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Reports 2006

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Jan. 2-7, 2006

Reports 2005
Dec. 26-31, 2005
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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

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

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Progress Report

June 25-30, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #142

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: El Dorado: Two steps forward-one back; a new website —in progress; Los Jardines: strange thing happened

Pictures: next week

CONSTRUCTION:

Architect: I had concerns that the houses designed to date would not fit on the lots as designed to date. I did a set of physical measurements-not the computer version —and confirmed my concerns— they don't bloody well fit in many cases.

Note: Actually, I see this as a good move. I was becoming increasingly concerned that we were trying to cram in too many houses and this, I felt, was over crowding. I feel the development would benefit from fewer houses, with larger lots. We are now down from 120-130 to 70-90 and this may drop further. Fortunately, Paul and I are in agreement-as we have been all along-we are more interested in developing a product which will sell and of which we are proud-than to stuff it like so many projects we see. Common sense is prevailing and pride of design is winning out over numbers. I'm sleeping easier.

Quebrada: we continue to wait. We are waiting as well for an engineering solution to reinforcing the block wall fence which is currently there but which was not built for retention purposes. Therefore, some reinforcements or pressure alleviation devices have to be put in place.

Fence Permit: WE FINALLY HAVE IT! This process took from approximately Dec. 15 to June 27... once something goes off the rails here, it is really hard to get it back on. The delay was due to a combination of errors-the College of Architects and Engineers approved and priced (by stupid error) 12 meters of fencing vs. 1,200 meters. This resulted in a whole series of actions to right the error and a lot of time.

Paul and I focused on how to build the fence on the west side and concluded that given the terrain, the best method would be a poured concrete retaining wall. We need the strength to support the municipal roadway and we will probably end up using it as the back of a locker space inside the garage of future houses. In another area where the municipal road is already supported by a retaining wall, we will simple erect a cyclone fence and landscaped it on the inside which is a sheer cliff down to the stream.

We now expect to add 10 people to the workforce in order to advance the construction of the fence. The perimeter fence will still take eight months or so to build; we are in no huge rush at this stage.

Additional Land: We've been trying to buy an additional acre of land; we found that the title was not clear-it was going through a number of estate issues. Our follow up this week says the title should be cleared in July. This land is valuable to us but is not great buildable area because it is very steep. Ownership, however, allows us to control an additional 150 m of the stream and in a way, allows us a more secure perimeter fence.

Tree removal: about 3 weeks ago, a VERY large tree fell down and took some others with it and is currently partially blocking the stream. We asked the governing body if we could remove it. In their wisdom they said, "NO" so we waited several weeks and approached them again and they said we don't work on the weekend. So we'll cut it up into manageable parts, haul it away from the stream and chop it up. This tree was a beauty and we wanted to keep it but the root structure had been undermined by the stream. When it came down, it brought three others with it.

Well Application: We have been advised that it is nearing approval. (Actually, I remain skeptical-but hopeful). In the meantime, we continue to explore the use of city water, one source of which is about 300 meters from our western property line. Ideally, we would like both a well and city water. Water is critical and I like redundancy (as we have at Los Jardines). I believe the capital cost of the well (about $10,000 + pumps) would soon be made up in lower usage costs.

Web site: I've written most of the text for the new website. Since El Dorado will be very similar to Los Jardines, and since the Los Jardines website worked well, I decided to use a similar format (why require a browser to learn two different formats and the adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it). We're now researching a designer to put it all together.

Views: take a look at never before taken photos of views at El Dorado. These views are all from the "future phase" but viewing these you will agree that we are not saving the last for the least.

Additional Nearby Development: On Friday we learned that the property across from our west roadway had been recently purchased. The new American owner is proposing 19 houses. He initiated a discussion with us to explore areas of mutual interest. We view this positively.

Humorous Story: We bought a weed eater to keep the grass knocked down. When it was being demonstrated, I saw a pet rabbit and wondered that if we bought 10 more, we could have a flock within a few months, fertilized soil, and a feast for the Christmas party. We contemplated it for a few seconds and then realized that the neighbors would likely beat us to the rabbit before Christmas.

RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

Water: he city water supply was off all day Saturday (8am-8pm). We didn't feel it as we rely first and foremost on our own well and use city water only as a back up. Redundancy of water supply was one of our better decisions.

Article in Tico Times: For the past 5 months, we've had a British journalist on site doing a series of articles on Costa Rica for one of the London newspapers. Her 13 year old son has endeared himself to a number of people and she has out played a number of the other people at Texas hold-em nights. She was asked by the Tico Times, a major English language weekly newspaper, to do an article. She chose to do one on Los Jardines. She interviewed owners, residents, and me as the developer. It will be fun to see our name in print.

Sale of 112: After having accepted the offer and given instructions to the people who would execute the paperwork, the VENDOR suddenly and without explanation cancelled the agreement and has withdrawn the unit from sale and from lease. This is a strange and disappointing turn of events. A number of people, including myself, worked for a number of months marketing this property. I suspect this is not the end of this story.

RENTALS:

Unit 120:
Available July 1-commitment pending
Single floor, 1,300 sf, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, executive furnishings throughout —all rooms are beautifully decorated. The kitchen and both bathrooms have granite surfaces. The kitchen cabinets are made from natural wood; there is a raised eating counter for casual dining. The kitchen features SS appliances —dishwasher, 6 burner gas stove, and microwave and all the small appliances needed for cooking. The wrought iron and glass dining room table seats 4. Living room features a beautiful full length book case / lighted display area with home theater system and a 42' plasma TV. On the covered terrace are a set of casual chairs as well as a 6 seat dining table. The home is equipped with a stacked washer / dryer.
- $1,400 mo.

Unit 123:
Available July 1
This 2 story, 2, bedroom,  2 1/2 bathroom, 1,625 sf unit is magnificent.  Perfectly located on the property to overlook the small pool and surrounding garden and from the 2nd. floor terrace you can see the southern mountain range. The owners furnished this tastefully and with good quality furniture. No children, no pets, and non-smokers only.
- $1,650 mo.

Unit 124:
Available May 1
2nd. floor, one bedroom (620 sf), fully furnished with display bookshelf/wall unit, home theater system,  42" Plasma TV, computer desk, large kitchen with natural wood cabinets and granite counters and backsplash including valence lighting, Bedroom has a full size (matrimonial) bed as well as a single bed. There is a matrimonial size pull out sofa in the living room. The living room overlooks the large pool and faces west. The bedroom faces east and has views of the mountains.
Non-smokers only.
- $950 mo.

Residencias Los Jardines is a  secure, gated, tranquil community with on-site satellite  and / or CableTica TV, high speed internet,  VOIP phone capability, 2 swimming pools each with waterfalls,  2-bar-b-qs and social areas, extensive manicured gardens, English / Spanish / German / Dutch / French spoken.

OUR  LIVES

Weather: mostly clear mornings moving towards cloudy by mid day and a couple hour's rain in the afternoons followed by clearing in the evenings —perfect temperatures...

"Same old, same old"-and it's been wonderful.

Last Sunday Lita and I drove to Puriscal —about 45min. west of Santa Ana— to meet a guy who is doing some similar things and who I had heard about for several years through various sources including a mutual friend. He —George Lundquist— had initiated the meeting with me, ostensibly over a posting I made to a bulletin board. We found we had a number of common interests and experiences —and lots of stories to share—, used some of the same suppliers, and some different ones- those we will share. We went on to meet some of the expatriates living in and around the Puriscal area. It was a very rewarding experience and pleasant day. He is a firm believer in his area (Puriscal) and I am a firm believer in the Santa Ana area. Regardless of what the future holds, I'm expect that our experiences will parallel each other and our paths with cross periodically.

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

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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.