January 15-21, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #119
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon