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New Construction

Lease / purchase

Phase 3: The construction of the remaining 11 residences.

Scheduled to begin in November with completion expected
by January 31.

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Progress Report

Apr. 4-10, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #26


Synopsis: It’s difficult to know where to begin but let’s say the completion of 108, the beginnings of 107, the advancement of 114-116, the trip to the beach, and lots!!!!

NEW CONSTRUCTION: We continued to clean up the floor slab to make it ready for tile. We filled in structural columns as well as framed and poured collar ties on 114-116. We ended the week by laying a few block. We also started filling some structural columns in 117+.

Unit 104: We redesigned the parking area and got that substantially completed.

Unit 108: we continued to finish off the little details and to decorate it. When the purchaser arrived he was breathless but his colleague —purchaser of 107— was nothing short of effusive. I think I have a deficiency list of about 4 small items which should take a day or less —the workmen did a superb job on this including making suggestions to me as to how to improve or add the little eye candy that is part of the Costa Rican building design. (I accepted many of their suggestions and the unit benefited from it.) The purchaser chose his ceiling fans, confirmed the coral stone for the upper bedroom, Before he arrived or before he left, the curtains had been installed, counter chairs delivered, beds delivered, ceiling fans installed, and pictures hung, kitchen supplied, frig installed, etc.
Everyone on the team was working towards a common deadline and they all did their job well.

Unit 107: We got vacant possession of this unit —Derek left (more on this story later) and I bought back time from the leassee of 103 who is not in attendance right now. We started tearing it apart in preparation for it’s conversion. I arranged for a meeting with the architect and the purchaser of 107 for Sunday morning; together, with my help, they came up with a design which all like. A few details need to be worked out and the working drawings are yet to be made but... The purchaser will leave for several months, there will be some e-mails and some consultations but each feel confident that what he wants built will be built. (It’s scary when someone says to me they like my taste, just do it again.—It’s a great vote of confidence but also a great burden of responsibility.)

The purchasers of 108 and 107 return to Canada tomorrow. I’ve got a lot to catch up on and a lot to move forward on.

Units 121, 122 and 123: These have been refined a bit more but are not yet finalized nor sited on the land. We are getting there however.

Permit: We now have in our possession the approved drawings from the Min. of Health. These will be presented to the City of Santa Ana on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday). We will ask that the stop work order be lifted. They can say “yes” or then can say “not before we review the Phase 1 environmental and / or until SENTENA reviews it. We’ll see.

Marketing: I expect to put ads in The Wall Street Journal, Sunset and Harper’s magazines as well as work towards ads locally. I’m considering hiring a person for a month or so to focus on this.

Derek, a person on a research mission, to check out CR, CR law, and our project, returned on Monday to discuss his findings with his wife. I think they have some discussions ahead of them re. How they want to live the next phase of their life. I remember these issues when I was going thru the transition. Lita had experienced life here but was, at that time, committed to her career. I had had it with Canada in number of different dimensions. Regardless, I consulted her by saying that while I wanted to buy this property and transfer the focus of my life here, I would not jeopardize my marriage. She had to agree. She said: “go for it” I didn’t ask exactly what she meant but I did ask her to repeat it. Regardless of Derek’s and his wife’s decision, we really enjoyed him, his sense of humor was refreshing, he related well to Lita and the bloody parrot, enjoys Scotch, ice cream, lamb, and fish —he really can’t be all that bad— we certainly had a great time and would love to see him as a resident...

We’ve started a conversation with a couple who viewed us last week. Information is being exchanged.

Some Canadian referrals were on site today to review the property. Right now they are interested in sun and surfing but through common associates, I’ll follow up.

A temporary resident arrived on site as scheduled. Within two days he wants to talk purchase. We’ll see.

VOIP phone: It seems to work but I haven’t yet learned how to manage it. In this case, I am now the “weakest link”. Sure glad I don’t have the quick witted acidic-tongued host there to beat me up. She could make mince meat of me.


There have been so many incidents to relate this past week that many of them have merged together into a blur.

Derek wanted to tag along as I was going about my work. That work included buying decorations for 108. I decided I wanted to add some color so I decided to buy some silk flowers —funny when you realize that we are surrounded by real flowers— but if the house isn’t lived in all the time, real flowers / plants don’t work. Derek was a bit concerned about his manly image of buying and carrying silk flowers with another guy —we had some great laughs over this. Following this, we went to the equivalent of the “dollar store” to buy some “art”; I suggested he may not want to be seen with me there (Pequeno Mundo) but I insisted that amongst the polyester clothes, there were bargains. He figured no one new him so it would be o.k.; to his and my surprise, he found all types of bargains there and really enjoyed himself —he even went down isles I wouldn’t.

We had some great grilled fish and lamb, dinners with Derek. I won’t hold it against him that he doesn’t like curry —he’s still fun company. He left on Monday; Joe and Phil arrived on Wednesday.

After Joe took in his new house, he wanted to proceed to buy some beach front property. I suggested the Samara area —my favorite beach area and one which had been recently written up as the next happening area after Tamarindo. We went for two nights; three days. I had asked several contacts if they knew of land there for sale; neither did. We went blind. Early on the first day of scouting, we turned on to a road fronting the coast; ran across a derelict property. Viewed it, asked the caretaker about it and got referred to a huge white mansion on the hill. The owner –French Canadian / Italians— was developing a number of lots; we reviewed the project –lots of problems— looked at one of the three remaining lots, LOVED it, and to make a long story short, Joe tied up a fantastic acre right on the ocean, magnificent view, crashing waves and rocks, access to a virtually private sandy beach, etc. I’m jealous and extremely happy for him; and I continue to be amazed at our great fortune in turning onto that road.

While there, we had one of the most amazing dinners any of us had ever had —grilled mixed seafood plate— grilled sea bass, calamari, mussels, lobster, shrimp, (and something else I think) —cooked to perfection, lots and lots of all —about $25 each. It was well worth it and I’d drive back again just for the experience (4 hours). We also had a terrible meal at the hotel; the only redeeming thing which can be said of the hotel is that it had a fantastic view. The hotel? “Guanamar.”

While in Samara —it’s hot— I don’t care when you go to the costal area, it’s still hot —we explored the area and picked up some driftwood to make a perch for the parrot. We’ve told Lita that we’ve impregnated the wood with a chemical to make the little bugger’s toes fall off... She’s dubious but not entirely convinced it isn’t a true.

The parrot really missed Lita while she was gone. Upon our return, the parrot heard Lita’s voice and started to chatter, squawk, swirl in the cage, etc. Hugo has been even more than normally affectionate. Aren’t pets great company and ego builders!!!!!!

Life here just gets better and better largely because of the people we are meeting and the experiences we are having. We have come to broaden our friendships and associations because we have made a commitment to CR and to another phase in our life and others are either agreeing with us or are interested in testing it out to see if it works for them. Despite the current permitting snafu. I’m convinced there will be light at the end of the permit tunnel and I expect to review the process with mixed assessments: It has added an additional experience base, a substantial inconvenience, a partial construction delay, a benefit in that it allowed us to concentrate on the renovations and in that process, we discovered a market appeal we hadn’t anticipated. Some of the people and arrangements we had to deal with or accept were unsavory —I found myself holding my nose, biting my lip, etc. in the necessity of “moving on”. Were I to have a choice of repeating the process and working with the same people, I’d politely decline and then have a celebratory drink... so what’s different elsewhere???

Brian, Lita, Hugo and Vicka (the pigeon toed parrot).

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