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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.


Progress Report

December 12-17, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #62

Contact phone numbers

Internet Phone:
New York 315-279-6711 // Toronto 416-907-5758

Costa Rica:
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 some reason.

The Story this week is new beginnings and loose ends.

CONSTRUCTION

Weather: 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: 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.

Units 117-120: These units continue to advance as manpower is available.

Units 101 and 102: No further progress on these; the shoemaker is still shoeless.

Happy Workers: 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.

Landscape lighting: 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.

Storage Lockers: We've heard from most people and all are in agreement. We will begin building these when manpower is available.

Roadway: 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!!

Marketing: 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.

Next Project

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.

Background: 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.

Negotiations: 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

http://www.therealcostarica.com/default.html
http://groups.msn.com/CRLeBoard
http://www.arcr.net/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaLiving/ http://welovecostarica.com

OUR LIVES

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 there...

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.

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