The buildings were declared Buildings of Public Interest in 1977 and were put to public auction by Revive, managed by Tourism of Portugal.

The State only had two requirements for the winners of the bid: the value of rent proposed by the candidates and the timeline for them to open their doors to the public. This decision wasn’t supported by the Cascais council, who argued that the concept of the restaurants and the degree of experience of the companies should’ve also been considered, the mayor told ECO.

Among the 25 candidates for the fort of S. Pedro, the concession was given to the company David Igrejas Unipessoal, Lda., which according to Informa D&B has only one worker, the owner-manager David Saragga Igrejas, an owner of Prego Gourmet, which was declared bankrupt in 2021 with debts to Novobanco, the Alegro Alfragide shopping centre and various suppliers like Pcarnes, Frustock and Easybatata.

David Saragga Igrejas was also one of four owners of the restaurant Folar da Vila, in Cascais, which also shut its doors.

Now, David Igrejas Unipessoal, Lda. will be responsible for the concession of the fort of S. Pedro for the next 50 years, with an average rent of 147,050 euros, circa €12,250 a month. The amount is almost 12 times higher than the €12,400 of rent demanded for candidates in the contest. Beyond the annual rent, David Saragga Igrejas is also responsible for the necessary investment for the requalification and adaptation of the building – which has a surface area of 1118.6 square metres, of which 395.4 square metres are under construction – into a restaurant.

According to the duties book published on the Revive portal, David Saragga Igrejas has “a maximum of three months” to make all the changes necessary and open the restaurant, otherwise the concession contract will be revoked. However, the proposal presented by the entrepreneur “anticipates business to open in 6 trimesters,” or rather, the three-year deadline has been cut by a third.

The fort of S. João da Cavadeira concession, meanwhile, saw 22 candidates presenting their case. It was given to Canário Tagarela, Unipessoal, Lda., a company founded in February 2022, two months before the deadline for giving in contest candidatures, the phase lasting from December 2022 to April 2022.

According to Informa D&B, the company counts on just one worker, owner/manager Gonçalo Pousinho, who’s linked as an owner in another company involved in organising tourism activities – Reaching Experience, Lda.

According to the Cascais council, Canário Tagarela will pay an annual rent of €147,100, which splits up into about 12,260 euros a month, with the concession being 50 years long. This is over 15 times above the minimum of €10,055 demanded in the contest.

This value also excludes investment into the building’s requalification, with owner Gonçalo Pousinho proposing to shorten the opening deadline by 18 months, as the duties book for this concession also specifies a “maximum deadline of three years.”

Both the fort of S. Pedro and of S. João have been left unmaintained for years and find themselves in an advanced state of degradation. The fort of S. João hasn’t carried out military function since 1843 and is part of the Joanine forts erected between 1642 and 1648 to create a defensive line between São Julião da Barra and Cabo da Roca.

The fort of S. Pedro, located on Poça beach, after its deactivation in the 19th century went through various owners, with the structure being used for many purposes. In 1954 it was turned into the Tea House and, since 1957, has been rented to an individual, being used initially as a restaurant and then later as a nightclub.

ECO questioned Tourism of Portugal over their decisions but hasn’t received any answer.

The Revive program was launched in 2016 by the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Defence and Culture in order to requalify State heritage for tourism ends, it counts with the collaboration of local governments and is coordinated by Tourism of Portugal.

Up until now, 18 public derelict structures have been conceded, resulting in a total of 2.5 million euros a year in rent paid to the State, and 139 million being invested into the recovery of these buildings.


Star in the 2015 music video for the hit single “Headlights” by German musician, DJ and record producer Robin Schulz featuring American singer-songwriter Ilsey. Also a journalist.

Jay Bodsworth