shared live+work spaces
for people going places with purpose

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

🏘#60 🥈77%  SOLD • €60k • commercial • rural • 3000m² complex • High bid was only €65k. Very interesting as a hub because it has loads of outdoor and shed space surrounded by greenery (see the report), walking distance to shops plus a station making town only 15mins; could host big gatherings; very tame environment so would be more inward-focussed. Compared Covilha, is less sunny, slightly colder winter, yet it is much greener and quieter and much less risk.
📍MapAdvert #1
southern France: Agen, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, (Toulouse, Bordeaux)
☃️2–10–16°  🏖27–36°  ☀️10 days  🌧9 days
🚩View Report
OKAY  🔨 effort
AWESOME  💰 cost
GOOD  🚃 transport
GOOD  ✈️ access
OKAY  🛒 shops
OKAY  🏙 towns
DUBIOUS  🏇 activities
DUBIOUS  ☀️ climate
DUBIOUS  🏔 nature
AWESOME  🌷 garden
OKAY  🏠 building
GOOD  🏘 neighbourhood
OKAY  📡 internet
Compare with all properties

Environment ✧ pleasant but unadventurous rolling agricultural with big rivers, nothing notable

Services ✧ 25mins walk village supermarket, restos and cafe/bar; town 15mins via train (€4) last return 8:30pm

Access ✧ station 5mins walk, Toulouse/Bordeaux ~1h45 train, Paris 4h; Cahors/Bergerac airports 1h drive

Notes ✧ fast Paris connections are possible which ranks it well for access with two daily Ouigo TGV to the local town in 3h15 and only €20!! 4h with connection to local station; but return can add an hour with change
✦ shops/village are a quiet walk/bike/scoot along backlane, but you can get to town in the same time by train as the stop is on the edge of the property
✦ 7ha of land on a slope, mostly field (below and to right of pin on the map) yet also a bit of woods; suitable for agriculture; there's a farm with yeard round veg supply and a brewery around corner
✦ appears fundamentally solid and is already built, versus Covilha which needs its shell to be built out, thus in this sense is much less risk, but the effort required on the fitout work is significant as every window and room are different but time can be taken doing it bit by bit if need be
✦ share cost would be less than Covilha, but it depends what we'd plan for the huge outbuildings, and cohousing will definately be cheaper; however monthly costs will not reduce because heating is expensive as are French taxes(!)
✦ has a 15m pool, would greatly improve winter/shoulder appeal if we heated it (can be done partly with geothermal/ground source) and had a sauna
✦ winters span 3 months with average temp of only 10° but still some nice days hitting 16° to get out so fine for working if not being more active; probably less rental demand than Covilha (still better than the UK though!)
✦ could accommodate camping for more event capacity, and also function as a base for vanlife
✦ there's a fair selection of cafes and restaurants around local towns and villages for outings and in the village itself
✦ the biggest issue as a hub is that it comprises multiple seperate buildings some distance apart, however the first is only 15m so can have a sealed hall connecting them, and for the main accommodation block I'm envisaging a lovely long greenhouse, at 80m it'd be a lot of glass but could be done affordably and may also provide warm air for solar space heating; at the very least a covered walkway is essential
1,000m2 of outbuildings suitable for workshops/workspaces/indoor sports extending over 70m long(!) but need to be more presentable with new sheet roofing, else parts for demolition
✦ the biggest cost would be heating and all the buildings are some distance apart; the main building's common areas would need new underfloor, but a groundsource heatpump from the south facing field would help
✦ could have an excellent glass conservatory in the courtyard (if not having the long greenhouse)
✦ built 1960s onwards (some parts older), vacated 2015 so many broken windows etc
✦ some minor asbestos present (floor tiles, and cement pipework; but in good condition for removal)
✦ most of the roofs appear to need only minor repairs although will require more extensiive work at some point; most windows should be replaced for better insulation and enlarged for more light but could simply be repaired in many cases
✦ the local town has undergone renovations with a new station facade and pedestrian boulevard and is quite presentable
✦ whilst Covilha had its parsnip festival, Agen is of course home to … Le Grand Pruneau Show (that's prunes!)
✦ in future (maybe ten years!) there'll be a new high-speed train line reducing the time to Bordeaux and Toulouse to about 1h including connection
✦ parcels: 47 (buildings and field) + 9 (trees above right) plus private track above and around; high res sat view:

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Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

#60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin sold at €65k. I'm going to proceed on registration of the co‑op ASAP so as to issue some preliminary membership contracts and actually know what solid commitments we have amongst us, rather than currently working on the assumption that only myself and a few others would be prepared.

I've earmarked the following for my next visits in the next week or two, so expect more videos!

  • #90 El Batán — in bad shape but cheap so the cost of local workers is probably ok given the excellent location and climate
  • #37 Minoterie de la Chalosse — whilst it has a similar work scope as Covilhã, is much smaller and natural next to a river / good village
  • #89 Complesso San Pietro — I'm in two minds as the countryside seems boring including the beach, good towns though


This is really all there is currently in the realm of reasonableness. Once contracts start being drawn up I'll evaluate more expensive properties, perhaps #78 Proença a Velha, #88 Alcoy. If you've leads or ideas, post them!

Harry👋 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

For me personally, the weather is quite important (probably just because I come from the North of England so I'm always trying to escape the rain!) - seeing the rainfall figures for Covilhã really put me off, and if we were thinking of opening it up to people for short term lets,I'm not sure who would come outside of the 4 months where rainfall is less than 80mm per month (that's a lot!). Personally I prefer colder climate to rain, so south of france and #60 Institut Lamothe‑Poulin is better for this, however with properties in the South of Spain/Portugal you get a much milder climate, year round, and the potential for people to come and use it as a winter getaway from Northern Europe, as they do so successfully at Sun and Co in Javea.

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

For a bit of a change here's a video! I find talking to a camera rather discombobulating, but like rambling so here's a long ramble through #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin.

I've got an estimate back from the department of public finances for the property rates, which with a bit of wrangling, would only be around €8k. So let's see if anyone bids, or not as was the case last time. I'm definitely not pursuing if there's competition, as we would need time to follow through on an offer.

Otherwise this is the last large property and I'll focus on mini-hubs here on in. I'll do some more videos as this somewhat boring (to observe) scouting bit progress, and once we've got folks to help who can do it better we'll have regular video diary updates so everyone can be part of the action. 👷‍♂️👍 I actually had a vlog waaaaay back in 2005, but I was just mucking around with duck-taping my camera to my Vespa and putt-putting along the Croisette (pre-actioncams!).

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

Quick update. I'm going back to #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin this Saturday 15th if anyone wants to join. 🚅 Only 3h15 and €20 from Paris. 😉 Happy to meet any other time too as I'm quite near although probably better after the auction… if I bid. 😯

I've run some numbers and it looks do‑able. I've allocated all 20 pods towards the community fund. One month share is coming in around €1400 and studios €26k.

There's however two reasons I may not proceed: 1. the auction obviously, if it turns into a competition it would exceed the cash I myself could put down for the deposit, and as we're not yet incorporated I probably wouldn't take the risk. 2. the rates/taxes.

I've researched some options for France, and a non‑profit association (moderately difficult) could reduce property rates to a much lower band albeit slightly dubious operationally. Waiting on a response from the authorities. The higher property rates corresponding a 1-star hotel are still just about okay but would probably eliminate the community fund. There's potential for other revenue but it might be a bit optimistic to get there without a long runway.

This is how the proposition currently looks. I'll upload the forecast if things progress

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

Alrighty, I'm back from #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin—my feelings are that it's a pretty good candidate and its facilities would easily make up for having few surrounding activities. In fact it's a really good balance of rural and capacity for great gatherings. Withstanding a response from the department of public finances regarding the likely large rates bill, and whether or not there's other bids, I may even feel like sticking a deposit down myself.

Here's the preliminary report, and I'm putting numbers together.

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach?

As a quick update, this Thursday 30th I'm visiting #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin as the poll suggests the middle-path will be the best supported. Understandably. Time is ticking by and I'm keen to move so more easily reckoned with project would be welcome. This said, if you do prefer Covilhã then to mitigate risk a bit more I would be looking for some (equity) cofounders to help as yes, I'm feeling it's a bit too awesome to do first. 😅

Hope y'all understand my reckoning that the first property should be large and dynamic enough to welcome us all whilst capable of hosting interesting and fun gatherings. Less about the adventure and exploration out and about, which is more easily achieved from smaller properties that hopefully we'd add later, indeed others will join the network expanding everyone's options.

Feel free to share thoughts!

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Hub projects

Always interesting visiting properties! #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin was run by the department itself which doesn't pay taxes, so not known (yet).

The purchase duties wouldn't be significant (under €10k) but I'm talking of the annual taxes, which for a property this size could easily be €10k/year. Or in context for us, ~€40/month per room. It is calculated on both size and facilities (e.g. lots of bathrooms would increase it). Comparatively Portugal / #53 Têxtil Cravinos is much less annually, but more up‑front; this is less up‑front and more ongoing, so (arguably) better for scaling more slowly so long as we budget for several years of future taxes in the capital — although there should be several years free / reduced because it is not yet renovated.

For facilities I think Lamothe will be better, but as you said Cravinos is better for location. The important thing is that the first can be successful to do more. ;)

Ciprian Iamandi posted to Hub projects

Good luck on the visit on the 30th at #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin! The middle way strategy sounds good, too.
Just out of curiosity, how much are the taxes, in relation to the price of the property?

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Hub projects

These French ones are all auctions so if they don't sell they try again. I suspect #65 Résidence du Petit Rocher will sell, I visited one in a similar region, it was lovely nightmare, yet sold with multiple bids. Much more demand up north.

The biggest problem with France is taxes, I've made an enquiry to the department, and booked a visit for #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin on the 30th January as poll results are suggesting preference for the middling strategy, so I'll also do some quick plans in preparation. It has a better climate than up north and as much as I like damp northern woods and valleys (not sarcastic!) Agen has rivers to swim in summer. There's also now direct high speed services to Paris. 🚄

BTW I'll add reply‑notification emails ASAP. ;)

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Hub projects

Hey Ciprian good to see you here! I like your choices, same as me, I may yet visit the Tobacco warehouse, I'd gotten as far as negotiating to get some of the neighbour's garden for it. Not quite the potential as a larger property which I consider key for the first, if not maybe quite as large as #53 Têxtil Cravinos amazing as it'd be. The 1,000m2 of sheds/hangers at #60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin would be darn cool for projects/crafts/performance/indoor sports, and yes there'd be at the very least a communal minivan at all of the properties, essential for fun trips out.

Ciprian Iamandi posted to Hub projects

#60 Institut Lamothe-Poulin Lots of space, at an excellent price, although not so exciting surroundings. A car would be very useful to have here.

Jacob Jay🎩 posted to Poll: an alternative approach? #announcement

We've reached the point at which I have to decide the best path forwards. I've ended the promotional campaigns as there should be enough of us to complete a first phase at the least; withstanding the incorporation this wraps my initial investment into the project. So let's take stock and see where to go! It's those of you who give feedback who'll help decide the plan! 👍

I've actually found solutions for the issues at the lead candidate, Cravinos, so it's back on and I'm psyched for it. But it'll take much longer to do all three buildings (at a relaxed pace, first remains simple) and the contingency budget would need increasing making the total capital higher. (Returned or reinvested if unneeded, could be contractual instead of by vote.)

The updated share cost for a month is thus on the up, presently €1750, but I'm not expending more time updating the figures until I've gotten more feedback… see my updated report, with some quick interior renders of bedrooms and cohousing.

All this has made me consider that maybe we should start with something maybe less ambitious — what do you think?

If you all indicate a preference for something smaller with less risk, I will continue looking. There's a few on the list. We could still do Covilhã after.

Compromise is also possible. Whilst I'm not keen to back a more rural location first, there's a bunch of you who would. #60 Instituit Lamothe-Poulin (southern France) is a distinct possibility, reducing the risks whilst still allowing scaling and extra facilities in future—having both a station and 7ha of land. I'll go visit if you pick it in the following poll!

Otherwise if we're still all on board 🚀 then onwards with Covilhã, I've a pending meeting with the planning department, and a student of the architecture faculty up to help…

So, do let us all know know what you vote to support:
[you can choose multiple next; only counted if you've pledged]

Note that small satellite properties are not yet planned — keep an eye on posts in the other people's projects topic. 😉

BTW I'll be proposing a London meetup shortly…