shared live+work spaces
for people going places with purpose

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

🏡#144 🥈86%  REJECT • €69k • typical • village • 600m² satellite • good location and property but with issue delaying use significantly
southern France: Saint Gaudens, (Tarbes, Toulouse)
☃️3mo 10°  🍂3mo 14–25°  ☀️8 days  🌧11 days  500m
GREAT  🔨 effort
GOOD  💰 cost
OKAY  🚌 transport
OKAY  ✈️ access
OKAY  🛒 shops
OKAY  🏙 towns
GOOD  🧗 activities
OKAY  ☀️ climate
GREAT  ⛰️ nature
OKAY  🌷 garden
OKAY  🏠 building
OKAY  🏘 hood
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Environment ✧ lower mountains, hiking on doorstep, small skiing 10mins, peaks 45mins

Services ✧ minimart and bar; small towns 20 or 35mins drive, 1h bus

Access ✧ local station 15mins bike, mainline 25mins drive; Toulouse ~1h30 direct or bus (last 4:30pm), Paris 6h30 or overnight; airports: Tarbes 1h drive, Toulouse 1h30

Notes ✧ easy and good but with major drawbacks on appeal for first few years thus bad as not fully realisable during that time
✦ roof in good condition and building immediately usable, interior simply needs complete new fitout; but also opening up the apartments to bring them together; the gable and basement windows are broken, but to survive winters all the old single glazed windows need replacing, and the roof insulating
✦ 350m2 garden, surrounded by the backs of other houses but opening onto both a water channel and the roadside which fronts a river, with a boules pitch plus trees and benches, with some guerilla gardening or partnering with the commune the riverbank could be really nice; there's some stony river beaches and an abandoned campsite opposite suitable for sports although the village has a tennis court and pitch too
✦ small public parking to the side where the property has two garages which could be removed or enhanced as a coworking space next to the stream
✦ the building is detatched and quite prominent; 195m2 footprint but part split level; 2 floors currently divided into 6 appartments for 260m2; empty attic 160m2, basement ~195m2, garage 20m2
✦ the attic has 6 dormer windows and some low side windows so could easily be converted to rooms
✦ 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
✦ the peaks surrounding reach 1200–1700m and can be hiked from the door with a 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
✦ climate has good stable number of sunny days all year but obviously colder with no vegtation in winter, although only one month would have any significant risk of snow given the low altitude; 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 conservatory and hot days in winter still reaching 18° it would remain fairly pleasant but would favour work-focus rather than outdoor focus, thus the significantly increased use time, the low use reduction in summer is more representative that it needs to remain competitive given so many alternatives
✦ there's only two moderate towns within reach, Bagneres is a ski station and reasonably well provided for, St-Gaudens is a bit larger and prettier; 3 busses daily to St-Gaudens but 1h thus driving is better; both reachable with a 15min bike and 15–20 mins on a planned (for 2022) local hydrogen train
✦ the village has some nice buildings and is fairly pleasant but currently only has a minimarket, a bar and a moroccan restaurant; 30mins walk is a good restaurant
✦ the small city of Tarbes with airport is 1h drive (longer with transit) so suitable for days out, and is 15mins further
✦ there are reasons for the low property cost, not ultimately of particular notability but having short term impact:
✦ 1. the village had a major flood in 2013 with many shops and facilities such as camping being destoryed; 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 the water gets backed up, flooding will certainly continue as with warming the mountain ice melts too quickly in summer; the property basement can be submerged however most of the ground floor is raised 1.5m and thus above risk level, additionally the building is a bit upriver from the village centre thus more elevated and opposite a small plain where floodwaters can expand; works on re-enforcing the banks have only just started and a new camping is being constructed in a safer area to help restore tourism; in case of flooding providing the building layout only uses the basement as a non-primary space (cinema-lounge) and maybe secondary kitchen or coworking onto the garden, any reddecoration would not be unreasonable
✦ 2. the property is on the only road out of the village which is also 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 (expected for 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 risk and primary issue is that it'll take time to finish during which traffic passes the property rendering it noisy and unpleasant; thus at best there'd be a potentially 3-year startup period for fitout with first-come usage; full fractional member use only commencing once the bypass is complete; during the startup phase with triple glazed windows indoors would be fine, however the garden would not, although as the traffic now avoids the village centre one can escape there or of course into the hills
✦ 3. lack of recovery after the floods (most compsites in the valley were ordered to close, and there were 3 in the village alone!), or simply cost as given its size using local professionals would be expensive versus DIY/volunteers cadastral data, parcels 151 and 152
✦ despite the cheap property, it may not accommodate many rooms, will visit soon, at a guess a standard room with shared bath would be around €2700/share/month or ensuite around €3300/share/month, with 40% extra time off-peak (Dec,Feb,Mar) and only 20% less in the summer; the good news is however that it can be converted gradually
✦ fibre is pending in a year or so; the exchange is next door so VDSL is good anyway (~60Mbps)
✦ there is a small ugly marble quarry at the extrance to the valley and village, but it is hidden behind the escarpment from the village itself
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