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Residencias Los Jardines - Life & Times

Issue #164: Nov 26 - Dec 1, 2007

Troubles in the Website Business…

» NOTES

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter —determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availabilty. Some readers may be interested in this information.

More and more, the content will be dominated by events of our new project, "El Dorado" for short. While the future is always uncertain, I again aim to tell it like it happens —the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that is what follows.

In an effort to make the format more interesting and visually appealing and to field inquiries re. El Dorado, the news letter is now being distributed by Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager, Hacienda El Dorado. I will remain the author.

» MARKETING & WEBSITE

Marketing: Our local advertising is generating about 3 leads a day. Inquiries from Ticos are for larger homes—3 and 4 bedroom units—as we expected. So far, we seem to be just outside their price range—too many amenities and too much land given over to parkland raises our costs. Perhaps we'll connect with some of our smaller unit designs.

Website: The changes are still bogged down. Our rock solid support for the past 5 years is getting a bit shaky. We have a long back log of corrections and new information but it's not getting done. We're still hopeful………

One new thing on the web is a new Power Point Presentation that Jan put together. It is shorter than before and summarizes the website. Jan found he was able to work with a person in El Salvador who did not have access to Internet but had the PPP on his computer.

We're trying to get the four new designs for the Cortez Split, Upper Floor on line.

» SALES

Sales: There were two rescissions—each from people who had committed to two units. In one case, the intended sale of a house in the U.S. fell apart; in the other case we don't  know. We had two more sales so we stayed even. 

» BANKING ARRANGEMENTS

Banking Arrangements: We met with BAC San Jose—the GE Capital based bank. They arrived an hour and 15 min. late. They don't provide construction financing—if we are giving an opportunity to a bank to increase their business, we expect a total package. We introduced a new to CR idea to them but don't think it will take because they are not oriented to thinking outside the box. They said they would get back to us but I won't hold my breath.

» LEGAL

Site Plan Construction Application: We are going to wait until we have the results—flow rate and quality-- from the well. This information will speed the review process along. We should have that info. in about 2 weeks.

» CONSTRUCTION LOG

Architect: The redesign which is in progress, will eliminate one elevator, and increase the amount of saleable space. In the original design, we had to build a lot of space but were not planning on incorporating that into living area. We are also reducing the size of the units. The number of units we end up with will be determined by the number of parking spaces we can create.  To do this, we will twist the building's footprint to better align to the lot line and create more space in front which will be incorporated into parking.

The architect did come up with 4 optional designs for the 3,200 sf space of the Cortez Upper, Split unit.  We now have, 4, two bedroom options in each selling at $225,000.

Surveyor: He's working on locating buildings 11 A and B and the black water treatment plant.

Fence: The iron work design is a product of the creative abilities of our workmen. Who needs an artist or designer when all that is necessary is to turn your workmen loose and let them come up with something. It's simple, it's all made on site by them, and we like it.

Well: We spotted the well location and leveled the area for the drilling rig. The rig will be set up over the next couple days and begin drilling around Wednesday of next week. They are estimating a week to drill 50 meters and install a 6" casing

Bridge: No more information at this point in time.

Retaining Walls: We received two more quotes—one was about $4,000 less than the most expensive.  There are some potential problems with it;  we have to assure ourselves that the savings are worth the possible problems.

Land Fill / Earth Moving: The dirt is dry enough to move but we can't get the bull dozer back.  We'll have to make some other arrangements.

» RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

For Sale :  Nothing available at the moment

For Lease:

Unit 109 is available Dec. 1, -- $1,600 mo.

One level, detached two bedroom, 2 bathroom with terrace. Lots and lots of beautiful built-in wood cabinetry—wall-to-wall floor to ceiling display and entertainment center, office with granite topped desk, dining room severing / storage cabinet,  etc.  The "U" shaped kitchen has granite counters. The great room (living room /office/dining/kitchen has a vaulted ceiling with direct and indirect lighting. Fully furnished – leather and granite—two queen sized beds, TV, wall decorations, full kitchen ready for cooking and entertaining.

Unit 123:  December

1,620 sf, 2 story, 2 1/2 bathrooms, LR, den, dining room, master bath has a Jacuzzi. Fully furnished in a tropical motif with two TVs, phone, high speed internet, Cable TV and satellite TV possible. $2,000 mo.

Shareholders Meeting: All the information has now been distributed.  The only thing remaining is the ballot and the proxy form which will be distributed next week.

Texas Hold'em: Back for friendly games on Wednesday nights. This game saw a never-before winner which means even beginners can win in this group of non-professional players.  We tried to get the winner to spot our fish-n-chips dinner on Friday but he claimed to have spent his winnings earlier in the day.

» OUR LIVES

Weather: The rains have finally backed off and the ground is drying up.  We've had numerous days of partly cloudy weather with no rain.  The trade winds are blowing in the dry season.

Work: Continues to be much more tolerable this week—I've actually had time to smell the roses.

Health: Lita got hold of some bad food and suffered for a couple days this week.  We each had blood work done.  Here it is possible go to any number of clinics and select the test you want—pay a modest fee, and 4 – 6 hrs later, get your results.  They help you interpret the results or take that info. to a doctor for an interpretation.  Fortunately, nothing jumped out at us that we can't manage.

Grocery Shopping: Once nice things about grocery shopping here is the freebies – especially on the weekends.  At Auto Mercado and at PriceMart, importers have tasting stations around the isles.  Attractive girls are there to entice shoppers to sample the products.  These products are freely distributed and the girls don't really care how many tastes you have.  Each station often has various products—3-5 different types of liquor, wine, beer, cheese,  sausages, turkey, cranberry sauce, processed meats, etc, etc.  One can have a whole lunch and be drunk by the time you get to the check out counter. At Auto Mercado, there could on any Saturday or Sunday be 30 stations—that's a lot of booze!!! This is a great way to shop—and you even get to test out unfamiliar products!!!  A special promotion on Saturday was e-mail me by AutoMercado—a free 1 lt. bottle of Baileys —your choice—Saturday only…….just show up---I'm going early!!!!

Brian, Lita, Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies— Chico and Chica.

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Contact phone numbers

Internet Phone:
Toronto: 416-461-2203

Costa Rica:
Cell: (506) 8305-3965
Land: (506) 282-4142 Ext. 101

NOTE: Toronto number is "local call" for people in the area code; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code.