collective live+work spaces
for people going places with purpose

Hotel Madonna
property details
for a Hub House co-operative coliving project

#240 🥇91%  REJECT • €270k • typical • town • 2200m² complex • large old hotel in decent town at base of Pyrénées
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Lourdes, Pyrenees — near Tarbes, (Toulouse)
☃️4–11–19°☀️8☁️12 • 🍂14–27°☀️7☁️10 ↥400m
GOOD  🔨 effort
GREAT  🚌 transport
GOOD  ✈️ access
GOOD  🛒 shops
GREAT  🏙 towns
GREAT  🧗 activities
OKAY  ☀️ climate
GOOD  ⛰️ nature
OKAY  🌷 garden
GOOD  🏠 building
GOOD  ⛲️ hood
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Environment ✧ rolling agricultural between base of mountains and plains; varied good trails

Services ✧ all; 2 bigger towns 15/25mins train (last 10pm)

Access ✧ station 20mins walk: 5h Paris direct; airport 15mins

Notes ✧ not a likely candidate due to scale of the project, however demonstrates an interesting approach
✦ the town is a well established pilgrimage site (3rd amongst catholics worldwide, 3 million visitors pre-pandemic, most foreign), thus lots of hotels (135+) with the town's population just 10k, and eateries, albeit catering to less particular older visitors
✦ is thus well connected with a direct trains from Paris (TGV and sleeper); the Toulouse–Barcelona route (3h) should also reopen with a moderate 2h connection putting it at the same duration as Paris (with a change)
the airport is served year-round to Malta (nomads), Stansted, Dublin, Milan; with seasonal to Palermo (nomads), and Krakow, amongst others, with Lisbon (loadsa nomads!) likely to be added; in addition Toulouse airport is 3h by transit
not immediately obviously a good workation property due to being in town centre, however it has the benefits of convenient facilities whilst also being very nicely positioned for nature, though from the door this a bit limited (par for most properties), but by a short drive, or bus there's nice variety, however the better outings mainly require driving
having been solely focussed on pilgrimage, with the forecast now that as pilgrims age (and die) there will be significantly less visitors, thus the town must change and adapt; it has introduced a mid term plan (€100m; 38m from the state) to regenerate itself and diversify thus presents a good time to invest (thoughly probably hotels prices will continue to fall); the plans include improving its squares and some riverbank (underway), expanding pedestrian zones, better supporting outdoor sports and wider culture, plus for some novelty something to do with supporting the wool industry
decent public garden and also a bit of grassy riverbank
✦ indoor market; a good number of cafes and restaurants (including several foreign)
✦ hikes 20mins (10mins bike) along a lane (for a 1h30 circuit climbing the adjacant hilltop, or a quicker 30mins stroll along pilgrim steps); better from a funicular 25mins/bus
✦ the next train stop adds variety for return from one-way bikes (or gentle 3h wooded hike)
✦ many trails around on edge of large natural park, both easy along valleys and up into the mountains; marked biking trails with multiple loops varying from easy woods to open hills and mountainous (430km from town, 1100km total)
✦ tennis courts and hamman/sauna/indoor pool close
✦ lake very close (15mins bike/bus) with SUP; also kayaking close
✦ bikepark accessible from the town on the funicular; host to the world cup 3 times
✦ several climbing spots within walking distance; exceptional giant indoor climbing centre in Tarbes (15mins train); 30mins to a via ferrata
✦ 20km paved greenway to mountains, good for rollerblading, 1h easy bike
✦ direct bus to pic du midi 1h15; driving into mountains 40mins-1h
✦ 30mins to cross-country ski and station with skilifts (and another bikepark), 40mins to major station (and another bikepark)
✦ thus reasonable selection of activities possible by public transport, and more interesting ones requring driving
a bit nippy in the winter but still some good warm sunny days
Property ✧ direct sale; empty since prior to 2004, operated from 1972 and at some point added 2 floors
✦ properties such as this generally end up at low value due to the cost of redeveloping them to code using licensed professionals in order for rentals / public access to be allowed; not required for a collective project where it can be undertaken not only bit by bit, but also by ourselves (providing we of course ensure and review all works do match standards if public rentals were offered)
large 8-floor +attic +basement 300m2 footprint property that could be split and part-purchased, owner is open to propositions and already proposed splitting the property (front and rear)
strictly this it is proposed for sale as the complete building, however comprises two wings for which the seller is apparently very flexible to sell individually or maybe even on deferred terms, thus leaving open the possibility of a later acquisition of the second half
✦ ~270k for the larger first half is not unreasonable given the potential for varied spaces and expansion, though is not far off the cost of something ready to use (with limited spaces)
✦ the complete property is not great value at €450k, but given as it would offer multiple independent apartments (if not the nicest) does still represent value; for comparison see #102 which is not only larger but every room and apartment is surrounded by nature with an excellent garden if a trifle isolated
ranks as good on work due to layout being funcitonally similar to requirements, and probably partly usable; due to the scale the works are extensive but would mainly be refitting and could be done unit by unit leaving whole floors until needed
✦ the lift should involve a not inconsiderable cost to replace cables and motors (easily over €15k), though to begin only lower floors need be used so 8 flights for the reward of the top floor terrace wouldn't be too hard to handle😂
✦ the garden rank however depends upon not insignificant works including new construction and roof removal but again can be deferred as the terrace is of adequate size for part occupancy
✦ the windows are all usable, however would all need upgrading but possible to do bit by bit
270k front half: (estimates)
✦ 1050m2
✦ 800m2 / 100m2 building *8 +attic +basement
✦ 250m2 / ~35m2 8-floor extension with stairs and roof terrace (south and west exposure with view of fort an mountains, part of the attic penthouse could become a conservatory)
180k rear half:
✦ 900m2
✦ 700m2 / 100m2 7-floor building
✦ 150m2 / 25m2 6-floor extension
mid extension: (could be split but not suitable dedicated to front half)
✦ 120m2 / 60m2 2 floor extension
ground and 1st would be open to all members inc dropins, 1st ex dropins, 2nd+ residents only
✦ ground floor covers 200–250m2+ for lively coworking/events/lounge, plus 50–100m2 garage and small workshop
✦ 1st floor would be kitchen dining and lively lounge (with 3-door balcony)
✦ 2nd floor could have an activity room (e.g. yoga) and second kitchen onto new roof terrace, plus pods
✦ 5th floor would have a library lounge and focus coworking (with 3-door balcony)
✦ half the rear 7th floor could be a solarium with new 25m2 roof terrace
✦ roof a small bar/conservatory with existing 30m2 terrace
8 independent cohousing units: exclusive to the rear building as 35m2 1-bed apartments, each having 3 windows but no views, yet catching sun from mid-morning through late afternoon; split between plus with south-east and south-west windows, and standard having only south(-west)
✦ 2 premium 35m2 studios with front views and balconies (4th floor)
✦ ~25 ensuite rooms: the front 6* 5 ensuites, 1 per floor having windows on two sides as premium, 1/3 having front balconies; this would ideally be reduced a bit more, probably with 2 more premium studios
✦ coownership for apartments might be circa €35k (35m2 raw space without fitout), and coliving circa €3k/month (both obviously plus membership fees)
✦ the rear rooms would be standard and very affordable as an EU base for nomads, whilst the front rooms would be higher spec at slightly below typical coliving rates (shoulder seasons)
garden is only okay if extra spaces are built:
✦ 60m2 extension could be converted to flat roof terrace on 2nd floor and with a higher (4th or above) balcony terrace of 50% the size so the lower still gets sun; it is however unfortunately overlooked by hotel room balconies though likely rarely used; would require rebuilding the 1st floor extension, in order to add two support columns for the roof terrace (and balcony); at the 2nd floor level this area does not catch much sun except around midday, however having a shaded but green outdoor area such as for outdoor eating or BBQs would be desireable
✦ instead of the balcony above, the 1st floor extension roof could be a simple terrace with part conservatory, and the rear 6th floor 25m2 extension roof could be a terrace with adjoining solarium, by enlarging the rear building windows to ceilign and floor; this section would catch sun mid morning through to early evening and is slightly below roof height of the next hotel thus not overlooked, but still surrounded by building rooftops yet can see some hilltop, as such it's walls would probabvly be planted to become a quiet terrace
✦ further the large front ground floor windows could fully open and have indoor plants which would be a very pleasant lively workspace/lounge (entrance would have to be around side to avoid people wandering in!)
the location is a riverfront street with trees, which the town may be beautifying; this neighbourhood is exclusively hotels for pilgrims and sees a lot of coaches, however given the building's height many spaces could be above it
✦ within view from the front of the building at the corner in the river an architecturally notable new bridge is being built which will improve the area significantly
✦ a disadvantage to this property is its height, as when the roof eventually needs repairing (seems ok as most not old, so some time off) it will require significant scaffolding, however for minor works the roofs can be accessed from the terrace
✦ same for the facade though this is also in quite good condition if an ungainly light brown, but would rather interestingly be a fab opportunity for an impressive mural, comissioning well known and upstart artists, and which without scaffolding could be started from the ground up (first few floors and around balconies simply with ladders) and finished with an articulated basket/boom lift, potentially adding to and changing it over time, perhaps even encouraging the town to adopt this as part of its «meeting place of intercultural exchange» plan (though likely to go nowhere)
taxes are fairly low for the town; probably min €10k for the whole building as a hotel thus could be reduced in a more preferable category (V-4 foyers, V-5 residences, VI-7 holiday centres, VII-1 non-profit training centres)
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