September 24-30, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #103
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: 102 and Rio Oro Property
The Story: The last sale... Unit 102 AND Rio Oro Developments
Weather: gorgeous mornings with some afternoon rains.
Unit 102: Granite supplier is still slow and the fountain person as well. We could be finished in a few days if it were not for these two bottle necks. The screw up with the granite supplier allowed the subsequent purchaser an opportunity to choose her own colors. Both have reached the end of the line with me when they finish this job.
Rebuilding Small Rancho Roof: this is well advanced. A couple more man-days and it will be finished.
Property Management: Leasing and Decorating: We’ve now finished furnishing 118, 119, and 103. Unit 109 is partially finished pending the delivery a various built-ins—desk, buffet, wall unit, beds, and two chest of drawers. The unit has been repainted and drapes are installed. New furniture is on site.
Marketing: The condition on the 102 offer has been waived; the deal is now firm. This is the last unit to be sold; from here on out, it’s all resales. We sold 26 houses in about 18 months. Certainly not a Guinness Book of Records but for small operators who have had to find our way in a new country and new venture, we’re satisfied. I pass by some houses still sitting vacant after several year.
Satellite TV: still working / no complaints.
Irrigation System: this is be the last system to be installed. We have most of the component parts so just have to design and install. Designing is an issue since we don’t have a lot of knowledge about the area we can cover on one trunk line but we’ll work our way through it and learn as we go. At this time of year there isn’t too much incentive but in another three months we’ll begin using it; now is the time to do it.
General Comment: we are winding down at Los Jardines. Were it not for Paul’s renovation and the small rancho, there would have been no power tool noise at all. Next week will be strangely silent—like Sundays here.
Surrounding Area: More construction is starting along the main roadway between Santa Ana and Belen. One newly cleared site looks like it will become housing; the other two sites look like they might become commercial. It is just amazing what has happened in this area over the past two years. While I knew Los Jardines was a great location, I never expected what has happened since I bought. Being on a dead end side road, we remain a quiet enclave apart from the commercial area. I expect the residential development slated for next to us to start soon and that will be a hassle but it will have a finite life.
Rio Oro Development
Last week I reported that we had selected an engineering company to develop the site plan and to do the associated engineering. We walked the land with site plan in hand and saw that what had been proposed in one area simply wouldn’t work—they had not read the contour lines correctly. I started to wonder what else wouldn’t work and didn’t want to be in a position of solving problems which they should have addressed. This week we “unselected” them in favor of a more creative site plan and the solution to some issues which were not addressed in the engineering proposal. We are going with the architect we used for Los Jardines. We reviewed his proposal on site and it seems to follow the land better. We asked him to make a couple revisions in areas where we had different views and to eliminate one swimming pool.
We now have a list by species and the condition of each of the major trees as well as a GPS plot of each of the 325 trees identified. This is being overlaid on the proposed roadway system... I don’t know how many flowering shrubs and trees are on the property; the flowers don’t normally appear until the dry season and the trees become “stressed”.
We have asked for a proposal for a soil condition study—stability, compatibility, and percolation. We’ve also authorized the architect/site planner to begin drawing administration office, guard houses and perimeter fencing in preparation for applications for each. When we have these applications, we can start working on them while the site plan is winding it’s way through the government review process.
We’ve continued to have a crew of 5 people on the Rio Oro site. They are nearly finished clearing the tall grass, underbrush, and dead trees such that we can walk it and see it better. It gets better and better with each whack of the machete—see the new pictures. Next week, we will re-allocate more people there as work wraps up at Los Jardines. We will clean the stream of debris and prepare to build the perimeter fence.
I’ve spent virtually the week in the car and have become a familiar face at Cemaco, PriceSmart, Yamuni, Pequeno Mundo, Hypermas, and Alyss. Lots of driving, lot’s of purchasing, lots of lists, lots of receipts and record keeping. It’s mainly done now. Built-in furniture issues and designs are also finished—now it’s waiting for delivery and leasing 109. I have a list of personal issues I want to focus on. In addition, old friends and hopefully new friends are lining themselves up for this winter. With more resident’s around there will be more social life and as each becomes more familiar with their new home and the area and now that the construction is finished and we can get to the promised “steady state”, it should be more fun for all.
We still have administrative clean up and sorting out to do re. Los Jardines and to get the Board of Directors constituted and operational. Accounting work is being completed and year end and construction costs are being caught up and finished off—fortunately Paul is dealing with this so I can focus on other things... I’m also looking forward to focusing on the Rio Oro project.
Paul bought me a new combination printer/scanner/photocopier/fax machine for my home office and that makes life easier and more efficient (he did it because I asked him/he knows more about this stuff than I). For the first time in my life, I have a wonderful office, efficient, lots of work space and storage, lots of light and ventilation, great views, and with all the equipment I need. Given the amount of time I spend in my home office, I have to wonder why it took me 30 years to achieve this, I don’t know.
Now I want to get an external radio antenna installed so I can get good reception; for some reason, reception inside the houses is not good—it might have to do with the steel joists and roof / wall construction all of which are effectively grounded—my suspicion is that we have built somewhat of a “Farady’s Cage”—electrical engineers will recognize that condition—a design which prevents (or substantially hinders in our case) radio waves from penetrating.
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.