into 6 appartments for 260m2; empty attic 160m2, split level basement ~195m2
✦ the size is under-estimated as excludes spaces not used for living that would be converted for such and has excellent height, both in the basement/garage and attic which is effin huge and entirely open albeit on two levels for extraordinary height
✦ the property is entirely solid with roof structure in very good condition exept for a few slates that need replacing
✦ needs complete new fitout, and opening up the 6 apartments to bring them together however most walls are simple lathe under extraordinarily long beams; some cielings (also lathe) need replacing, the gable and basement windows are broken, but all the old windows need replacing, and the roof insulating (without hiding its incredinable structure) in order to be usable
✦ NO GARDEN however there is both a public garden (900m2) on the other side of the parking between the road and canal thus running alongside it, having a small playground, plus the long (1500m2) riverfront with boules pitch plus trees and benches; with some guerilla gardening or partnering with the commune to make pergols and more flowerbeds it could be really nice; there's also some stony river beaches and an abandoned campsite opposite suitable for sports
a study was undertaken to improve some public spaces in the village including the adjacent gardens, transforming the old camping into a garden/nature/sports pole, and the old school into a resturant/cultural space/coworking
✦ part of the basement only has outside access but used to be joined to the staircase so could be reinstated as is the most impressive space of circa 60m2 having a huge south facing entrance and a couple of little west windows, this entrance would possible to keep open in the summer to give an outdoor aspect, probably as the main workspace, and the second basement entrance which is right next to it but recessed down a short ramp; all along the wall could have a trellace overhang with some benches set into the wall
✦ the original 460m2 garden has been seperated off for the neighbour (owner?) who might be willing to allow shared use if we improve it, and is directly along the canal (but so is the public garden)
✦ potentially for sale is another property next to the neighbour's garden with 250m2 of garden and its 160m2 footprint building across the canal, plus the next building along with a 100m2 footprint and a small garden
✦ apparently there's 40m2 of private parking adjacent however there's no parcel for this and is communal land so likely limited to just parking but is a possible opportunity for some outside space
✦ the attic has 6 dormer windows and some low side windows so could be converted to a dorm with impressive pods and/or mezzanines, else an exceptional common space
✦ 2 floors of accommodation: attic with 3+ rooms and dorm; first floor with 2 studios and 5+ rooms (some ensuite); ground floor and basement for common spaces potentially giving a 1:1 private to common ratio
✦ ground floor would need some access and windows to the garden
✦ the facades are covered in some kind of weird and very ugly yellow-tinted fibrous rubbery crepis with a dry cement (lime mix?) beneath that would at some stage need to be removed (easy simply pulling for the crepis) to expose and repoint the original stonework
✦ 31 standard windows, 2 large basement entrances, 9 smaller basement windows, plus some additional small skylights; most of the windows are in wooden surrounds set into the masonry, which is a concern for longevity, however could easily be protected with a metal or paint-on covering
cadastral data, parcel 152
✦ suprisingly much of the village is not connected to sewers, works having just started to put them in with a treatment plant, the property would thus technically need a sepectic tank as its outlet is currently directly to the river 😬 (swim upstream? I saw people swiming downstream!)

Notes ✧ VISTED 26/09/23; photos to follow; an interested buyer dropped as can't raise finance (the owner has thus had at least one deposit and could accept 60k)
✦ no longer scoring particularly well due to loss of garden and lack of lively hood but still a very good value proposition having really good nature, and a lovely building if with adequate efforts; definately needs a communal van and maybe also a runabout/2CV
✦ fairly easy and good as a standalone somewhat prominant building, but not promotable for first year as road bypass under construction thus on very busy road until then, however this provides time to finish fitout
✦ would be in competition with Pyren-escape a couple of valleys across (1h drive), however the Hub House model means there'd be few rooms for rental (mainly fractional members) thus not an issue; their rates are €1200/mo for a room, whereas this would be lower due to member model
✦ there's several moderately ?adventurous smaller peaks surrounding reach 1200–1700m and can be hiked from the door with one path climbing through woods to reach the top of the escarpment; good serious multi-day hiking as there's lots of refuges, and the coast-to-coast GR10 route passes; some climbing spots, kayaking and horse riding very close; a few minutes drive and there's a small resort for airboard, nordic ski, snowshoe walks, mountain biking, mountain scooter, etc, it has however not recently had enough snowfall to remain open, a higher resort is 20mins, whilst access to the main peaks are 40mins drive in Spain
✦ climate has good stable number of sunny days all year but obviously colder with no vegetation in winter, although only one month would have any significant risk of snow given the low altitude; the house is at the bottom of a south exposed escarpment, so should benefit; given that winter is quite dreary despite good sun, seasons would be 4–months peak (Jun–Sep) with only a 20% reduction of time, 4-months off (Dec–Mar) with a 40% increase of time, and 4 months standard
✦ with a glass fronted area and hot days in winter still reaching 18° it would remain fairly pleasant but would favour work-focus rather than outdoor focus unless for ski with a car
✦ biking really is quite limited and involves too many steep climbs, however there's a mild 20km circuit around the valley with only 500m for beginners, and some gradual climbs of 1500m over 20km; yet taking the train down to the next village (~15mins bike+train) gives lots of trails around the foothills, similar for going up to the main ski station with gondola
✦ the hill station right next door (15mins drive) offers a shuttle from 15mins bike away and the ski lifts occasionally run for bikes too
✦ there is a small ugly marble quarry at the extrance to the valley and village (which styles itself as a 'town of marble'), but it is hidden behind the escarpment from the village itself
✦ the village has some nice buildings and is fairly presentable but currently has only a minimarket, a bar/wine shop and an occasionally open moroccan restaurant (not bad for diversity at least!); there's two good restaurants in 30mins walk, and a few others plus an auberge up at the little mountain station, plus … in Spain, all 15mins drive, with the Spanish border village also served by bus for some variety
✦ the agent and her partner runs one of the hostel/hotels up at the hillstation
✦ a bike repair shop, ski rental and creperie van have just opened but only occasional
✦ the location is a bit isolated due to not being directly on the railway, and having a bus line that doesn't go anywhere notable, thus most outings are likely to be driving
✦ 4 busses to town for access (7,8,10,2) and back (1,3,5,6:30) though only M–F and a bit slow at 45–55mins; the town is not at all interesting for outings
✦ there's only one other moderate town within reach, Luchon is a ski station and quite well provided for with lots of restaurants; Montrejeau is a large village at 30mins drive
✦ the local station is 15mins bike (easy on a nice back lane, or excessive 45mins walk), and 10mins scooter so it would be necessary to have some making at least getting out easier; both small towns will be 15–20 mins on the local hydrogen train; there will probably be a daily through train to Toulouse which would improve accessibility
✦ the small city of Tarbes with airport is 1h drive (longer with transit) and is suitable for occasional days out
✦ whilst not likely, the ski station has 40+140 bed capacity (a hotel, a holiday centre, plus others) often unused, organising larger events would be possible
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