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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

Mar. 21-23, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #24


Synopsis: A short (3 day) week) (this is Semana Santa or Holy Week) dedicated to making ready to pour the floors on the new construction and to finishing off 108.

Unit 108: Finishing work continued and finishing work always takes time and little adjustments always have to be made. The granite was installed in the kitchen and the living room entertainment center. The installation of all cabinetry was completed and all touch ups made. Lights were installed in the cabinetry for displays. Tile work on the upper level and one of the ground floor bathrooms advanced. The door maker stumbled and ultimately fell flat on his face; I’ve removed him and have contracted with the cabinet maker to finish of the door installation. Very minor work remains. Virtual completion is expected by Wednesday and final clean up will follow; Friday next should see the end of this conversion.

Comment: This unit has really captured the hearts of the workers. I feel there is a special and personal effort being made by some to make this a truly spectacular unit. I am asking for and they are offering their design suggestions (e.g. tile designs). The site superintendent has video taped this unit for his record —I think his chest is just a bit higher and he’s standing a bit taller these days.

Building Costs: Most all the data is now in to calculate the cost of construction (materials + labor) on the renovations. It works out to $43 sf. This is consistent with the national figures and in a recent article it said that the cost of construction had increased 20-23% over the past year. The cost of land and site improvements as well as my supervision/ as well as the cost of money have to be added to determine the total cost of development.

New Construction

We have continued to do the final leveling and adjusting of the height of the substrate for the floors. Vapor barriers (plastic sheets to prevent the migration of moisture) have been placed. Pipes for electrical cables have been placed and wire mesh us laid. This is followed by placing leveling screed lines such that when the concrete pour occurs it can be screeded level and no further adjustments will be necessary prior to the installation of tile.

Laundry Room: The roof is on, interior and exteriors are done. What remains in the tile work, sink installation, propane tanks and hot water heater, door and windows.

Project Review and New Direction: The architect has yet to produce a draft design.

Marketing: I am told we have a buyer for Unit 110. When I see the deposit I’ll count it. We have a person arriving and living onsite; he'll be giving us a close look over and CR in general. and perhaps playing some golf--his passion. On Thursday we will have people who have been followng the development for the past several months on site looking at us. We'll see.


Surprises: Broadsides and Sideswipes: By Wednesday, I had been broadsided and sideswiped –very different but alike in that neither was expected:

Broadsided: I was accused by a very dear and valued friend of behavior which was to break our friendship. Since there was not one atom of truth to the accusation, it was very disturbed and upset that such an accusation could have been conjured up. My wife, who was obviously disturbed by this accusation as well, worked her magic that lead to a clearing. My relationship will survive and hopefully be stronger as a result. But Wow!!!!!!!! this was NOT part of any logical sequence of events. It was one strange and surreal experience and not one I want to go through again.
Sideswiped: A bloody bus driver was more concerned about hitting a bump than about who was on the road. He squeezed me off the road with a cement electrical post dead ahead. He got my mirror and I changed my pants.

Both are reminders that the unexpected can happen; you can plan, anticipate, use caution, etc., but sometimes, events can just be explained as exogenous variables in Life.

A friend, ex-workmate and ex-business partner visited the project. After reviewing the property, 108 (in progress) and the finished 103, he said, four things:

1. Are your sure you priced these right? 2. Are you charging for your time and experience? (He knows that I’ve largely worked for free on other projects.) 3. Are you aware what has happened to real estate prices in Toronto, in Florida, and in California? (For this product the price is $300-$400 sf). 4. You’re not charging enough for property management.

This is a friend who is actively involved in RE in Toronto and aware of developments elsewhere. He’s made more money than I and was in charge of the marketing while I was in charge of construction of a $6 million project in Toronto in 1997. It was a successful project and we both made money —only to be subsequently lost in the stock market crash. I subsequently showed him the world of executive furnished suites management and he has not looked back since. I know my history is one of the buyer making all the money while I worked hard to build it. When this conversation was repeated to Lita, she beat me up more saying that I simply wasn’t charging enough for the product I was building. I’m going to have to think about what he said.

He also said that a very good friend of 20 years and a marketing genius (in my opinion) may be looking for a new opportunity. This is also a person whose business practices and integrity is without question —we worked on a handshake for 18 years and never had occasion to question the other’s practice. I’ve contacted him. We’ll see.

I do not know how to market and have never wanted to be in that end of things. I want to build —that’s all. Long time friends have opined that I’ve always built a better product than I’ve charged for —I agree but continue to do so. I have my current partner and another person who both want to do more projects here —both see opportunities. My current business partner is soon likely to become more actively involved in CR —he is a builder par excellence. This could be the beginning of a strong development team for a larger project —but first things first.

It’s been raining here on a fairly regular basis—almost as if it were the beginning of the “green” season—2 months early. Hope it’s not the case. The plants love it and are responding in kind—I need the roofs on.

Hugo: ended up with grease all over his chest and stomach. How and where?????? Only he knows and he’s not talking. He subsequently got a hair cut and now looks like me —nearly bald!

Vicka, the parrot: Lita nearly flopped the mop on him —too bad –the little pigeon-toed bugger got out of the way just in time.

The VOIP phone system is now operational but I have a few things yet to work to make it convenient. It is an amazing technology. It is crystal clear and has no sound delay. I have a New York number and a Toronto number. I also have an answering machine which is forwarded to my e-mail account. I have unlimited calling and calls from there to here are charged as a local call. In the past, I and others, have had difficulty in getting a clear line to CR.; hopefully, that will now be a thing of the past. Technology is amazing and affordable and eventually you can find someone to get it up and running. I’m not a techno wizard (in fact quite the opposite).

Keith left on Friday for his home north of Toronto; he’s in for a cold shock. We’ll miss his company and his wisdom. He feels it’s time to put away the Spanish books and to focus on building his airplane, refinishing his 1929 Chrysler, and to polish up his John Deer tractors.

We have a pool party planned for tomorrow and instead of an Easter Egg hunt, we’re going to have a “banana hunt”; We’ve got a bunch of bananas on which we are going to write numbers. The person or team that puts together the longest sequence of number bananas wins a prize —this is not a complicated game but if you’re feeling full of spirits, what the... It’s a stupid game but maybe someone will step on the parrot!!!!!!

Brian, Lita, Hugo, and Vicka

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There have been no significant external changes and the finishing touches for Unit 108 are not yet finished. Next week should be back to normal —this was a short week.