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New Construction

Lease / purchase

See what's new: Condominio Hacienda "El Dorado".

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Progress Report

August 20-25, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #150

Contact phone numbers

Internet Phone:
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203

Costa Rica:
Cell: 506-305-3965
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.


NOTE: WHEN I STARTED RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES, I STARTED WRITING A WEEKLY NEWS LETTER—DEETERMINED TO TELL ALL THE GOOD, BAD, AND THE UGLY. I KNEW SOME READERS WERE INTERESTED IN THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS. OTHERS WERE INTERESTED IN HAVING INSIGHT TO 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 LOR 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:

The STORY: El Dorado: rain and mud - again!

Pictures: nothing - mud is not exciting

CONSTRUCTION

Architect: We have two complete sets of plans and renderings: one of the duplex and one of the single family home. Each of these have various optional floor plans.

Quebrada: During the week, we had a steady stream of dump trucks operated by very skilled drivers. It was amazing to see how they maneuvered these huge trucks in tight spaces —never hitting anything. Often times, we had three trucks dumping at the same time with more lined up waiting for space. The two backhoes couldn't keep up —I arrived Monday around 10 and one of the backhoes was steaming it was so hot— so we brought in a bulldozer —that was much more effective. The trucks would back up with their heavy loads until their wheels sunk to the hubcaps and then dump. If the trucks couldn't get out, the backhoe would assist. The bulldozer would periodically get stuck and had to be assisted out by a backhoe. Throughout the week, the bulldozer would work any time the dirt was dry enough that it wouldn't sink out of sight. When I left on Friday at 3pm, it was stuck again. If it is dry enough Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Mustache is going to make it purr. Work is still ongoing and this stage should be finished next week-weather permitting.

Note: in praise of old diesels:

Bulldozer: when it arrived I thought to myself "hope this thing doesn't breakdown —it's as old as I am!". It was obviously old-I later found out that it was only 23 years old. When the operator started it up, I knew it wouldn't break down —it purred like a happy kitten. After a deftly executed 3 point turn, the tractor was off the lowboy truck and ready for work. A middle aged operator, clean work clothes and a huge handlebar mustache took the controls. I could tell instantly that he and the bulldozer were one, just like professional dancers —the grace of each working together was amazing.

On two occasions I was beside two older-ancient (early 50s) in fact -trucks when they started up their engines. In each case, a touch of the starter button and each were instantly purring. My '95 gas Jeep grinds away to start; these trucks could be half way down the block by the time I get going.

Fence: We have completed the cyclone portion along the roadway. We will be filling in the section which connects with the concrete fence we built earlier. To do this we have to cross the stream so we'll have to devise a gating system which allows the water to pass,, allows us to clean out debris which floats down the stream, and which keeps unwanted guests out. We are also beginning on the front decorative fence along the west roadway. First, we have to make provision for future garbage bin access. I have discussed with the maestro de obra how to form the columns-faster and less expensive than at Los Jardines.

Web site: This is under development and we have decided to use the following domain name: eldoradocostarica.com. The designer has the new logo and will be playing with a few options. I'll be sending her renderings and floor plans that I have ready so she can begin uploading them.

Marketing: We now have a new logo that all are happy with and have hired a graphic arts design company to adopt and extend the work to the website so that can proceed, business cards, billboard signage, brochures, folders, letterhead/envelopes, and eventually to print and electronic media advertising. The Marking / Sales Manager we hired officially begins today, Sept. 1. He's moving closer to Los Jardines and we have as yet to buy him a car and when Paul returns from Canada, he'll have a new computer and a VOIP phone set up. In the meantime, he is moving us ahead —it's nice to have someone push me in the direction I want to go instead of having to push others all the time... but that's why we hired him— if he couldn't add value and do a better job than either Paul or I could, we didn't need him...

Legal counsel: We've been actively working on this over the past several months. For essentially the same scope of work-registering the condo(s), setting up 50 corporations, and closing costs, we have been quoted $95,000, $30,000, $15,000 + a little, and $3,000-$6,000. Both Paul and I have been skinned in N. Am. buy not having a clear understanding of just what is included and what is not included. We've also been disappointed in CR; we're trying to build on experience and get the best deal for our purchasers.

RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

For Sale / for Lease: nothing for sale and beginning Oct. 1, unit 121 is available for lease; I'm working with a client who would like to buy but there's nothing available so he wants to lease so he can be on site if anything does come available.

Satellite TV: DISH continues to change the codes regularly but they seem to be slowing down a bit.

Rainwater Drainage: We've made a modification and will now wait to see if it works. The problem was certainly aggravated by the neighboring construction company which regraded the land to our west. Now, we have 10 acres all draining to our location. We have asked them three times this week to fix it; They did on Friday and now we'll wait to see what happens.

Gardener: The newly hired gardener seems to be fine.

OUR LIVES

Weather: mostly beautiful ,clear mornings with usually heavy rains in the afternoons. An article in AMCostaRica.com reported that we are running about 25% wetter than normal. I believe it. Last year was very dry-we're making up for it now.

Misc. Construction/Development-Santa Ana: Several of the larger infill commercial developments in downtown Santa Ana are advancing-one is nearing completion. No indication of what they re to be yet. The "Holiday Inn Express" is locating behind one of the newly built malls on the Santa Ana "Golden Mile". Another grocery store chain is reported to be opening up a large outlet-Mas y Menos. The Avalon group has just opened their third site in Santa Ana-next to their first site-for presales. While I haven't yet visited their showroom, my guess is that it will be similar to the successful formula they've used on the previous two sites. Not my preference but it seems to fill a market niche.

Dental work: I'm in the process of getting a crown-preliminary fitting on Friday, final installation on Monday —$270-payment on installation— so far, expertly done.

Driving in CR: I'm comfortable driving here; I've gotten use to the lack of road signs, directions indicators, and accept that traffic lights are only suggestions one might want to follow. I do a lot of driving in urban areas, including San Jose, and else where. Every once-in-awhile I become flabbergasted at the incredible driving practices of idiots!!!!!!!! Aside from random stopping for no apparent reason, not pulling off to the side of the road when room is available, double parking, non use of turn indicators, racing through towns where people are on the streets, passing on blind corners, using the on-off service roads as a through lane to bypass cars lined up, or using the center lane clearly marked as a turn lane as a through speed lane, —all of which are common practices here-I get the following:

A week ago on the way to dinner, around 6pm. I was following a pickup. We both turned 90 left; he kept the turn and went straight into the bank, crossways in the road —a full 170 degree arc. The passenger side got out, took over the driving, reversed and moved on. What that was all about, we can only speculate.

Around 9am, Wednesday morning, I was on my way to Pavas. I had just crossed the suicide bridge —named after a former one lane bridge now widened to two lanes but still a favorite jumping off spot-if you know what I mean. The left turn on the far side is known as a longish wait whereas the right lane passes directly ahead and moves rapidly. In this situation, it is not uncommon for an impatient Tico to use that lane to bypass the line waiting to turn and make a hard 90 left cutting off the front car. I was the front car. Green light, I start, only to be cut off by a VERY rapidly moving big SUV who ended up loosing control of his car, nearly veered into the on-coming traffic, barely correcting before he very nearly hit an oncoming motorcycle. Just an idiot!!!!!! Every country has them but CR has, I suggest, a higher per capita than any other country in the world!!!! I think the driving statistic support this and I don't know anyone who would argue this point.

Banks continue to consolidate and re-brand: HSBC bought Banex; Citi Bank bought Cuscalan, and Scotiabank bought Interfin. In addition, it seems that they are trying to streamline and to be more customer friendly, including non-CR resident friendly. In addition, it seems like the interest rates being offered are coming down. We are still waiting for an offer from Scotiabank and Worthington Ventures —the latter now having one of their letters of approval from the government regulatory body.

Hairless Hugo has not completely lost his hunting skill or will. He captured a bird on the balcony who came to eat the spilled seeds from the parrots. We rescued the little guy and Lita instantly made him a prisoner-he died later perhaps from internal injuries.

CableTica went down in the area-both Internet and TV around 2pm Friday. We had a vicious electrical storm right overhead around 4pm Friday afternoon. I like my electrical storms a little ways off.

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

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View pictures of El Dorado

MASTERPLAN
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Overlay of Version 1 of the master plan. There will be some minor changes to it but for the most part, it is a reasonable starting point. The picture with the yellow dots represents trees.  One swimming pool will likely be eliminated in favor of houses (the large one near the 2nd. pool (bottom left hand corner)  This area will likely become a condominium within a condominium having it's own direct street access.