- Guy Hedgecoe
- BBC News, Madrid
For anyone who dreams of moving to the countryside, how about buying an entire town?
Salto de Castro, in northwestern Spain, is for sale with an asking price of US$265,000.
Located on the border with Portugal, in the province of Zamora and three hours by car from Madrid, Salto de Castro has many of the buildings you would expect to find in a small Spanish town.
It includes 44 houses, a hotel, a church, a school, a municipal swimming pool and a barracks building that housed the Civil Guard.
But it has no inhabitants. Castro jump leads more than three decades abandoned.
The owner bought the town in the early 2000s, with the intention of turning it into a tourist spot. However, the eurozone crisis prevented the plan from prospering.
“The owner had a dream of having a hotel here, but everything was put on hold,” said Ronnie Rodriguez of Royal Invest, the company that represents him.
“He would still like the project to come true.”
On Idealista’s website, where the property is listed, the owner states: “I’m selling it because I’m an urbanite and I can’t cover the upkeep” of the town.
The owner is over 80 years old. The sale announcement has aroused interest, with more than 50,000 visits since it was published a week ago at this price.
The emptied Spain
Rodríguez said 300 people have expressed interest in buying, with inquiries from Russia, France, Belgium and the UK. A potential buyer has already put up money to reserve it.
Salto de Castro was built by the Iberduero electricity generation company to house the families of the workers who built the nearby reservoir, since the early 1950s.
However, the inhabitants moved out after its completion and the village was totally abandoned in the late 1980s.
The surrounding area is part of what is known as “Empty Spain”, sparsely populated rural areas that lack many of the services found in towns and cities.
Salto de Castro has been put up for sale before, for up to $6.6 million. Nevertheless, with no buyers and many of the buildings destroyed, the price has plummeted.
The sale price of US$265,000 is only enough for a one-bedroom apartment in wealthy areas of Madrid or Barcelona.
But the potential buyer of Salto de Castro might need a lot of money, at least to attract visitors.
According to Idealista, the necessary investment for the town to be fully functional and profitable would not exceed US$2 million.
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