July 23-28, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #146
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: 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.
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
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
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
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
We have none until October.
We’ve signed 9 leases in the past 2 months.
We have nothing available and a waiting list for certain units.
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
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
Brian, Lita, Hairless Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the
pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies- Chico and Chica.