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Barreiro on Lisbon's South Bay is stretching its cool.

On wheels, Williamsburg style, Barreiro is building blocks. Rewind Williamsburg for an instant, and you'll see Barreiro today.

Giant mural in Barreiro by famed Portuguese street artist Vhils. Picture Victor Oliveira / Portuguese Eyes

Aerial view of Barreiro Bay

Imagine investing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the late 1990s—a time when the hood was predominantly inhabited by first-generation Italians, Hassidic Jews, and Puerto Rican immigrants. Prospective renters had two peculiar choices: a paper-thin-wall Polish-built working-class house in Greenpoint but lacking transportation options, or a raw warehouse without heating, closer to the L train and Bedford Avenue. Curbed NYC provides Williamsburg maps before and after: "With one-family housing prices more than four times higher than those in the early 2000s, Williamsburg’s transformation is perhaps the most well-known neighborhood shift in the city. Many expansive new developments—some more controversial than others—have popped up along the historically industrial waterfront over the past 15 years."

In 1998, Tom McGeveran opted for a loft in an ex-doll factory, recounting:

"When we moved into our 1,300-square-foot loft with 20-foot ceilings and a giant bank of windows offering a view of Brooklyn and, beyond it, the Manhattan skyline stretching from the Statue of Liberty to the Queensboro Bridge, there were rough-outs for a kitchen and bathroom, a hole drilled into the floor with a sewage outtake for establishing a toilet, and electricity was coming in the front door. That was it. All the rest was up to us. It cost $1,300 a month—a dollar a square foot—and we got a 10-year lease."

Williamsburg was a real estate leap of faith—a post-industrial wilderness battered by harsh winter winds and sweltering summer heat. Initially boasting just a handful of dives and vintage stores, the area transformed into a prime example of "real estate gentrification." Beer gardens, chic indie boutiques, organic food outlets, yoga studios, and towering condo structures now replace the once atmospheric Domino Sugar Factory.

When the factory was built in 1882, it replaced a sugar-house that had been destroyed by a fire. The building was originally the home of Havemeyers & Elders Sugar Company. Havemeyers later merged with 17 other sugar refineries to form American Sugar Refining, whose sugar was branded as Domino Sugar in 1902. [Source] It was completely demolished in December 2014.

Renderings courtesy of Field Operations and Bjarke Ingels Group for Two Trees Management are the most recent projects projected on Williamsburg riverfront. With controversies. "Some question the wisdom of a new waterfront project when the sobering realities and devastating consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored. Climate scientists have predicted a six-foot sea level rise in the next 80 years, which would bring regular flooding and intense storm surges to New York’s shoreline." [Source]

Yet, amidst this evolution, Williamsburg's music scene stands out. Before reading about Barreiro, craft a playlist featuring the legendary voices and bands that emerged from Williamsburg: Os Mutantes [Brazilian Rock], "Chan” Marshall aka Cat Power, indie rock/psychedelic folk sensation Neutral Milk Hotel, the iconic '70s band Television, which later relocated to LA post-legalization of weed, dealing a blow to Brooklyn. Argh!

For a deeper dive into the intensity of the early 2000s music scene, don't miss the documentary "Meet Me in the Bathroom" [2022], produced by the excellent Dogwoof in London. But frankly, from where it came from, who could have foreseen the incredible journey this piece of land would embark on in just two decades? One day, hard even to know what year that was, “the hamlet that started it all, that arbiter of cool, of hip — Williamsburg, that ol’ Billyburg, well, it’s done for. Old news. Dead and gone. Passé. You know it, I know it, hell, your mother probably even knows it. The signs are all there: the faux-wood-paneled Dunkin Donuts, the SoulCycle studio, the brand-new Whole Foods. These harbingers of that dreaded and heavily loaded word “gentrification” have arrived en masse, and just about everyone seems to have taken notice,” wrote Paul Adler on Medium in 2015.


November 2023. The median home sale price in Williamsburg was $1.2M. A total of 82 assets were sold, representing a 41.4% growth compared to November 2022. The median price per square foot was $1,261. The median home sale price in Brooklyn was $749K. [Source]

Oficina De Teatro Mario Pereira. Picture Victor Oliveira / Portuguese Eyes.

Barreiro channels the vibes of Billyburg's old days.

With an active working class, post-industrial resilience, a burgeoning art scene, and art residencies, along with a highly promising property future, Barreiro, part of the District of Setúbal on the south bank of the Tagus River Estuary spanning 36.41km², is tomorrow’s best news.

Strategically positioned in the Lisbon metropolitan area, bathed by the Tagus River and supported by a significant road-rail-fluvial terminal, Barreiro offers easy access to both Lisbon and Setúbal via highways and ferry, catering to its 78,359 inhabitants [2021 figures]. Roughly 40 kilometers from Lisbon and 35 kilometers from Setúbal, Barreiro is on the rise!

City renovation and numerous real estate developments create a playground for architects. The city is in full swing with a clear political vision at its core and business interests in a rare open land just 40 minutes from Lisbon by ferry.

The buzzing high street of Barreiro a weekday of December 2023.

For those seeking a productive lifestyle with creative independence, Barreiro provides an autonomous infrastructure with local shops, a giant Lidl, supermarkets, schools, sports complexes, and recreational areas. Green spaces like Parque Catarina Eufémia and the Parque Recreativo da Cidade (Polis) between the river and Rua da Maputo add to the charm. Daily strolls along the vibrant high street for deliciously fresh pastries serve as motivation in themselves.

For eco-lifestyle enthusiasts into cycling and walking, explore the 10.8-km loop trail near Barreiro. Generally considered moderately challenging, the route takes an average of 2 h 15 min to complete. It's great for road biking and walking, offering a serene exploration with few encounters. The trail is open year-round and beautiful to visit anytime. [Source]

And consider reflecting on your business plan amidst the peaceful landscape of Mata Nacional da Machada, just a 20-minute drive from Barreiro Old Town.

Trekking trails by

Praia da Costa Caparica from above by @maxslch / unsplash

Barreiro has something Billyburg never did. Positioned at the crossroads of the enchanting Praia da Costa Caparica, near the celebrity magnet Comporta/Melides, and boldly facing Lisbon from the other side of the estuary, Barreiro anticipates playing a significant card in the real estate game this year, swiftly grooming its shiny future.

The Lisbon South Bay area includes three districts: Almada, Barreiro, and Seixal. Known for their historic ties to the Tagus River, proximity to stunning locations like Praia da Costa Caparica, the Natural Park of Arrabida, beach-town Sesimbra, and the city of Setúbal, these districts thrive amid the global attention Portugal is currently receiving. Foreign investment surged by 24% in 2022. As the capital city stretches, everyone desires a piece on the riverside, and Barreiro, with its industrious culture, strategic location, and waste land, emerges as the Joker Card. With mild winters, three hundred days of sunshine, and even on moody days in its Old Town, one can sense it—Barreiro is smiling. On wheels and simultaneously laid back in its always-soft climates, it is where every creative, entrepreneur, and remote worker should be investing today.

Barreiro Old Town blends derelict buildings with jewelleries shops, house renovations with terraces on the riverfront and plenty of parking place everywhere. Reportage in Barreiro by

You can feel it and sense it when walking along the Old Town with its charming Cuban Havana flavor. There is acute evidence that what we see today will be partially gone or restored tomorrow.

And the best proof is this three-bedroom triplex with a pool at a five-minute walk from a riverfront in the Old Town, masterminded by a talented female architect. If you work remotely, if you are a designer, software engineer, or architect yourself, if you’re in a duo, or have a family of two, and always dreamt of living, running, skating, and walking against the backdrop of mesmerizing sunsets on a daily basis, this #goldendream property is made for you.

A perfect combination of new construction and history. The house has three floors and a garden with 85m2. It was completely stripped with only the historic facades preserved, while the interior of the house was rebuilt with the highest energy-saving technologies. With two entrances, a bathroom on each floor, an impeccably conceived kitchen, and a garden with a swimming pool. The hot water system is solar panels and an electric booster for when it is needed. All windows are thermal and acoustic and open two ways. And AC is pre-set in all the rooms. For the absurd price of €375,000, less than a one-bedroom in wet London, this is a home in a place turned towards the future. [Property Link]

Barreiro Business Park covers 234 hectares beside the River Tagus, with already 200 companies based in the park, benefiting from a cargo port and an exclusive railway line. At the heart of the Park, PADA Studios is a worldwide platform devoted to the elaboration of artwork:

Since 1885, PADA Studios has offered artists time and space to develop their practice through the exploration of technique and process. The residency at PADA welcomes applications from artists in a variety of media for a duration of 1-2 months. The studios are set within a 1000 sqm warehouse with a partial mezzanine. The facility encompasses nine open-plan studios for artists-in-residence (35sqm per artist) as well as a reading room and library, kitchen and living area, and wood and metal workshops with hand and power tools. PADA also boasts a wide network of more specialist fabricators. PADA has a 100sqm gallery space as well as exciting satellite locations throughout the industrial park for interventions, installations, and events.

Finally, and despite further delays, a second airport for Lisbon is planned in Montijo between 2029 and 2035. Montijo and Barreiro are 30 minutes by car from each other, on the same side of the riverfront. If you dream of living a truly affordable European lifestyle from Portugal, Barreiro might be the perfect blueprint to design such a future. But make sure you'll take the earliest flight!

If you wish to invest in Portugal, reach out with your questions via whatsapp +351.962.621259 We hand-pick properties that are the best investment for you. Check also out our properties for sale. Follow us on instagram. Mojo is a Boutique Real Estate guiding and assisting investors and buyers in Portugal, scouting and cherry picking the perfect property within specifics and budget. We manage and coordinate the purchase process and renovations as well as the property for short and long-term rent striving optimal yields for our investors.   Tell us about your dream and we'll scout for you!


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