Five-star hotel project on hold as company negotiates Fábrica do Inglês takeover

Fábrica do Inglês to be named “monument of public interest”

A formal bid to name the Fábrica do Inglês complex in Silves a “monument of public interest” has been made by the Board of Cultural Heritage (DGPC).

The announcement was published last week in State newspaper Diário da República. Says DGPC, the proposal will be presented to the Deputy Secretary of State for Cultural Heritage with the goal of attributing the status to the entire complex, including its gardens and the cork museum’s moveable assets.

The procedure to grant this status to Fábrica do Inglês started nearly three years ago in April 2019 after a previous attempt in October 2018 did not move forward due to failed deadlines.

This latest bid will be up for public consultation for 30 days. The proposal can be consulted on the websites of DGPC, the Regional Culture Board of Algarve and Silves Council, or in person at the Regional Culture Board of Algarve headquarters in Faro (booking required). Citizens can submit their opinions to the regional culture board.

The proposal highlights several reasons why Fábrica do Inglês – which was built in 1893-94 and served as a cork factory – is deserving of MIP status.

Apart from its historical significance to the town, the complex is singled out for its industrial architecture which was “uncommon” at the time it was built.

After nearly a century dedicated to the production of cork, Fábrica do Inglês was purchased by the Alicoop group and turned into a “tourist entertainment complex” with restaurants and venues for live performances and the opening of a cork museum in the previous factory area.

However, the complex was abandoned when the group went bankrupt in 2010 and has remained closed.

In 2014, the complex and the assets of the museum were sold in a public auction. The assets went to Grupo Nogueira – which outbid the local council – for €36,000, while State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos took over the complex for €2.2 million.

Project to build five-star hotel and reopen cork museum still moving forward
In 2019, the Resident was the first to report that talks were taking place to sell the complex to a private developer who would renovate the whole site and build a new five-star hotel within it, as well as reopen its iconic cork museum.

Silves Council has confirmed to the Resident that the project is still on the table and that CGD is in the process of selling the complex to an interested developer. The council adds that the architecture project was approved in September 2021 after the developer made three requests for information between 2019 and 2020 – all of which were approved by the local council.

The council also says that the new “monument of public interest” status will not affect the project in any way as DGPC has submitted a favourable review, stating that it “respects the cultural, historical and architectural values that the bid to classify Fábrica do Inglês as a monument of public interest aims to safeguard and preserve.”

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com