Wednesday 3 November 2010

Vende Se

I'm obliged to regular reader Marisa for drawing my attention to an advertisement for apartments for sale on the sea-front at Faja Grande.

As Marisa is natural das Flores but presently resident elsewhere (too bad!), she'll be interested to know there's also a big banner on the wall of the developers', Castanheira & Soares, building in the Boqueirao industrial estate in Santa Cruz which I noticed for the first time the other day when we were shopping at Braga's.

Looks pretty cool doesn't it? This little slice of paradise is being offered for €245,000 (£215k/$345k). As someone said in a comment on the Forum Ilha das Flores blog, quite pithily (Cicely), I thought: "Is that €245k for all of them or each apartment?" 

Whatever the value for money, the fact these apartments are now being marketed is good news because it means - doesn't it? - that C&S will come under some pressure to finish them. (For the avoidance of doubt - as we lawyers are wont to say when actually we're causing lots of it - these apartments aren't finished yet.) They were started more than two years ago and progress on the construction has been leisurely to put it mildly and caused a right eye-sore along the sea-front of Europe's west-most village.

They'll have nice views when finished, though:-

And perhaps completion may also encourage the Camara Municipal of Lajes das Flores to tarmac the Avenida Marginal (which sounds like one of those great sea-fronts of the world like Nice's Promenade des Anglais or Havana's Malecon) to access these new apartments. The Camara was at pains to advertise before the election last year that it was going to be doing the Avenida muito em breve but then seemed to lose interest shortly after they won the election.

O progresso acabou ...

And on the subject of holiday apartments with nice views, no sooner have they not finished one lot than they've started on another:-

That would just be so not allowed where I come from!

In Scotland, that site would be in a National Scenic Area, Conservation Area, Croftland (protected agricultural smallholdings), Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar Site (did you know that Ramsar, as in "site", is not an acronym but the name of a place in Iran?), Natura 2000 Site, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area, Limestone Pavement, Smokeless Zone, Inside Leg, you name it - it would be easier to get planning permission to stick up a chalet on the lawn of Buckingham Palace. The site in the picture above is probably within all these designations on Flores (it's definitely within a UN Biosphere Reserve), it's just that the authorities here have a more flexible interpretation of "local subsidiarity" and "regional adaptability" than we do in Britain.

Both of these developments are being built by the same contractor who also happens to be doing our neighbours' extension:-

Now I don't want to sound like some awful NIMBY ("Not In My Back Yard") incomer telling people round here how they should run their island. (That's what all awful incoming NIMBY's say, isn't it?) In fact I remember, a while back, getting quite ventilated with a local telling her I thought it was great that round here you could build with little obstruction from the powers-that-be compared with how it works in Scotland where it's practically impossible to get permission to build outside the zones decreed by the powers-that-be (and not that easy even within them). A couple of years on, I've moderated my views somewhat and would say that there's a balance that's not being struck either on Flores or in Scotland.

So there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Kathie said...

Forgive me, but is there really that much demand for apartments there costing €245,000 (= £215K = $345K)? Who are the anticipated purchasers -- locals who'll live in them year-round, emigrant "summer flies" who desire a pied-à-terre for vacation, or investors who plan to rent them out to tourists? Not that it isn't an idyllic spot, mind, but I'm surprised there'd be a critical mass of potential buyers in such a remote spot who could afford such prices.

Marisa said...

I'll vote for you if you run for mayor Neil. (I'm from Graciosa, my maternal family is from Flores, byt I consider myself as both). It's really a shame what they're doing, the so called "progress" in those little minds is speechless.
Kathie of course that there are no buyers, not for those prices, at least. And they just ruined the landscape. Fajã should be preserved as Neil says, and everyone should follow his example by restoring the houses that already exists.

Kathie said...

Marisa, I'm so glad you mentioned about existing houses on the west coast that aren't being restored, because after I posted last night I started wondering about that. What a terrible loss of Flores' patrimony, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Oh, i know my comment is almost three years late (bear with me) but in reply to Marisa above, i must say that i visited Flores a few months back (it's now October 2013) and it was absolutely love (more like mad passion) at first sight. And i have looked high and low for an old house to buy & rebuild (literally walked dozens of miles in a week) and could find none (or none that was not outrageously overpriced or located in Ponta, where the local Government, i hear, is waiting for the cliff to come crashing down upon the few stubborn locals that still live there). So, what gives? Where are all these old houses on sale to be rebuilt? I would gladly buy one .... never seen a more charming place than Flores' West Coast in my entire life, kind regards,
Virginia (i wonder if anyone is going to read this even, after so long...)