What is included in the Las Catalinas master plan?
We are creating a seaside resort town and area at Las Catalinas. It is a beautiful and delightful place that provides a superlative experience for the people who live there – whether fulltime or for just one night. The plan for Las Catalinas includes:
- A primary beach town neighborhood on Playa Danta that we call Beach Town.
- A secondary beach town neighborhood and primary hotel site on Playa Dantita.
- Associated hill town neighborhoods on Punta Penca, Punta Guachipelines, Las Cruces, Windy Peak, and McHenry Peak.
- Las Catalinas will mainly be a town of houses, as opposed to multifamily buildings, because we think there is something special about that.
- Our plan includes restaurants, stores, a number of small inns, and maybe one or two bigger hotels, a school, civic buildings, offices, and recreational facilities like beach clubs, playgrounds, and an equestrian center.
- Las Catalinas has a major emphasis on beautiful shared spaces that are great for walking and gathering: streets, passageways, plazas, and parks. Almost every house in Las Catalinas is set on a beautiful park or plaza of some kind.
- Approximately 1,000 of the 1,200 acres of Las Catalinas will function as a nature preserve where we are actively assisting the regeneration of a full tropical dry forest. Having this nature at the edge of town is an important part of the experience of the town.
In Las Catalinas there will be a great emphasis on a rich and beautiful public realm and on the joy of getting around under your own power. Our development will be compact and will utilize only a small percentage of the land. There will be no high-rise development. No buildings will have more than four stories. Las Catalinas will be environmentally friendly in terms of energy and resource efficiency, water usage, water treatment, storm water control, and enhancement of wildlife habitat.
Las Catalinas will be a true town, with an economy based on resort, second home, and tourism activity.
What are the precedents or models for Las Catalinas?
The developers and designers of Las Catalinas have intensively studied many of the great places of the world.
- Our physical planning methodology includes pedestrian streets and passageways that are very responsive to topography, frequent plazas and public spaces, and a great deal of attention to planning for views. Our primary models for this are the hilltowns of the Mediterranean. Some of the towns that have influenced us especially strongly include Ronda (Spain), Eze (France), the Cinque Terre (Italy), and Pienza (Italy).
- We have learned many important principles and techniques from the New Urbanism movement in the US. Specifically, Glenwood Park in Atlanta and Seaside and Rosemary Beach on the gulf coast of Florida have been particular sources of learning and inspiration.
- Traditional buildings in Central America have offered great lessons regarding finishes, materials, and techniques. Particular sources of inspiration include Antigua (Guatemala), Casco Viejo (Panama), and San Miguel de Allende (Mexico).
- As a resort town, our programming has much in common with places like Aspen, or Carmel, or St. Barth. Las Catalinas won’t be dominated by any single hotel or club, but instead will have a rich variety of inns, shops, recreation, and activities.
- While Las Catalinas draws on successful precedents wherever possible, we are also to some extent a new invention. Las Catalinas is a town that is built for pleasure – not for defensive or other reasons that might have applied to old-world hilltowns. Las Catalinas buildings won’t look like those in an Italian hilltown, because our climate is tropical and there is a great desire for outdoor living. So while we a drawing from a rich pool of wisdom and tradition, Las Catalinas is unique.
- More information on this topic can be found in this blog post.
Why are you building a town instead of a normal resort?
We are building a town because we think there is something truly magical about the experience of a walkable beach town. For us it is vastly superior to the experience in any normal “resort development”.
- We want to be able to walk out of our doors and really be somewhere, with a variety of fun and useful destinations close at hand. We don’t want to have to get in the car and drive every time we want to do something.
- Building a real town allows greatness to happen. In a normal development the “amenities” are all run by the developer, and tend to be mediocre. For example, in a normal resort the beach restaurant would be run by employees of the developer. In Las Catalinas our first restaurant is The Green House, owned and operated by one of the most passionate and well-loved restaurateurs in Guanacaste. Similarly the owner/operator of Pura Vida Ride, our local outfitter for outdoor activities, is committed to provide an excellent experience to residents and visitors, and considered a leading entrepreneur in his field.
Why are the houses so close together?
Keeping our development compact is a key to making it really walkable, so there can be numerous attractive destinations just a short stroll away. Also, keeping the development compact allows us to keep over 80% of our land in a natural state, and having that nature at the edge of town is itself an important part of the experience of the town. Remember, we are building at a human scale rather than at an automotive scale. The large amounts of “buffering” space that are needed at the automotive scale are simply not needed when the cars are not present.
Is the road to Las Catalinas paved?
Yes, the road is completely paved from the town of Playa Potrero to the South. We are expecting the road that connects Las Catalinas with the town of Playas del Coco and Liberia international airport to be paved in the near future. This will place Las Catalinas in the Center of all the developing communities in Guanacaste, and just 35 minutes from the airport.
Is there going to be a supermarket at Las Catalinas?
Currently there are three supermarkets located in the town of Potrero, just adjacent to Las Catalinas. We are very interested in attracting a full food market to Las Catalinas, but do not have one lined up yet. In the meantime, Pura Vida Ride includes a “general store” offering excellent coffee, fresh baked goods, snacks, and other items.
Will there be a pool, spa or gym at Las Catalinas?
Yes, our Beach Club is slated to begin construction within the coming months. It will include a 25 meter lap pool with 4 lanes, a family pool for kids to play, and a private Jacuzzi area for adults. The facility will also include a small restaurant, as well as a top of the fully equipped fitness center. Over time, we plan to have multiple neighborhood pools around Las Catalinas. In addition, we welcome the addition of independent gyms and/or pools, as one would find in other leading resort towns. In addition, as inns and hotels develop at Las Catalinas, many of them are likely to include spa and gym facilities.
In the meantime, excellent spa and exercise services are available in Las Catalinas on a call-in basis.
Will there be a pier at Las Catalinas?
Our intention is to build a pedestrian pier where boats can pull up and guests or residents may board on or off. The process to gain approval for a pier is fairly lengthy. We are also able to provide mooring blocks for Las Catalinas boat owners. We do not plan to have a full marina at Las Catalinas.
Will there be a golf course?
There will be no golf course at Las Catalinas, but there are some fine courses nearby.
Will there be tennis courts?
Our master plan includes tennis courts, but they are not part of our immediate development plan. In the meantime there are active tennis clubs in Flamingo, Playa del Coco and Tamarindo which may be of interest to our residents and guests.
Real Estate at Las Catalinas
What is the process for home purchases?
- First you will make a reservation, and make a $10,000 refundable deposit.
- Then a Purchase and Sales contract is signed and a 15% down payment is made.
- Next, any desired changes to the home’s design and any corresponding price changes are made and when this is complete another 15% payment is made.
- Then, with final designs set, construction begins. When the house foundation is complete, another 20% payment is made.
- When the house is “dried in”, another 20% payment is made.
- The final 30% is paid when the house is substantially complete and title is delivered.
What is the procedure for buying a custom home site?
You may reserve a lot with a simple reservation form and a fully-refundable deposit of $10,000. This takes the property off of the market for 7 business days, during which the buyer can review the purchase and sales agreement.. When the PSA is signed 20% of the payment price will be paid. The remaining 80% will be due on delivery of property title for the home site.
What are estimated construction costs?
As a rule of thumb, the total costs for building a house at Las Catalinas including both hard costs and soft costs but not including land costs should usually be in the range of $1,700 to $2,100 per square meter under roof ($158 to $195 per square foot). Interior finish selections will impact on this number, as can things like pool and courtyard areas and basements.
What is the market like today?
Tourism in our area is very strong, with 2012 and especially 2013 airport arrivals crushing previous records. The real estate market, which had been quiet from 2008 through 2010, is significantly more active since the beginning of 2011.
What will be your next phase of construction?
We will be building more houses in Beach Town in the vicinity of Calle La Ronda, as well as Calle Cartegena. We are also currently working on plans for two more Flats buildings in Beach Town with a limited number of new condo units becoming available. Homes in Paseo Punta Penca are likely to begin construction soon. Beyond that, we offering Beachfront properties in between Paseo del Mar and Paseo Punta Penca on Calle Cartegena, and also will begin developing the part of town across the public road from the current phases of Beach Town.
How does property ownership in Las Catalinas work?
Properties at Las Catalinas have fee-simple title. Costa Rican laws and constitution guarantee the protection of private land and property ownership. Foreigners have the same legal rights as Costa Ricans. We offer individual title for each property under the Costa Rican “condominium regime”. This offers a fee-simple ownership, with covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R’s), design guidelines, and land use restrictions which are established by Las Catalinas.
Is Las Catalinas Titled Property, including the beach areas?
Yes, Las Catalinas is fully titled property right up to the 50-meter maritime zone, which is public property in all of Costa Rica. Las Catalinas does not have any “concession” property. (The vast majority of the Costa Rica coasts include a 150-meter wide concession zone in addition to the 50-meter maritime zone.)
Are there any architectural regulations for Las Catalinas?
Yes, we have Design Guidelines for architectural designs for any construction or future exterior modifications. Most regulations and controls have to do with exterior facades and landscape controls. Interior changes and revisions are generally not subject to Architectural Review Committee (ARC) review and approval.
Do you have all environmental approvals?
Yes, our entire master plan has full environmental approval. (This is analogous to zoning approval in the US.)
What can you tell me about your water supply?
We supply water via on site wells. The wells supplying water to the project have legally granted concessions under MINAET’s Water Department in accordance with decree No. 35271-S-MINAET. Our water supply can provide sufficient water for the entire project at Las Catalinas. We also have a complete wastewater treatment system that produces water clean enough to use for drip irrigation purposes. Our water system and wastewater system are fully operational.
Does Las Catalinas offer financing?
Not directly, but we will help buyers arrange financing with Costa Rica banks or private lenders if that is desired.
Are all of the homes and buildings at Las Catalinas custom designed?
Yes. Each home site has unique views and a unique and important role to play in framing the plazas and public spaces of Las Catalinas. In order to be responsive to this, all homes are custom designed.
Can clients hire their own construction company or architect to build their home?
In the case of the sale of home sites, yes. We have a select list of pre-approved builders and architects. Our goal, over time, is to form a ‘guild’ of approved designers and builders who have successfully performed at Las Catalinas. We also have a highly capable internal construction team to manage the design and construction process. All third party construction companies will be supervised and inspected at all times by Las Catalinas engineers. When we are selling homes (as opposed to home sites), as is currently the case in the Beach Town area, Las Catalinas will act as the builder.
Can I rent out my Las Catalinas home, and are property management services available?
Yes. We strongly encourage owners who will not be occupying their homes on a full-time basis to make their homes available for rental. Las Catalinas Property Management Services offers full property management and rental management services including maid service, maintenance, bill payment, marketing, reservations, transportation coordination, check-in/out, food provisioning, private chef service, and concierge services. The high-touch, high level of service offered by Las Catalinas is one of the great advantages of owning or renting at Las Catalinas.
How much can I make by renting my house at Las Catalinas?
We cannot and do not make any promises or guarantees regarding rental income. However, we believe renting homes at Las Catalinas will be successful due to the long rental season (essentially the whole year), the established demand for quality vacation home rentals in our immediate area, the value added by our world class rental management program, and the particular attractiveness of Las Catalinas. Once we are operating at targeted occupancy levels of 50% plus, we believe that an expectation of a 5 to 10% income yield after all expenses is reasonable.
How much are closing costs in Costa Rica?
Closing costs will be approximately 4% of the purchase price and includes:
- Land transfer and national registry stamps: 2.35% of the purchase price.
- Notary/attorney fees: 1.10% of purchase price.
- If buyer is registering property under a Costa Rican corporation, corporation costs range from $500 – $1,000 USD.
What about the building codes with regards to earthquakes?
Costa Rica has stringent building codes regarding earthquakes, stronger than any in the United States. At Las Catalinas we abide by these regulations completely.
Living at Las Catalinas
How much will the homeowner’s association (HOA) fees be and how are they assessed?
HOA fees are assessed and administered through the Las Catalinas Trust and the monthly amount depends on the constructed area for each home. The typical range of HOA fees is between $400 & $1,000 per month.
How much are property taxes in Costa Rica
Costa Rican property taxes are low compared to international standards. The base tax is 0.25% annually of the property value. In addition there is a luxury tax according to the following schedule:
- For portion of value over $200,000 but less than $500,000 – .25%
- For portion of value over $500,000 but less than $1,000,000 – .30%
- For portion of value over $1,000,000 but less than $1,500,000 – .35%
- For portion of value over $1,500,000 but less than $2,000,000 – .40%
- For portion of value over $2,000,000 but less than $2,500,000 – .45%
- For portion of value over $2,500,000 but less than $3,00,000 – .50%
- For portion of value over $3,000,000 – .55%
What about water, electricity, telephone, cable TV, and Internet service?
Las Catalinas provides water and wastewater treatment services. Electricity is provided by the local electric utility, Coopeguanacaste. Telephone service and DSL internet service is provided by ICE. Fiber optic based cable TV and high-speed cable modem internet service should be available soon from ICE. Las Catalinas Property Management Services, handles provisioning and billing of these services on our homeowners’ behalf.
What type of security are you offering?
Las Catalinas has its own security staff providing full 24-hour security guards and services.
Where are the parking spaces going to be for residents of Beach Town and Calle La Ronda?
Currently, the parking spaces are on the North end and to the East of Beach Town. These are secure and well-attended parking lots. As Las Catalinas develops, the car storage locations will change, but there will always be convenient concierge and valet service to make the parking and car retrieval process easy and painless.
How do I get my groceries home if I don’t park my car at my house?
We have a staff of attendants to help with deliveries and arrival. Often the right answer might be for you and your items to catch a ride home in one of our electric vehicles. Occasionally, for heavier items, a better answer might be for you to drive your car to your door and ask the attendants to come and return the car to the parking lot. Similarly, if a person has trouble walking or it is raining, our attendants are there to make your arrival and departure convenient and hassle-free.
What are the closest medical facilities?
Currently there is an emergency clinic in Huacas, 20 minutes away. There is a full hospital in Liberia, approximately one hour way. There is a pharmacy in Flamingo. Also, a very high quality private hospital (CIMA, who operates a major hospital in San Jose) was recently built near the Liberia airport, and is open with an emergency room and operating rooms. In the longer run, our plan is to have medical facilities and drugstores at Las Catalinas.
Who is the developer?
Las Catalinas Holding Company, LLC is the owner and developer of Las Catalinas. The company is owned by a group of approximately 30 individuals. Charles Brewer is the managing partner. Our development organization has been built from the ground up in Costa Rica, and is led by Neal Herman the Chief Operating Officer.
How is Las Catalinas funded?
Las Catalinas has been funded with equity, and has no outside debt at this time.
How do I get to Las Catalinas, and how far is it to the airport?
You will arrive at Liberia, Costa Rica, at Daniel Oduber airport. There are direct international flights from an extensive list of cities, which varies some according to season. Currently direct flights are available from Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New York – JFK, Minneapolis (seasonal), Newark, Charlotte (weekends), Denver (weekends), Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary (seasonal), Edmonton (seasonal), El Salvador, and London.* Las Catalinas is about 24 miles from Liberia Airport. The town of Las Catalinas can be reached from two different routes. The long route is completely paved and takes about an hour. The short route, which currently involves some unpaved but (usually) well-maintained back roads, takes about 45 minutes.
*Note: This information is subject to change. Please check with your airline for current flights to Liberia Costa Rica (LIR).
Are there Hurricanes in Costa Rica?
No, we are too far south, and no hurricane has ever struck in Costa Rica. However, when there is a hurricane present in the nearby Caribbean it can lead to heavy rains in Costa Rica.