June 25-30, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #142
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: El Dorado: Two steps forward-one back; a
new website —in progress; Los Jardines: strange thing happened
Pictures: next week
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
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
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
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
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.
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 /
- $1,400 mo.
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.
children, no pets, and non-smokers only.
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.
- $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.
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.