collective live+work spaces
for people going places with purpose

Castellas
property details
for a Hub House co-operative coliving project

#155 🥈86%  REJECT • €300k • historic • village • 1500m² hub • impressive co-op building at base of Cevennes with connections
📍MapAdvert #1
southern France — near Ales, (Nimes)
☃️2–10–18°☀️10☁️10 • 🍂13–24°☀️10☁️10
GOOD  🔨 effort
GOOD  🚌 transport
GOOD  ✈️ access
GOOD  🛒 shops
OKAY  🏙 towns
GOOD  🧗 activities
GOOD  ☀️ climate
GOOD  ⛰️ nature
GOOD  🌷 garden
GREAT  🏠 building
OKAY  ⛲️ hood
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Environment ✧ hills amongst windy rocky river valleys, scrubland and woods; hikes on doorstep

Services ✧ supermarket, shops, bars/resto; nicer village 10mins drive/bus; town 40mins drive (train)

Access ✧ station/bus 10mins walk; Nimes 1h15, airport +30mins shuttle; train ~5h Paris/Barcelona (2 changes)

Notes ✧ not strictly a candidate due to missalignment of purpose and approach with the existing project's caretaker, yet does score well
✦ currently an existing co-op with eco/sustainability focus that planned to offer cohousing however over 10 years of existence nobody has bought in, and the current plans have become more grandiose (on the basis of hoping for state/regional funding)
✦ whilst the founder appears to be too intentional, potential was expressed to split in two halves or even to take over the entire building with a share exchange, the existing backers wish to help redynamise the village, but the HH approach would not commit to much impact, but more specifically the caretaker's expectations are that anybody working for the entity must be properly employed by it (very French), rather than volunteering or getting equity, and indeed that it should have a full roster of staff to provide local employment
✦ might nonetheless be possible to adapt and persuade whether in collaboration or as a takeover
~1000m2 south facing garden with plane trees; 900m2 veg garden
✦ building is around ~500m2 each on three floors, currently allocated for duplex cohousing units of 100m2 comprising 2 windows on the 1st and 2nd floors (~5m*10m) with a small 1st floor terrace; the ground floor being common spaces
✦ there's apparently unused workshops for large scale projects
✦ several adjacant buildings could likely be incorporated is expansion was desireable, and indeed the co-op's new plan is to create an eco-neighbourhood with this building at its centre, plus burried eco-houses in a new lotissment on the hill above, even if fully transferred this might continue
only some minor works have been completed
✦ 24 windows/doors on each flow along its 60m length (for 72 in total on the front but far less at the rear) however many are functional and only bedrooms and primary living spaces would actually need priority replacement
✦ in a coliving plan it would accommodate 24 rather generous 20m2 units using a single floor, plus 8 or so 30–40m2 duplexes, and/or some houses, thus having a 1:1 common space ratio (50%) and potentially including cohousing
✦ coliving units should be increased upto 38 by reducing their size however the specific would need planning and may not be possible
✦ as ever a number of units would be larger for a premium offer
✦ is comparable to the Covilla (Portugal) property, but less expensive on final cost due to no significant works
the current plan includes some nice details such as a climbing wall on one end of the building, but was overspecified in others, including a lift, partly for multigenerational accessability but only required if units were sold as such and more easily managed by simply making those single storey (1st floor terrace could have a ramp instead of steps)
the veg garden is at the same height as the 2nd floor with some walkways across, whilst the ground floor has no rear access nor light as backs into the hill
✦ the veg garden is a nice feature, however some of its land would be very desireable as an additional (probably quiet) outdoor space, with the veg garden reduced to a kitchen garden; for those wishing to maintain organic gardens (at least some of the cohousing residents) it would be preferable for them to acquire a larger and thus more productive dedicated plot nearby which visitors could better participate in, though personally I think it better to have a partner programme with a local farmer
whilst ultimately the roof needs relaying the building is structurally sound, and despite its significant scope for windows, if not as much for fitout, could easily be undertaken in sections to reduce funding reuirements
is slightly above the village next to a middle school, has both a roadway below the school (excellent spot for street art), and steps down past the church directly into the town
tennis 10mins walk
✦ several hiking circuits are possible on the hills either side of the river starting 15mins along lanesand climbing 450m; the GR44B passes the door and leads to an impressive chateau in 1h biking; the nearest moderate peak (1300m) is 30mins drive, however can reach a 1000m summit in 2h30 biking entirely offroad climbining gradually with downhill all the way back ;) similarly there's a 2h route to the small town with return by train or along the road
✦ there's a quick bus/10min drive/30min bike to a much nicer village with several weekly markets (including organic), good cafes/retos, plus riding and easy kayak; and another village at 25mins thus 3 villages for nearby outings
✦ whilst the river through the village is ugly, river and swimming spots are closeby both up and down river; a stunning spot 30mins drive for hiking and splashing
✦ the Ardeche river with gorges and other other locations down the Ceze are also 30mins, notably Les Vans, with good gorges and more kayakinging/riding, to 45mins (for the famous Pont d'Arc); there's better mountain landscapes and two very nice small towns (Uzès, Andouze) at 1h for occasional daytrips
the main town (Alès) is not bad thanks to ongoing improvements including a new market hall pending, and will be 40mins by train in future (reopening 2026, 5-times daily 1€; same as driving versus 1h bus currently, last being 6pm; will reopen 2026)
✦ the lovely city of Nimes will be 1h20 from the door (if there's direct train) which makes it plausible for a daytrip (and often also just 1€)
✦ access is good; Nimes airport is train then shuttle bus with year round service to Stansted, Brussels, plus seasonal to Luton, Dublin and Morocco; many more options including Lisbon from Montpellier and Marseille
village is large with active wood industry, and promotes streetart
✦ there's a pile of old factory buildings, one now housing a bric-a-brac community repurposing space, and a micro-brewery(!)
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…towards ownership and use in any property you think is a good candidate! To discuss post on Facebook, or email jacob@hub.house; and if you're especially eager join our Whatsapp group (for coordinating visits, votes and share issues).