March 20-25, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #76
Contact phone numbers
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203
Land: 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: the New York and Toronto numbers are "local calls" for people in the area codes; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code to either the "315" or the "416" area code.
Pictures: 101/2 and the lockers
The STORY: re-sales, leasing and frustrations
Weather: unusually calm and some overcast but still beautiful.
Units 101 / 102: The pictures tell the story but the footings are now dug and the substrate has started. I did a slight redesign by reducing the size of the master bedroom and increasing the living room area and added a laundry/storage room.
Lockers and Locker House:
Lockers: the pictures tell the story here. Substantial effort went into making the substrate because of the structuring of the upper areas. The floor will be poured on Tuesday. Following the pour, progress will be rapid.
Houses: I did a redesign of these units to make better use of the space. We now have two—one bedroom units of 615 ft each which make efficient use of the space while capturing the view and incorporating the terrace and living room.
Unit 120: Only 120 remains to be finished and that will be done this time next week.
Landscaping: We’ve had a number of people working on it this week, edging, planting, weeding, watering. In addition, we found and have started to install some tiles for the remaining walkways.
Electrical System Upgrade: no progress that we are aware of.
While on the subject of electricity, we’ve had two power failures in the past week —we use and those of have been only two for some time. Electricity is becoming more reliable. Our emergency lighting packs worked (with the exception of 1 and that we are investigating) and people appreciated them. We now have UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) for most all of our computer and phone equipment. Our UPS systems for the gates do not work; the power surge of the motor coming on eventually trips an electronic surge protector and kicks the system off.
Transition: Paul continues to plug away at setting up systems. We are hampered a bit by the bookkeeper not being here—she is traveling again. We hope that this comes to an end soon. We sought some advice from the accountant and determined that our thinking was correct regarding the arrangement between the property mgt. Company and Donesete, the land holding company. From the lawyer we finalized the procedure for finalizing the lockers and the houses above. Now we have to implement it.
We’ve been trying to set up a bank account for a week and a half now. We only have 4 business accounts along with two personal accounts each at the same branch. After gathering all the documents required and submitting them —that was 5 day’s work and involved a lawyer to create some of the paperwork, the bank has proceeded to loose one of the documents. We are still waiting.
The former property manager, Mike Newhouse, moved to an area high above Heredia and into the clouds and quite cool temperatures. He’s on to a new life with a new wife.
Marketing: Units 103 and 116-owned by the same person—were resold; he wanted to move to Columbia. He realized a nice profit by buying at preconstruction prices and selling at post construction prices.
We signed a long term lease for 103 so the new owner has a nice income. We also signed long term leases (2 years) for Units 110 and 112. These units are still available for sale and will now appeal to an investor and / or a purchaser wanting occupancy in several years.
We have been frustrated by committed purchasers not getting their funding in place so they can close on their units—120, 121, 122, 123. For reasons beyond our control and responsibility, their funding is not in place. From our perspective, all have known about this for months and all except 120 has wired funds here before. We’ve worked hard to meet our deadlines and to deliver a good product. In one case, we’ve lent furniture to accommodate the transition while personal belongings are being shipped – which 5 wks later still haven’t arrived. In another case, we’ve furnished, leased and have the unit occupied, and have yet to close on it. Our 113 purchaser is keeping me advised of his progress; he started only recently and seems equal to or ahead of others in the process.
Next week our lawyer is largely unavailable. Semana Santa, Easter week, is approaching and the country shuts down. When people tell me that they can’t get things done in CR, my reply is quite different.
Our Chicago purchaser remains interested in purchasing a unit. He prefers 108 and he, along with the owner and us, wait for the would be purchaser —an experienced financer— to get his funds in place for that to happen. I was e-mailed on Sunday morning that two representatives of the company would be arriving today; we will put them up on the property and see what happens.
Next Project: We haven’t had time to focus on this. I’ve shown it to a number of people this week and all like it. Paul and I are seeing how it fits with us and wondering if we really want to take on a 5 yr. project and one of this size. It is a substantial commitment and one we have to be able to see through to the end. Right now we are exhausted and frustrated and not psychologically strong enough to deal with this.
While showing a friend around, I happened on a lot I’d seen 5 years ago; it is now for sale. We got some preliminary information and are mulling it over. Initial assessment is that the land is way over priced. Initially, we see that the highest and best use would probably be a condo-boutique hotel with a casino. It is right on the golf course (8th hole) of an established, very upscale housing development ($500,000 + houses) known as Parque Valle del Sol. Each unit in the possible three story building would have unobstructed 360 degree views of the valley. All services are in; it is a build out and marketing opportunity.
Our friends Joe and Phil who arrived on Saturday returned to Canada on Wednesday. They completed the purchase 103 and looked over our possible new project.
Our friend –Greg– from the marina in Toronto arrived as scheduled on Monday. He’s very impressed with what’s been accomplished. He’s been partying with other friends and with people he’s met here along with relaxing . Since I was still working against a deadline to have 121 furnished, he helped me select furnishings and to place them. In the process, he got to see how business is done here and some of the city. He runs a large currier service in Toronto and will distribute 750 brochures in Canada for us. This will certainly help our exposure. Even though we have only three (?) houses to sell, we still want to sell the, to get people interested in the next project and we expect to have a continuing rental market even when all the units are sold.
Leasing and re-sales have taken time. Getting 121 decorated also took several days and will take another day to organize.
Lita is now going to the gym at 6am; why I don’t know but it really cuts the night short. Her eyesight has deteriorated even further (although it’s hard to imagine that being possible). She has now left the realm of the minimally sighted into that of the unsighted. I spend even more of my time looking for thing’s she’s misplaced. In the middle of the night on the trip to the washroom, I realize how difficult it is for her. The reality is difficult for both of us —frightening and frustrating. We will have to adjust and hopefully won’t kill each other in the process.
There were a number of times this week. I felt I was living in an insane asylum —parrot screeching and running loose, dog ying/smelling/always in the way, blind wife tripping over both and yelling at me, me continually looking for... whatever... looking after new residents, constant interruptions such that I couldn’t get one thing done, etc. I’m beginning to study Hugo since he seems to know where to hide and how to survive.
We’ve been eating very well and partying in the evenings virtually every night; a bowl of soup and TV in a cave looks pretty good. I haven’t seen the hammock for so long, I’d have to get use to using it again.
We have a purchaser who is a golf nut. He found out that a woman resident also like to play golf. He challenged her and she accepted. Later he found out that she was the former women’s champion in Greece. Today, the Bobby Riggs vs. Billy Jean King tournament is happening; he’s expecting to be humbled.
I had hoped for the hammock and a bowl of soup this afternoon but with the guests form Florida, it may not happen.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.