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New Construction

Lease / purchase

See what's new: Condominio Hacienda "El Dorado".

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Progress Report

September 3-8, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #152

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: rain and mud - again-and again!

Pictures: land grading

CONSTRUCTION

Architect: Waiting for all types of information-and information to be corrected. I've received some more renderings which are fine. We need to make some changes to the floor plans and to the presentations themselves.

Structural Engineer: I'm meeting with him Monday morning to scope out the location of one of the buildings we've asked him to structure. We need to know how we are going to support it before we finalize the floor plans.

Electro-mechanical engineer: He is developing the specs and getting preliminary quotes.

Well Application: supposedly this is working it's way through the bureaucracy. If his timing is accurate, we should have approval to drill the well by the end of this month. We'll see.

Quebrada: The bulldozer has been able to move all the dirt we imported and to salvage dirt we were planning to be surplus... In effect, we are creating new land although that was not the motivation.

The application along with many other applications seems to be hung up in SETENA. It seems that SETENA has been sued by someone because they had no standards and took for ever to do what they were suppose to and then, when done, their decisions were arbitrary - surprise, surprise. It seems that they have only 3 vehicles and not enough gas allowance to actually make site visits. We are told another month —in CR terms, that could be never. It makes no difference now, we've solved the problem and only hope that it doesn't come back to bite us. While we worry about this, I've seen two other project in Santa Ana do the same thing

Pre-Approval: We have a meeting set with the Chief Engineer of the Municipalidad of Santa Ana for September 18. The purpose of this is to outline our development and to determine if it is consistent with their vision or if any modifications need to be made. As far as we know, we have more than complied with the zoning and will meet all the environmental concerns as well. If necessary, we can revise our plan prior to submission to the government review bodies knowing that the City will issue a building permit once the government agencies approve the development.

Corporate Social Responsibility Program: Our Marketing Manger outlined a proposal to us which both Paul and I accepted. We will commit the condo corporation to contribute probably $5,000 per year for probably 5 years to project(s) needed by the immediate community. These might be computers for the school, enhanced sanitation, equipment / uniforms for the local soccer team, etc. We will devise a strategy whereby we can get the community to determine what the need is and we will add $5 per month per household topped up by us. The community is one of modest means and I'm sure that in addition to the jobs we will create, we can otherwise make a difference as well. We expect to do it without having an administrative rake-off so that the entire amount will be put to full use. We feel good about this and feel that our purchasers will as well.

Fence: We started to lay the footings and some block for what will become the fence along the west side.

Web site: This is pending the completion of accurate information from the architect and the completion of the formatting info. of the logo.

Marketing: We've committed to a timetable to launch our marketing. Hopefully, we will be ready. We've purchased large adds in several magazines. We're planning a pre-launch marketing program to begin November 1-15. This will be a window of opportunity for those people on our waiting list to view our product offerings and make a decision. We have a lot of information to get together yet but we seem to have to set a deadline to all have a common goal. We'll see...

Legal counsel: We've reconfirmed the offer from one firm and are reconfirming a 2nd. company's offerings. We need to make a decision and move on.

RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES

For Sale: nothing available at the moment

For Lease:
Unit 121 for the month of October: $ 1,550
Unit 106A for October and November: $ 950.

I approached the owner of 112 on Wednesday to see if he wanted to lease it. I explained that I had had 5 phone calls this past week for long term rentals and had nothing to offer. On Thursday the owner authorized me to lease it, long term only at $1,300. On Friday it was viewed and Saturday I received a verbal commitment and am now awaiting the deposit. We leased 121 this week beginning November to a person who wants to buy and wants to be here if anything opens up.

Satellite TV: DISH continues to change the codes regularly but they seem to be slowing down a bit.

Rainwater Drainage: the modification made seem to work. They've been tested several times this week.

 

OUR LIVES

Weather: mostly beautiful ,clear mornings with usually heavy rains in the afternoons. We're officially into September and the official WET (green) season. According to what I read and what I experience, there is no doubt about it being "wet".

Cigars: One of our residents has become quite interested in cigars. He's researched and tried various suppliers in CR and has also had Cuban cigars. He has found an excellent supplier who makes his own from imported Cuban tobacco. He has a small, but rapidly expanding business employing about 55 production workers in Puriscal-about 45 min. west of Santa Ana. The most expensive cigar is about $3 for a Carona , a Torpedo for $2, and works its way down to around $0.35 for a smaller cigar. They are sometimes banded; sometimes unbanded. It is my understanding that he exports many boxes to Russia where they are banded as Cuban cigars. I prefer them to the Cuban / Havana cigars friends have brought me. It's just another example of there being so many things available in CR, the challenge is in finding what it is you're looking for.

Parrot: We have a large bush continuously covered with HOT, HOT, HOT tiny red peppers. The parrot LOVES them. He'll eat and eat them, never seems to get enough. Obviously his digestive system is different than ours. He also loves to eat hibiscus flowers. One day this week, so the story goes, he decided he didn't like a wall decoration of a flying fish put on the terrace of our neighbor's house. The parrot attacked it, knocked it down and was munching on it until the neighboring cats thought they'd like to munch on him. The neighbor rescued the parrot-one day the neighbor won't be there!!!! If I could take out a life insurance policy on the parrot, I would.

Misc. Construction/Development-Santa Ana: A very, very large KFC franchise is opening near us. Rosti-pollo will have some competition although they do have different menus.

Texas Hold-em didn't happen —not a quorum but this will change...

Dental work: crown installed as scheduled; fits perfectly.end of story.

Purchasing fruit and vegetables: Normally I go to the farmer's market (feria) in Santa Ana on Sundays while Lita is in church. There one can find all types of fresh things at a fraction of the cost in AutoMercado. I also try to buy from an ancient guy working out of a garage near El Dorado. He's crippled from some accident and I'm sure he has lots of stories to tell. Normally, he has the worst of the worst produce but I try to find something to buy. He seems like a great guy; he usually gives me some little present, a local fruit that I'm not familiar with or an extra something-or-other.

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 Click to view larger picture picture

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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.