A new 20 million euro project overseen by Porto-based company Colossalweek, seeks to completely transform Silves’ emblematic Fábrica do Inglês which has remained abandoned for a number of years, into a 5-star apartment-hotel, also reopening at the same time the Cork Museum.
After a meeting with the Council a request for the authorization of the building works was approved unanimously, as revealed by the Terra Ruiva newspaper. However, despite this favourable decision from the municipality, the progress of the project is still dependent on several steps, as is often the case in encounters with Portuguese bureaucracy.
Firstly, Colossalweek has to buy the building from Caixa Geral de Depósitos, which owns the two buildings that make up the Fábrica do Inglês. On this front we know that negotiations are currently ongoing.
After this, the company must jump through a number of hoops to be authorized by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage, since the existing estate to which Cork Museum belongs is in the midst of the process to have it classified as a cultural heritage centre of public interest.
The proposed project includes the construction of 130 high-quality apartments for tourism, as well as a spa, swimming pools, and a restaurant. Regarding the Museum, Colossalweek has recognised that it is an iconic space linked to the history of Silves, as was proven back in 2011 when it was voted as the Best Industrial Museum in Europe. Thus, the idea is to reopen it.
However, one mustn’t be too hopeful, there have to talks of renovating the Fábrica for a number of years, of which nothing sprang. Back in 2014, the Museum’s estate, auctioned off by Caixa Geral de Depósitos, was purchased by the Nogueira Group. Later, it passed into the hands of a number of companies linked to the same group, and the formerly grand establishment fell into ruin. The situation led to issues being raised by Silves Council, which went down the route of legal action and brought the case to court due to them not being informed of this transfer of assets. The outcome of this legal action is unknown, however the Council’s approval of Colossalweek’s request suggests that they were successful in taking back the Fábrica.