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New Construction

Lease / purchase

Phase 3: The construction of the remaining 11 residences.
See what's new: Garden Residences of Río Oro.

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Progress Report

January 15-21, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #119

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: NOW THAT THIS DEVELOPMENT IS ESSENTIALLY FINISHED, THE LOG WILL FOCUS MORE ON THE RIO ORO DEVELOPMENT. IT WILL BE INFORMATIVE TO THOSE PLANNING ON BUILDING, THOSE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO PURCHASE OR TO LEASE, AND FOR THOSE WONDERING WHAT EXPATS DO IN COSTA RICA AND THE LIFESTYLE OF TWO ORDINARY PEOPLE.

The STORY: Rio Oro inches ahead and Strong Winds

CONSTRUCTION

Rio Oro Development: We returned to work on this property with about 8 people. The surveyor was on site and relocated the roads. We had a crew stake them and the full width including sidewalks. As we were doing it, we made a few modifications from the site plan No. 11. Since this was done, we have again walked and looked critically, and have made some further refinements. We continue to feel we are making progress. We know that decisions made at this stage become the most important decisions of the entire development process because they involve space utilization and affect the lots, views, and end product. We have to study the land and see how to translate the topography into an end product. Large developers probably couldn't afford to spend this much time doing this-they go more for flat land and develop a couple basic model floor plans which fit on any lot.

Re. the 2500 M2 addition: we're still working on that. There's a few discussions yet on a few issues. Like lots of deals here, some of the initial information is wrong or tries to be renegotiated. What was described as a" right-of-way" is, in fact, not so-not that we were planning on using it but it could have been an asset. The 2500 meters somehow became 2300 and the owners want to shave off a bit more. The deal will go and it will go as we had basically agreed. We are still figuring out the best way to get a road to it.

Next week, we will bring in a backhoe. In addition to cleaning up the piles of jungle debris and river garbage, we'll scrape off the vegetation on the proposed roadways such that they are more defined.

Following this work, we will, begin clearing the property lines in preparation for fencing. We are pricing out three different types of fences; the most desirable -prefab concrete- is also probably the lease expensive. Whatever fence we use, it really won't be seen from the interior as we will line it with vegetation so it becomes a living / green wall.

There are many types of flowering trees and shrubs in CR and many of these bloom during the dry season. To date, we have only seen about 6 such trees. These 6 are all the same-the canopy is covered with small purple flowers. We also have a few smaller trees which have clumps of yellow flowers. I did discover that the type of ginger plant which produces the ginger root used in cooking grows on the property; I pick I a big chunk and will prepare some ginger chicken.

Winds: I thought this land being in the valley, would be better protected from the strong winds during January-March. Not so. We will still have to design with the wind in mind.

The workers found a small boa constrictor on site-about 5ft. long. Unfortunately they killed it -Paul and I weren't happy about it and chastised them but from their perspective if you have a machete in your hand and if you've been conditioned to kill snakes because they could be poisonous and you're virtually standing on it, you chop first and identify the type of snake later.

We are rethinking the name of this development; "Valle Buena Vista" does not differentiate our development from the 100 or so other developments using "Buena Vista" in their title. The one we are currently sleeping on is: "Hacienda el Dorado" picking up on the fabled Dorado gold mine and the river -Rio Oro- which we are advised we can't use in the title.

Next week, Paul and I will begin gathering missing information which we will need to put together a marketing package and plan. This phase will probably take several months and will be done in parallel with the site plan engineering and document preparation for permit approvals.

RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

PBX phone system: It's now working fine.

Irrigation System: The capital cost seems too high. I'm making up some above ground irrigation hoses-quick, inexpensive, and effective-which we will use on certain areas. This will free up hand watering time to allow for time for cleaning, weeding, pruning, etc. I now have to educate the gardeners that they can actually do the two at the same time-so far they've had difficulty with this concept.

The one gardener who had the accident with the lawnmower has returned. We'll reassign one of the current guys who was never a gardener to Rio Oro where his skills will be better utilized.

Rentals:

Unit 121: Two story, 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathrooms including Jacuzzi, terrace facing east looking at the sunrise and the mountains. 1,650sf. Beautifully furnished - $1,600 mo.

Unit 123: A beautifully situated unit nicely furnished is available for lease - $1,650 mo. this two bedroom unit with 2nd. floor terrace overlooks the lighted garden and one swimming pool as well as the mountains.

Unit 126: One bedroom studio unit with full kitchen and terrace. Lots of built-ins and very well furnished. Approx. 400 sf plus 200 sf of outdoor terrace. Rate depends on length of lease but probably around $650-$750 mo.

Resales:

Unit 106B: 1 / 2 bedroom, two bathroom, two terraces (east and west) 1,250sf. Fully furnished - $150K.
Note: vendor owns another unit.

Unit 108: 2 floors, 2 bedrooms (one on each level), 2 1/2 bathrooms, Jacuzzi, walk-in vault, executive class furnishings including a 42" plasma TV, east facing terrace looking over the large pool and mountains and a ground floor back terrace for outside, private dining - $270K.

Unit 120: single floor, 1,300 sf, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, executive furnishings throughout, beautifully decorated - $190K.

Note: Same owner for both 108 and 120; the owner wants to sell one of the two units.

OUR LIVES

Numerous people returned this week so reunions were in order; all are now settled in.

My VOIP went down and in the process of problem solving it we discovered that both a fairly new router and cable had failed along with an older router. Given the triple failure, problem solving was more difficult. Fortunately between Paul and the electrician, they sorted out the problems and it was further fortunate that it was done in time so that one of the parties coming from Canada could bring with them, one of the components -just-in-time delivery.

We had an additional DISH descrambler brought in and now have 4 more on delivery which are expected to arrive next week. This was facilitated by two guests who had just returned who had a connection to these boxes. Gradually, we are building up our inventory. The reception continues to be fantastic and the choice of channels unlimited.

About two years ago I wrote bemoaning the lack of good steak in CR. Since then I can now say that this is definitely not a problem-there are a number of choices, all of which are delicious and inexpensive by N. Am. standards. I just bought exceptionally tender, well flavored and adequately marbled Delminico steaks at PriceSmart -$2.88 lb.

Our banana trees have been producing great bananas; we seem to have a continuous supply hanging in one or both ranchos from which residents help themselves. The orange and lime trees are well picked over because the fruit is delicious. The star fruit tree and pineapple plants have not yet begun to produce... and the coconuts are coming nicely but take a long time to mature.

Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.

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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.