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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

March 19-24, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #128

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" update and week of bizarre events!!!!!!!

CONSTRUCTION

Condominio Hacienda El Dorado:

Re. Logo: We have the first response. Paul like one; wants to see it in a different color but we're making progress on this front.

Re. Site Plan: On Tuesday we reviewed where we were and made the following changes: The basketball hoop 1/2 court is located and the squash racquetball court is also located. The major change was the addition of a daycare center. This was located at a dead end street where we couldn't build anything due to the location of the well. We are not aware of any other development in CR that has a day care center.

When trying to determine from the plan which trees were protected, it became clear than the final link had not been made. Why? I don't know. I only got the schedule of inventoried trees on Wednesday and looked for the information on the drawing and it wasn't there. While the exercise seemed intuitively obvious to me, something got lost. We're now back on track-hopefully. We hope to have all this information overlaid and reviewed on Tuesday 7am. We hope to be ready to submit the site plan for INVUE environmental assessment the following week. This will be the first of many which will (hopefully) occur in parallel.

Marketing: I've started to make a video. Just as people had a hard time visioning the end result of Los Jardines, they are having a harder time envisioning El Dorado. While it will still be a leap of faith for a purchaser to buy from drawings, I need to provide as much information as I can and confidence level that we can achieve what we say we will do. I have a wealth of information from the pictures I took along the way of the development of Los Jardines. I drafted a text for a video and I'm assembling the pictures into some groupings, I will also add pictures of the finishings as we expect El Dorado to have essentially the same. When we have a firm site plan, we will work on renderings and will authorize a diorama ( a three dimensional, physical, model) to be constructed. The architect will be commissioned to make some renderings (pictures/drawings) of houses and buildings. What he can do to make a "virtual" tour I don't yet know.

We still have a person interested in partnering with us and we have what has been described as a "serious" investor arriving here on Tuesday for a week's stay and lookie. It doesn't make that much difference to Paul or I what happens in either case; we are proceeding and will develop it on our own if that is the way it is to be. We've already determined the phases of development and that won't change whether we have another partner or not.

Fencing: we keep plodding away at it-not much to show for our work so far but remember, this is only to keep a core group of workers on site. Fencing on hills takes more time; materials sufficient for 250 meters is on site. We now have a Bobcat, a generator which will allow us to do continuous welding, and soon to acquire a couple A ATV's for faster site movement. We continue to make additional scaffolding.

Bobcat: this was a classic case of non-trust-so prevalent here. We wanted to make sure the vendor owned it, owned it free and clear, and that taxes were up to date. We he didn't own it, his wife owned it, the taxes hadn't been paid, and there were no liens against it. It took them a week plus a one day delay to get their end all sorted out. The term of said included the delivery to our job site; when the machine was there, we would pay after reviewing the documentation with our lawyer. The paper review was done at the Los Jardines office; when that was found to now be in order, a phone call resulted in the Bobcat being unloaded.

Residencias Los Jardines:

Technology: Everything continues to work. The large pool is down for maintenance and should be back up and running by mid next week. I think this is the first time in 5 years that we've drained it.

RENTALS:

We leased 108 and 120 this week. We had a person interested in 106A but wanted to apply the security deposit against the last  month's rent. This was a non-starter. We've had damage and things go missing in the last week when we didn't have money in our account;  we simply won't do it anymore. I think each and every time we were in this situation, we got stung. No more —we won't play that game. 

Unit 106 A: (Available May 1)
Ground floor, 1,250sf, 1 bedroom with office/den/bedroom, two bathrooms, two terraces, granite bathrooms and kitchen; fully furnished.
- $900 mo.

Unit 107: (Available June 1)
2 floors, 2 bedrooms (one on each level), 2 1/2 bathrooms, Jacuzzi, office, executive class furnishings, east facing terrace looking over the large pool and mountins; west facing terrace viewing sunsets and mountains; ground floor back terrace for outside, private dining. Large granite "U" shaped kitchen with SS appliances. Beautiful!
- $1,650 mo.

Unit 120: (Available June 1)
Single floor, 1,300 sf, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, executive furnishings throughout, including a 42" plasma TV + 2 conventional TVs, beautifully decorated, granite bathrooms and kitchens
- $1,400 mo.

Note: Re. 120 and 107: It could be that the client who is leasing 120 effective April 1 will want to remain there on the longer term basis. I'm trying to contact her. In which case, 120 will not be available June 1 as she will remain on.

RESALES:

Units 108 and 120 —would be re-sales: I was told by the owner to put these up for sale —he had serious cancer. I've been marketing them —several offers which fell through mainly due to price. Some bizarre communiqués later, I send the vendor two offers-one for 120 and one for both units. I now find that he is indisposed. While I know the reason, the story is still unfolding. I have therefore withdrawn the units from the "for sale" market and have put them up for lease. I'm quite certain that both will again come on the "for sale" market, I don't know when-perhaps 3-5 months but I really don't k know.

Unit 102: Paul and I were approached by the owner, a Tica, who described medical problems and explained that her family thought it best that she move in with them. She wants us to buy back the unit. We'll make her an offer; we can close next week if she wants. If she doesn't like our offer, we'll offer to market it for her but there won't be any guarantee when it will sell. We'll just have to see how this turns out. This will represent an opportunity for someone —since we will re-sell it. it is virtually identical to my unit; wonderful space, 1,925 sf, ground floor, lots of built-ins, huge granite kitchen, pantry, laundry room, 2 1/2 baths, two bedrooms, office, covered parking for one car, and a huge covered terrace overlooking a garden. Price?
Probably around $227,500

Note: In speaking with one agent, she is finding a lot of clients from Venezuela-these people are getting out while they still can and are looking to buy and to lease. Costa Rica is seen as a "safe haven".

OUR LIVES

There have been NO dull days this week!!!! I'm still reeling from all the changes, the twists , the turns, etc. Fortunately, I've got a liquor cabinet full of excellent quality booze and the time to enjoy it while I lay in the hammock wondering what will happen next. However, I can virtually always predict that reality will be far more interesting than the scenarios I dream up.

The only funny / sane story I can remember this week is: When inspecting the progress on the fence at El Dorado, I noticed that the tire on the portable cement mixer was flat. I had a little $6 cigarette lighter powered air compressor. I hooked it up and 2 minutes later, the tire was full. The workers were absolutely amazed and very animated —they wanted to know where I got it (Canada), how much it cost, etc. No one believed me with I told them $6 but they all thought it was the cat's meow...

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

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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.