December 12-17, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #62
Contact phone numbers
New York 315-279-6711 // Toronto 416-907-5758
Cell 506-305-3965 // Land 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: our land line in CR has changed;
we are now integrated into the compound network.
Pictures: 106 / 121 / 122 / 123
Note: for some reason Log. 61 and associated pictures
has not been posted on the web. I have an inquiry
into my people in Argentina but haven't received a
response. I'm hope all is well there with them and
that perhaps their internet connection is disabled for
The Story this week is new beginnings and loose ends.
We've actually have a few overcast days and
light rains but as in Camelot, it rains only in the
evenings. The rest of the time it's been perfect.
Unit 106 B: final cleaning and detailing
is in progress. It will be occupied on Wednesday.
106 C and D:
both are advancing 106D is in the
process of installing doors and cabinets. 106C is is
ready for cabinets doors.
We are reading the area for landscaping.
Units 121, 122, and 123:
121: We poured concrete on Wednesday and are now parging the exterior. Next week the welders should be
working to construct the 2nd. floor.
122 and 123: exterior boarding and rough in electrical has started on both. We had some interior spacing
issues to deal with on both but have worked our way through them.
These units continue to advance as manpower is available.
Units 101 and 102:
No further progress on these; the shoemaker is still shoeless.
All week there has been singing and a heightened sense of activity. Why? Because by law,
all employees are to receive their 13th. Month salary by December 15. The practice in the construction
industry is to "liquidate" all employees, i.e. to pay them all government mandated benefits including the
13th month. In our case, this amounts to about $15K plus their weekly wage. Probably about half of our
workers will return to Nicaragua for several weeks.
This has continued and we now have lights in many areas we identified last week.
We've brought in a number of truck loads of good topsoil and have filled in many areas in preparation
for planting. We have yet to focus on the irrigation system.
Electrical System Up grade:
I was told the transformer didn't meet ICEs standards; I'm skeptical and am suspicious it got used elsewhere. I may be getting scammed.
We've heard from most people and all are in agreement. We will begin building these when manpower is available.
We've started the final preparation on the west side prior to surfacing. When surfaced, I expect
to see a big difference. In the process this week, it seems a shovel or pick went through the electrical
cable to the gate intercom-Murphy is alive and well!!
The six people from Florida (see "Next Project") made an offer on 120 and are now reviewing the documentation.
One of the two Canadians who viewed us the previous week has made an offer on Unit 117. The paper work
and the deposit are likely to follow this next week. We understand that his brother is trying to realign
his ducks after seeing the potential here.
That leaves us with two verbal offers -120 and 117; we hope to see follow up on both.
We have several other people scheduled to view us. One is scheduled to be out guest; I'm awaiting her arrival.
As of now, we have 5 units left and we are raising the price:
Unit 112: $135,000
Unit 113: $145,000
Unit 118: $137,000
Unit 119: $137,000
UNIT 109:DETACHED HOUSE we've had Unit 109 come back to us because the would be purchaser, and current
tenant, has not yet sold his home in Las Vegas. It is 1.620 sf, and has TWO bedrooms and TWO bathrooms.
We are asking $175,000. The current tenant (excellent) will remain at $1,300 mo.
Miscellaneous: We finished off a modification to one
of the units we closed on and have another to do in the future for another purchaser.
Our six guests from Florida arrived on Sunday as scheduled. While we had to make some
last minute arrangements because 106B was not finished due to last minute changes by the owner, we managed to
accommodate them. The four days could probably be likened to dogs meeting for the first time-each
sniffing the other to find out what the other is all about and to find out if each wants to be associated
with the other in the future. I guess they liked what they saw and heard. They developed a comfort level
sufficient to propose a business relationship going forward. They liked the 9 acre parcel of land near
Piedades de Santa Ana. They also gave a verbal offer to purchase unit 120 which would be used by them as a
headquarters over the next 3-4 year projected lifetime of the Piedades project. Unit 120 would be used for
potential clients on the Piedades project they would send to CR.
This group is headed by a very bright tax lawyer / accountant who, over the years, has taken a
group of people and made them wealthy. This has been largely done through real estate and most recently
Florida RE. They now feel the bloom is off the rose in Florida and it's time to move their investments to
Costa Rica where they feel the opportunities for appreciation are better and the tax laws are more
friendly. They said they could deliver money and purchasers; we can deliver the product. Their
purchasers are looking for larger homes on larger lots than those on Los Jardines.
On Thursday Paul and I met with the vendor of the land-a woman recently widowed. We had
an initial discussion wherein we outlined three scenarios-she partners with us by throwing in the land
and we develop it; we buy sections with option to purchase more sections; and out right purchase. We
felt she was receptive. We offered to provide her with a spreadsheet showing some numbers which might
help her make a decision. We also said we didn't want this discussion to drag because we need to secure
our future to keep our crew working and given the lead time necessary for approvals, we didn't want to be
doing the civil work in the rainy season. We pointed to our maestro de obra who is quite "portly" and said
he liked to eat! We've set a tentative decision date of the first week in January.
Description of land:
It consists of 35,300 M2 which is about 9 acres. The lot itself is very irregular.
It is midway up the south side mountain range which defines the Central Valley The lot is located midway
between Piedades de Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon (about 8 min. from Los Jardines and 25 min. from downtown San
Jose. The land is serviced by electricity and municipal water; there is an existing well on the
property. A stream boarders on one side and two roadways partially border other property lines. It
has a small existing house which might become handy during construction. Neighbors consist of large lots
with expensive homes and smaller, older homes. The topography is very irregular; it will take a detailed
topographical map and a lot of iterations to make the best use of this land. When designed, virtually each
lot should have a magnificent view.
Preliminary assessment is that we see about 30 lots of 1,000 M2 or 11,000 sf with most of the houses
being 2,000 + sf with an average sale price of around $250,000 and a range of $350,000 to $175,000. The
houses will be detached, probably include a maids quarters, plus 2 -3 bedrooms and perhaps a 4th bedroom
in a few. The exterior would be Costa Rican "Colonial" and would be single and two story homes of
block construction. Lots would vary in size but would be on average, about 1,000 M2. There should be enough
room on most lots for a small swimming pool and generous setbacks. There are a few trees on the land
which we will save but most of the landscaping will have to be added. The finishes would be in the same
caliber as those at Los Jardines.
Other: The feasibility study I've commissioned is on-going; I'm awaiting the results.
Useful Websites on Costa Rica
This was a tremendously busy week as well -I am miles behind in paperwork and personal disorganization
reigns supreme. For the past 6 weeks I just haven't had time to focus on what I hate-paperwork.
We hosted our 6 guests at a pool side bar-b-q on Sunday -chicken, tuna, roast potatoes, salad, wine.
All went perfectly except I forgot the prepped baked tomatoes which I later found sitting on the coffee
table. No one missed them. I tasted Johnny Walker "Blue" label scotch for the first time, Nice, but at
$175US a bottle, I don't think I'll be buying much of it but if anyone wants to again invite me, I'll be
Our guests reciprocated by taking us to Bachus, a very nice restaurant in Santa Ana. We all had a
great meal except Lita who ordered the wrong thing. Nevertheless, it was fun. I also had some wonderful wines.
Joe, our friend and part time resident, returned to Canada on Monday along with his golfing buddy, Mel.
Every once in a while, I've been fortunate to meet a very gracious person. It was fun building for him
and it's always a delight to have him - more and more so as we get to know him better. I hope he spends
more time at Los Jardines. He's also expressed an interest in our new project. We'll see. As of now,
there's lots of questions which need to be answered for all.
Mel, the golfing fanatic, managed to play 72 holes of golf each and every day here except for the day he
left, he only got in 18 holes. He met some great partners and thoroughly enjoyed himself. For
Golfers: He told me that for $230 you can buy a monthly pass which gives you unlimited play -does
not include a cart- at the course 5 min. from Los Jardines.
Paul, my partner, returned to Canada on Friday via Havana. His presence and experience while here
contributed significantly and he was able to pick up some elements and issues and work them through.
Lita has dedicated each day to the of distribution of brochures. She has her first respondent this
afternoon. I'm hoping for her, that something comes of it.
A boating friend passed away this week of a heart attack. That occasioned contemplation time in the
hammock with mariner's rum salute, and cigar to remember the crossing of our paths (or in this case, wakes).
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.