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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

Feb.  21-26, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #20

Construction

This will be short as it is really just a continuation of the previous week:

Walkways: tiling advanced but we have a long way to go given the amout of sidewalks we created.

Internal roadways: curbs advanced. Next week we'll begin to extend these curbs into what will become the parking areas

UPS for gates: (UPS-uninterruptable power supply) is now in place in an experimental capacity. This is to provide continuous operations to the front gates regardless of a power outage.

This will not address the problem we experienced this week: a creepy crawly was have a great time crossing the printed circuit mother board when it was activated; he got fried and I had to buy a new motherboard.

Large swimming pool: return to service after new wiring for lighting, cleaning, and some grouting.

Composting: after replacing the bearing and learning that the chipper simply won't handle the fibrous garden waste, we cleaned up the accumulated debris and now have the beginnings of a compost heap. I have three separate bins; One is now virtually full-probably about 3 weeks accumulated cuttings. Obviously we will not be able to handle all of our garden waste. I'm allowing 3-4 mo. For the materials to breakdown into reusable status.

Landscaping: We laid a lot of sod and added some plants in areas which are not likely to be affected by construction.

Renovation / Remodeling

Unit 108: This was the major focus of this week. Unfortunately, the original design proved inadequate -spaces just didn't work out. Some issues could be addressed with site changes but some required major rethinking. These are now in the hands of the architect and we are frustrated with the delay and schedule alterations.
We poured the concrete for the 2nd. floor Saturday so it can harden up for a working surface on Monday. (These guys seem to love to pour concrete -they make a game out of the hard work- hand balming it in buckets to the 2nd. floor after wheel barrowing it from across the property -singing, laughing, heightened level of activity, etc.).
Exterior framing and roof tiling continued; the building is now beginning to take on some definition. Completion date is March 15; I expect we will be working extended hours to meet this deadline.

106 area: I now have the beginnings of a plan for two bedroom or 1 bedroom + den (flexible configuration, each with on-suite bathrooms, terrace, parking, and 950 sf. We're still making some refinements but that seems to be what the design is shaping up to be.

New Construction

We've continued doing some things - window sills, preparing for parging, installing the re-bar reinforcing cages, installation of arch forms for windows, etc.

The plans will be reviewed with the City of Santa Ana on Monday. We will ask at that time if we can re-start construction. The guy asking will be Mr. Min. of Health so acceptance at that review is not a problem. The remaining hurdle being only SENTENA and reviews were suppose to have occurred there as well such that when submitted, it sails through. We'll see.

Marketing: we have closed the deal on Unit 111. A couple from California who have moved to CR, We have yet to get to know them but they seem nice.

Book Reference: Lawyer and Legal information:

Several years ago I selected Roger Peterson as my lawyer. I was impressed by his book "Legal Guide to Costa Rica" Third edition. He has now completed revisions and issued a 4th edition. This is a very readable book and anyone interested can get a good grounding in the CR legal system. It is NOT full of legaleze, is well organized, and manageable. I would encourage anyone interested in knowing more on this subject to visit www.costaricalaw.com The book can be purchased on line. All the info. is on the website.

Renting and Security Deposits: A NOTE OF CAUTION: When reviewing my financial statement with my Tica accountant, I noticed that a security deposit had been logged into "Revenue". While debating this with the accountant, it was said that in CR, security deposits are NOT returned and that is why she logged it into "Revenue". This is consistent with other people's experience; they never got their "security deposit" returned. ((We don't operate that way but readers who are renting might want to make a mental note of this CR characteristic.))

Our lives

This week has been a blur like the past month but a couple of notable incidents stand out:

Vintage "Indian" motorcycle: On Sunday when I was showing some Canadians around the area for possible retirement/investing, -hope they do because they are really fun- (actually friends of another person I'm working with -the guy was talking about riding a motorcycle (a passion of his other than golf) around CR and there, in the rotonda of Multiplaza was a vintage motorcycle. I thought I recognized it as an "Indian"; we stopped, sure enough, a 1928 Indian "Scout" in excellent restorable condition -all the parts there except the exhaust. In 1947, the recently deceased owner road the bike to CR. To make a long story short, I made an offer but seem to have been beaten by someone from Philadelphia. It would have been a giggle and some fun but guess it was not to be.

Taj Mahal curry restaurant: The 2nd. Item of interest (to me) is that with these same people expressed a love for curry, we put together a party of 10 and went to the Taj Mahal in Escazu. I thought it was great but not everyone agreed with my assessment.

Weather: the winds have died down and it is now "hot"; around 30-33º C / 85-90º F. This is the weather I remember. The weather at the beaches is VERY, VERY HOT.

Lita spends most of her days at the gym and I am running around for items.

The VOIP phone is still a distant goal but inch my inch, it may happen.

I pray each day hoping the parrot will bet laryngitis!!!!!

Finally got a chance to sort through the various beddings we had accumulated for the property. The mismatches and old were given to the workers; the others were organized and put into the newly completed furniture bodega. We now have room to breath in our unit.

Today we went to the local super market and loaded up on goodies-certified Angus beef tenderloin from Chile (I hope it has been aged but I doubt it), fresh leg of lamb, smoked pork chops, fresh tuna, dorado, and marlin. The future is looking well balanced and delicious.

New Project: Over the past couple weeks, I've had occasion to look as additional property. I've identified one piece I'm particularly interested in-not far from Los Jardines-7,200 sq. meters (about 3/4 the size of Los Jardines), in a proven residential area. It's a bit early for me to seriously consider another project; the construction will be completed here in about 5 months; I'd like to know I have 50% sold; then I could consider the next project.

Editorial Note

Saturday night -I'm beat from the week. After a meal of roast pork marinated in fresh pineapple, finished off with a delicious piece of chocolate cake and coffee, I retired to the small pool with a cigar and some Crown Royal a friend from Canada left for me to watch over for him until he returns. Hugo joined me. While on the chaise lounge, in the background I heard some salsa music and the bird squawking. I knew Lita was dancing w/ the parrot and both were having a wonderful time. I had a full moon, absolutely calm night, 23º C/75º F, lights reflecting on the glass smooth water and the pool lights providing a soft glow. I could have taken my computer to the pool -it's a laptop and I could have connected to the web (we have a wireless LAN system) but it was too much effort. I spent a nano-second thinking of what our lives would be like if we were in Toronto. I feel very fortunate to have negotiated many of the minefields of Life and of CR and to have reinvented a life here and a lifestyle which both Lita and I can enjoy and we can share with our friends. I feel fortunate as... that Lita seems to made a huge transition given her special challenges. I finished both the cigar and the Crown Royal and thought, what a fantastic country! My biggest disappointment is that a number of friends have yet to experience a quality of life they have dreamed about but have never seriously realized that it could be available to them given a few changes in priorities... but we each live our own lives... I just don't know of any reports of people, who, on their death beds, wished they had spent more time at the office!

Brian, Lita, Hugo, and Vicky

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