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ARCHIVE
Reports 2006

Dec. 18-23, 2006
Dec. 11-16, 2006
Nov. 27-Dec. 9, 2006
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Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2006
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Oct. 2-7, 2006
Sep. 24-30, 2006
Sep. 16-22, 2006
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Sep. 4-9, 2006
Aug. 28-Sep. 2, 2006
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Jan. 2-7, 2006

Reports 2005
Dec. 26-31, 2005
Dec. 18-24, 2005
Dec. 12-17, 2005
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Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2005
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Oct. 3-8, 2005
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Sept. 19-24, 2005
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Sept. 5-10, 2005
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Aug. 21-27, 2005
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Aug. 8-12, 2005
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Jul. 25-30, 2005
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Jul. 1-9, 2005
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May 22-28, 2005
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Apr. 11-16, 2005
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Mar. 21-23, 2005
Mar. 14-19, 2005
Mar. 7-12, 2005
Feb. 27-Mar. 5, 2005
Feb. 21-26, 2005
Feb. 13-19, 2005
Feb. 7-12, 2005
Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2005
Jan. 23-29, 2005
Jan. 16-22, 2005
Jan. 10-15, 2005
Jan. 3-5, 2005

Reports 2004
Dec. 25-27, 2004
Dec. 20-25, 2004
Dec. 12-18, 2004
Dec. 6-11, 2004
Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2004
Nov. 22-27, 2004
Nov. 15-21, 2004
Nov. 8-14, 2004
Nov. 1-6, 2004
Oct. 25-30, 2004
Oct. 18-23, 2004
Oct. 11-16, 2004

 

New Construction

Lease / purchase

See what's new: Garden Residences of Río Oro.

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Progress Report

July 23-28, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #146

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: the quebrada (drainage ditch), side stepping another "peeling"; the perimeter wall continues; the "well", etc.

Pictures: excavation, quebrada, and retaining wall.
View the pictures here.

CONSTRUCTION

Architect: we got in a few more hours work between demands on his time from moving his office. We refined two house designs to the point where they I now consider them "final". On Tuesday next we have a whole day working session scheduled at his new office. In this session, I want to finish off reviewing and finalizing the house designs, the site design, focus on the amenity / social areas, the exterior designs of two multi-story buildings. An ambitious schedule but.

Quebrada: We brought in 40 sections of 50" diameter concrete pipe-about 1/3 of what we need. We have chalked out the new routing. The barrio captain (a local watch-dog) expressed concern. We explained to him that the water, during the rainy season (and therefore diluted), 242 times the max. limit for coli form bacteria and 66 times the max. allowable limit for e-coli according to the water quality tests we had done on it-it is a sewer plain and simple, that houses on the other side of our wall are built on top of the quebrada (a no-no-we are held to a 10 m setback), and the quebrada is in fact covered in other areas. This is a health hazard and we either cover it up (which doesn't solve the pollution problem) or we bring in the Min. of Health and the City and have everyone up stream comply with the code. We explained that we are upgrading the neighborhood, bringing short term construction jobs and long term job opportunities to the community —guards, maintenance staff, maids, concessionary opportunities, etc, and that it might be more productive to discuss how we can help each other. We are proceeding, with risk, because the situation is too stupid and hypocritical for words. Meanwhile we are trying to determine what happened or has not happened on our application.

Fence: We've surveyed the municipal road way on the west side to determine the center line and from there have determined our fence setback. This will be reviewed with the City next week. We've started excavation. We have two backhoes and a dump truck working now.

Water: We received the letter from AyA stating that they couldn't supply us with water. That letter has been added to our well application. We are told this will expedite our request to drill the well. Once drilled, the flow and quality will be tested. We then make application for the right to use it. For this "concession" to be granted, the well seems to have to be in the name of the condominium —we are seeing what that involves and have been working our way through a plate of spaghetti of conflicting information— conflicting information is normal here, remember the setback measurements of last week.

Bob Cat and sidestepping a peeling: after not responding to our phone calls, faxes, and e-mails asking for the invoice for the cost of tearing the machine down, we attended the repair shop-got a price ($200), paid it, and determined that they would loosely reassemble it and return it to us where we will arrange to have it repaired for $3,500 in 3 days vs. their $10,000 and who knows how long. A bad experience; we won't be using them again.

Lawyer for Condo application-another near peeling: we discussed our project with a 2nd. firm and received a price of $8,500 vs. $15,000 -- $8,500 being the government guideline for such work. We're now confirming what is and is not included in the lower price-are we comparing apples with apples. Again, sidestepping another potential "peeling".

Web site: Of the three parties from whom we sought proposals, and two parties we spoke with, we have to date, not received any proposals from the two CR parties —one a Gringo firm and the other a CR. It's amazing now non-responsive business is here. We will go with our long term reliable people in Argentina and be very happy.

Marketing: We are continuing to explore how best to get our message out. We continue to believe that our biggest bank for the buck will be to work with RE agents in CR and to have a strong website presence and to make sure all agents are actively courted and have all the information they need to market our product and to make sure they are compensated for their efforts. While not genius thinking, it does rule out focusing on the N. Am. / European market in N. Am. and in Europe —we believe it is too difficult for us, a non-branded product— we are not St. Regis, Ramada, Hilton, Four Seasons, etc. to convince or attract purchasers to buy in Costa Rica.

We considered a proposal from a large RE marketing company in Chicago but have largely discounted the cost-benefit for the above reasons. We are talking with a related company based in CR and expect to explore this option in more depth this week. Finally, we are considering hiring our own dedicated marking manager and are currently speaking with a likely candidate.

RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

Article in Tico Times: appeared this week. A long and complimentary article. I don't expect anything from it but one never knows. The article is probably not accessible on-line but you might try: www.ticotimes.net I'll scan it and have it posted to our website but that will take a couple days.
View the article here (big images. It will open a new window)

Texas Hold-em: it continues

A number of new residents move in and more to come next week.

RENTALS:

We have none until October.
We’ve signed 9 leases in the past 2 months.

SALES:

We have nothing available and a waiting list for certain units.

 

OUR LIVES

Weather: mostly clear mornings with overcast afternoons and a short rain followed by clearing.

The beach-R&R: We spent two nights in Esterillos Este (about 30 min. south of Jaco). A wide black sand beach prone to rip tides and big waves so no swimming. The hotel was expensive and the meals so over priced that we brought in and enjoyed ourselves. Of the 30 villas, only 3 were occupied on Saturday night and we were the only ones on Sunday night. I continue to not understand CR economics-all those hours in under graduate school understanding rational economic thought seem to have been wasted-on the other hand, I don't remember any CR in my classes.

Wendy's is now open and it's swamped with customers.

One new site is under construction on a substantial lot between the autopista and Santa Ana. There is no signage so don't know what is slated for that location. There is so much construction going on around Santa Ana that at any given time, dump trucks probably represent 10-15%% of the total trucks on the road.

My days are full from 7am to 5:30. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Property management and tenant turnover takes a lot of time; land use planning and house designs burn up a lot of time and energy but it's best to get it right now. Engaging in conversations which are too stupid for words to massage someone's ego while maintaining a smile on my face-calls for a drink and the hammock at the end of the day.

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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Click to view larger picture picture

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.