August 7-12, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #96
Contact phone numbers
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203
Land: 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: the New York and Toronto numbers are "local calls" for people in the area codes; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code to either the "315" or the "416" area code.
Pictures: house 101 and the next project.
The Story: NEXT PROJECT NOW CONFIRMED!!!!!! and the
fast tracking of our house
Weather: sunny with virtually no rain.
Unit 101: The "maestro de obra" has been on the
job, on the site and on the unit floor from start to
sometimes late at night finish. He's smart. He
knows you don't screw up on the bosses house!!! This
unit has been the subject of fast and well
coordinated work by our labor own forces as well as
subcontractors-window people, granite, cabinetry, and
doors. Twenty-five people working in a confined space
doing a variety of different tasks with no casualties
to personnel, egos, or to the physical structure
itself was an incredible achievement . We have
advanced an incredible amount in the last two weeks.
We have the guest bedroom and the connected bathroom
yet to finish. We had selected a particular color of
granite which the supplier proceeded to screw up. We
maintained our position and only late Saturday did he
installed the correct granite. Our whole color scheme
was based on this. Lita did get her specially painted
vanity bowl featuring a "parrot" like Vicka. We had
to make a few adjustments but it happened. Now we
will select the tile and the wall color. Sunday and
Monday the inside finishing details will be completed
as well as cleaning.
The mosaic at the entrance way was / is a bit of
"fun". It features a parrot (Vicka) sitting on a
bunch of ripe and unripe bananas hanging from a banana
tree and a cat (Hugo) with a green feather sticking
out of his mouth. It's quite a work of art and
everyone has watched its progression and had lots of
fun. I saw one of the workers using his picture phone
so he could share it with his family.
The cabinet maker had a bit of a shock when he went to
install the bedroom set. All the components measured
10cm. wider than the room. He had a problem! He
scratched his head, kicked himself, removed one of the
components and returned the next day-it all fits now.
This next week will see the completion of minor
things and the completion of the exterior.
Unit 102: Not a lot of focus here this week but next
week we will begin to shift the emphasis and return to
a normal work load as well as incorporate a couple of
holidays we plowed through. Saturday saw the removal
of two large fan palms in front of both 101/102.
These were relocated to the new property along with a
number of banana seedlings and a couple of
multi-palms. The area in front of 102 will now be
landscaped as soon as we finish the scaffold work on
Lockers: doors and shelves are being made and
installed for those who want shelving. Minor
landscaping is progressing around this former
Electrical System Upgrade: We've had the inspection
an everything passed. We are now awaiting the
installation of the meters from ICE so we can make the
house connections-then we might get some bright light
and the various motors will purr.
Marketing: it appears we have one multiyear lease
coming on line. The owner will be happy. A son who
looks after his mother who lives in Florida needs
round the clock help. He said it would cost around
$150,000 each year in Florida to provide the total
care and housing she needs.
We've had a number of lookers but for the most part,
no commitments. Some low ball offers but... And
some people with no money but big aspirations and
Internet: seems to have been working but we don't
have the reliability of the VOIP phone we use to have.
It appears that ICE / RACSA have oversold their
capability and cannot maintain their signal quality.
Thus, internet and VOIP service suffers. There is
nothing we can do about it. It seems that ICE is
getting lots of complaints but like any monopoly, does
it really care???
The unconditional offer was made and
accepted on Monday. The deal is now firm -we own the
land outright. This search took 10+ months and took
us through probably 50 different properties.
As work winds down at Los Jardines over the next
month, we will transfer our crew to the new property.
There is lots of work which can be usefully started
and for which we do not need government approvals, --
eg clearing the underbrush and planting the core
garden elements, cleaning the stream, building the
perimeter wall, setting up the infrastructure to
support the future construction, etc. In the mean
time, we will figure out the master plan and proceed
with the applications.
As of now, the working name for this new community is
"The Garden Residences of Rio Oro". The site is 9
acres / (4 hectares. 40,000 square meters); this is 4
times the size of Los Jardines. We anticipate that
when finished in 5-6 years, we will have built from
85-100 homes with a probable total sales of around
$16M to $20 million.
It will be developed along the same philosophy of Los
Jardines but with a few differences:
The legal structure will be condominiums. Bank
financing should be readily available to qualified
purchasers. We hope to attract Costa Rican as well as
non-Costa Rican purchasers. The quality will be the
same as Los Jardines-lots of attention to details,
gorgeous cabinetry and built in book cases / display
centers, granite counters and vanities, American
Standard plumbing fixtures and faucets, recessed
halogen lighting, home security systems, back up
emergency lighting, etc. For the most part, each
house will have space for a clothes washer/dryer and
for a built in dishwasher. The more expensive houses
will have larger refrigerators . Virtually, all the
houses will have hot water tanks vs. the gas demand
heaters used at Los Jardines We expect to have mostly
covered parking. . We will have state of the art
telecommunications systems and probably 24/7 on site
We will build a variety of one and two story houses as
well as side splits and back splits in order to take
advantage of the varied terrain. The houses will
range in size and will include one to three bedrooms,
some with maids quarters, Many of the homes will be
detached; a number will be in small multiple units-4
or 6 plexes. We will orient the houses such that they
capitalize on the mountain, or valley views or on the
river presence and landscaped gardens. While we expect
to build homes for sale, we also expect to sell lots
and work with purchasers of those lots to build custom
Extensive nature paths will wind along on either side
of the stream which runs lengthwise through the
property. The stream (Rio Oro) will be spanned by
several suspension bridges, These bridges will connect
the two sides of the land and tie them together into a
community. Multiple swimming pools-probably 5 -each
with waterfalls and each with recreational and social
facilities, as well as well as water fountains,
extensive landscaping ,and night time lighting will be
prominent features of the development. We will have
on-site property management and will offer
lock-and-leave as well as leave-and-lease capability.
At Los Jardines we built a substantial portion of the
common element areas first such that prospective
purchasers had a better idea of what they were
getting. In this case, we expect the site will be
developed in phases and each phase will probably
proceed more in parallel with house construction
because we expect to have an extensive master plan and
we have Los Jardines to help prospective purchasers
visualize the end product. In addition, the scale of
this project and the fact that there are two municipal
entrances to the property (one on either side of the
stream) means we can develop it in phases.
We are currently asking for site planning proposals
from three architects. One of these is the same
architectural team which developed the Marriott Los
Suenos project and other high profile projects in
Marketing will begin after we have a master site plan.
We anticipate making available an opportunity for one
or two investors to purchase up to 40% of the land and
to participate in the subsequent development. In
addition, we anticipate making an attractive offer of
up to 20 early purchasers who have a comfort level
with us based on doing what we said we were going to
do at Residencias Los Jardines. Early purchasers at
Los Jardines not only realized a great capital gain
but enjoy a product which, in many cases, far exceeds
Both Paul and I are excited about this new
Our life has been totally consumed by ensuring the
work gets done, sourcing the products we want, and
trying to make decisions which work for us. Not all
has been smooth sailing-we painted the living
room/dining room, and kitchen three times now. Lita
and I still haven't gotten it together on the guest
bathroom and bedroom / Lita's personal retreat room.
We've put that on hold so we can focus on other
things. Curtains have been ordered and will be
installed on Thursday-just before the arrival of my
sister. We will begin to move a few things in on
Tuesday. We don't have a lot of furniture purchased
yet so will get buy with hand-me-downs until we fill
We have enjoyed several great meals as we discovered a
couple new restaurants.-"Tre Fratelli" near the Paco
intersection is serious Italian food,, nicely
presented and attentively served. I had forgotten
about this restaurant and when looking for a taste
sensation, a person from France e-mailed me whose last
name reminded me of this restaurant.
The second is a steak restaurant which I had passed
over for a number of years. I never saw anyone there
and I had heard that it was expensive. Well, it is
now packed with people every night and I guess we are
going to have to make a reservation to try it out.
I've never seen so many people at a restaurant before
this in CR.
We look forward to a more sane pace of life which we
hope begins in not more than a week. We are ready for
some peace and quiet time, some time to begin
exploring Costa Rica again. High on my list of places
is the middle and southern tip of the Guanacaste
Peninsula beginning with Samara south. Beginning in
November (weather dependent) I hope to take several
one week road trips to explore and enjoy this area.
The last two + years have been head down-ass up and
I've not had the time to enjoy my newly adopted
country - it's time for an appreciation break.
I've suffered thru a cold this past week. If I had a
choice between a cold and another operation, I might
choose the operation.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon