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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

August 7-12, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #96

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.


Pictures: house 101 and the next project.

The Story: NEXT PROJECT NOW CONFIRMED!!!!!! and the fast tracking of our house

CONSTRUCTION

Weather: sunny with virtually no rain.

Unit 101: The "maestro de obra" has been on the job, on the site and on the unit floor from start to sometimes late at night finish. He's smart. He knows you don't screw up on the bosses house!!! This unit has been the subject of fast and well coordinated work by our labor own forces as well as subcontractors-window people, granite, cabinetry, and doors. Twenty-five people working in a confined space doing a variety of different tasks with no casualties to personnel, egos, or to the physical structure itself was an incredible achievement . We have advanced an incredible amount in the last two weeks. We have the guest bedroom and the connected bathroom yet to finish. We had selected a particular color of granite which the supplier proceeded to screw up. We maintained our position and only late Saturday did he installed the correct granite. Our whole color scheme was based on this. Lita did get her specially painted vanity bowl featuring a "parrot" like Vicka. We had to make a few adjustments but it happened. Now we will select the tile and the wall color. Sunday and Monday the inside finishing details will be completed as well as cleaning.

The mosaic at the entrance way was / is a bit of "fun". It features a parrot (Vicka) sitting on a bunch of ripe and unripe bananas hanging from a banana tree and a cat (Hugo) with a green feather sticking out of his mouth. It's quite a work of art and everyone has watched its progression and had lots of fun. I saw one of the workers using his picture phone so he could share it with his family.

The cabinet maker had a bit of a shock when he went to install the bedroom set. All the components measured 10cm. wider than the room. He had a problem! He scratched his head, kicked himself, removed one of the components and returned the next day-it all fits now.

This next week will see the completion of minor things and the completion of the exterior.

Unit 102: Not a lot of focus here this week but next week we will begin to shift the emphasis and return to a normal work load as well as incorporate a couple of holidays we plowed through. Saturday saw the removal of two large fan palms in front of both 101/102. These were relocated to the new property along with a number of banana seedlings and a couple of multi-palms. The area in front of 102 will now be landscaped as soon as we finish the scaffold work on 101.

Lockers: doors and shelves are being made and installed for those who want shelving. Minor landscaping is progressing around this former construction site...

Electrical System Upgrade: We've had the inspection an everything passed. We are now awaiting the installation of the meters from ICE so we can make the house connections-then we might get some bright light and the various motors will purr.

Marketing: it appears we have one multiyear lease coming on line. The owner will be happy. A son who looks after his mother who lives in Florida needs round the clock help. He said it would cost around $150,000 each year in Florida to provide the total care and housing she needs.

We've had a number of lookers but for the most part, no commitments. Some low ball offers but... And some people with no money but big aspirations and promises.

Internet: seems to have been working but we don't have the reliability of the VOIP phone we use to have. It appears that ICE / RACSA have oversold their capability and cannot maintain their signal quality. Thus, internet and VOIP service suffers. There is nothing we can do about it. It seems that ICE is getting lots of complaints but like any monopoly, does it really care???

Next Project

The unconditional offer was made and accepted on Monday. The deal is now firm -we own the land outright. This search took 10+ months and took us through probably 50 different properties.

As work winds down at Los Jardines over the next month, we will transfer our crew to the new property. There is lots of work which can be usefully started and for which we do not need government approvals, -- eg clearing the underbrush and planting the core garden elements, cleaning the stream, building the perimeter wall, setting up the infrastructure to support the future construction, etc. In the mean time, we will figure out the master plan and proceed with the applications.

As of now, the working name for this new community is "The Garden Residences of Rio Oro". The site is 9 acres / (4 hectares. 40,000 square meters); this is 4 times the size of Los Jardines. We anticipate that when finished in 5-6 years, we will have built from 85-100 homes with a probable total sales of around $16M to $20 million.

It will be developed along the same philosophy of Los Jardines but with a few differences: The legal structure will be condominiums. Bank financing should be readily available to qualified purchasers. We hope to attract Costa Rican as well as non-Costa Rican purchasers. The quality will be the same as Los Jardines-lots of attention to details, gorgeous cabinetry and built in book cases / display centers, granite counters and vanities, American Standard plumbing fixtures and faucets, recessed halogen lighting, home security systems, back up emergency lighting, etc. For the most part, each house will have space for a clothes washer/dryer and for a built in dishwasher. The more expensive houses will have larger refrigerators . Virtually, all the houses will have hot water tanks vs. the gas demand heaters used at Los Jardines We expect to have mostly covered parking. . We will have state of the art telecommunications systems and probably 24/7 on site security.

We will build a variety of one and two story houses as well as side splits and back splits in order to take advantage of the varied terrain. The houses will range in size and will include one to three bedrooms, some with maids quarters, Many of the homes will be detached; a number will be in small multiple units-4 or 6 plexes. We will orient the houses such that they capitalize on the mountain, or valley views or on the river presence and landscaped gardens. While we expect to build homes for sale, we also expect to sell lots and work with purchasers of those lots to build custom built homes.

Extensive nature paths will wind along on either side of the stream which runs lengthwise through the property. The stream (Rio Oro) will be spanned by several suspension bridges, These bridges will connect the two sides of the land and tie them together into a community. Multiple swimming pools-probably 5 -each with waterfalls and each with recreational and social facilities, as well as well as water fountains, extensive landscaping ,and night time lighting will be prominent features of the development. We will have on-site property management and will offer lock-and-leave as well as leave-and-lease capability.

At Los Jardines we built a substantial portion of the common element areas first such that prospective purchasers had a better idea of what they were getting. In this case, we expect the site will be developed in phases and each phase will probably proceed more in parallel with house construction because we expect to have an extensive master plan and we have Los Jardines to help prospective purchasers visualize the end product. In addition, the scale of this project and the fact that there are two municipal entrances to the property (one on either side of the stream) means we can develop it in phases.

We are currently asking for site planning proposals from three architects. One of these is the same architectural team which developed the Marriott Los Suenos project and other high profile projects in Costa Rica.

Marketing will begin after we have a master site plan. We anticipate making available an opportunity for one or two investors to purchase up to 40% of the land and to participate in the subsequent development. In addition, we anticipate making an attractive offer of up to 20 early purchasers who have a comfort level with us based on doing what we said we were going to do at Residencias Los Jardines. Early purchasers at Los Jardines not only realized a great capital gain but enjoy a product which, in many cases, far exceeds their expectations.

Both Paul and I are excited about this new development.

OUR LIVES

Our life has been totally consumed by ensuring the work gets done, sourcing the products we want, and trying to make decisions which work for us. Not all has been smooth sailing-we painted the living room/dining room, and kitchen three times now. Lita and I still haven't gotten it together on the guest bathroom and bedroom / Lita's personal retreat room. We've put that on hold so we can focus on other things. Curtains have been ordered and will be installed on Thursday-just before the arrival of my sister. We will begin to move a few things in on Tuesday. We don't have a lot of furniture purchased yet so will get buy with hand-me-downs until we fill in.

We have enjoyed several great meals as we discovered a couple new restaurants.-"Tre Fratelli" near the Paco intersection is serious Italian food,, nicely presented and attentively served. I had forgotten about this restaurant and when looking for a taste sensation, a person from France e-mailed me whose last name reminded me of this restaurant.

The second is a steak restaurant which I had passed over for a number of years. I never saw anyone there and I had heard that it was expensive. Well, it is now packed with people every night and I guess we are going to have to make a reservation to try it out. I've never seen so many people at a restaurant before this in CR.

We look forward to a more sane pace of life which we hope begins in not more than a week. We are ready for some peace and quiet time, some time to begin exploring Costa Rica again. High on my list of places is the middle and southern tip of the Guanacaste Peninsula beginning with Samara south. Beginning in November (weather dependent) I hope to take several one week road trips to explore and enjoy this area. The last two + years have been head down-ass up and I've not had the time to enjoy my newly adopted country - it's time for an appreciation break.

I've suffered thru a cold this past week. If I had a choice between a cold and another operation, I might choose the operation.

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

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Units 101 / 102
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Liquor cabinet
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Unit 101 / Kitchen
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Unit 101 / Closet
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Unit 101 / Livingroom
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Unit 101
Livingroom / Office

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Unit 101
Master bedroom closet

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Unit 101
Master bedroom

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Unit 101 / Mosaic
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Unit 101 / Powder room
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Unit 101 / Terrace
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RÍO ORO

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