Del Pacifico Update: Seaside Town with Tropical Soul Emerges
Article by Glen O. Kirsch
Asset Strategies International has made numerous visits to the beautiful Del Pacifico resort on the Central Pacific coast in Costa Rica.
All of ASI’s senior management, Michael, Rich & I have personally visited this exciting real estate project and we’re very impressed by the real progress we’ve witnessed in this short period of time.
Del Pacifico is a luxury resort community of approximately 700 acres starting from the Pacific Ocean shore, going inland for about 1 mile and bordered on the back-side by a splendid mature rainforest. The property undulates in elevation beginning at sea level at the ocean shore and gradually increases to 225 feet near the rear perimeter. There are breathtaking views of the ocean with stunning sunsets.
My first visit to Del Pacifico was in March of 2005. Call it coincidence or good fortune, I happened to be visiting while the Master Plan for Del Pacifico was being reviewed and refined by the renowned architect Dhiru Thadani. Mr. Thadani has been involved in a number of international real estate development projects for such notable clients as the famous Seaside project in Florida. Dhiru’s mission at Del Pacifico is to create a vibrant resort town not just another gated development. The whole weekend you could sense a feeling of excitement as the concept of Del Pacifico emerged.
So when Barry Strudwick and William Ramirez, the founders, invited me to revisit Del Pacifico and to see first-hand their progress, I jumped at the chance.
In the 3 years since my last visit to Del Pacifico the transformation has been amazing! Truly a seaside luxury resort town has emerged from what had been a cattle ranch. You can now see the fruits of those early creative visions.
Del Pacifico has blossomed into a very upscale village with its own sense of style and place. Today there are over 100 homes and condos either completed or under roof placing Del Pacifico among the 5 largest resorts in Costa Rica.
Perhaps the most obvious change is the beautiful and striking La Prada town center project. Designed by US architects Ayers/Saint/Gross, La Prada is the heart of Del Pacifico with over 20 retail shops and restaurants on ground level and over 35 upper level residences. The Pyramid restaurant has just opened and Banco Nacional will be opening in the near term. It’s also very affordable with one bedroom residences, completely furnished starting at 5,000.
There is also great appreciation potential. For example, the very same ocean view condo listed in 2005 for 5,000 is now selling for 0,000. A spectacular custom home (Villa Jardín) was just completed. With stunning views of the ocean and golf course, it’s scheduled to appear in an upcoming issue of Luxury Living International. We’ve heard they have already turned down several offers which would have netted a 50% plus return on their investment.
To take Del Pacifico to the next level, such as the Los Sueños resort, will involve the development of their golf course and hotel projects. Barry Strudwick informed me that with the near term completion of La Prada, their priorities are now the golf course and hotel. Billy Casper Golf is the golf course consultant and engineering studies are underway. The golf course will be private and only available to the owners of Del Pacifico and their guests. The layout of the course is complete and prime golf course lots begin at 5,000 and lot/house packages start at 0,000.
For the hotel, Del Pacifico is working with the same hospitality investment banking team that pulled together the Four Seasons Resort project in Costa Rica. Plans are for an 80 room boutique hotel with a luxury spa. There will also be an additional 50 condo villas right on the beach available for ownership. Barry expects to make an announcement shortly.
Is it too late for Costa Rica? Only if you are trying to buy cheap dirt. That game is over. However, if you’re looking to get into a luxury resort with fantastic upside, it’s still early. The problem with buying raw land is you have to hope you bought the right dirt and then make an incredible investment to add value by the development process. At Del Pacifico this has already been done. Condos in resorts are hard assets like gold, except you can use them. With the wave of retiring Baby Boomers accelerating, the demand for high quality “hard assets” like condos at Del Pacifico are just starting to surge. As Barry Strudwick says, “Anybody can buy cheap dirt, but it’s very difficult to produce a luxury product in an emerging market like Costa Rica.” Del Pacifico is undervalued relative to its competition; condos at the nearby Marriott anchored Los Sueños resort are selling for 0/square foot. The nearby St. Regis resort is getting ,100/ square foot.
Del Pacifico units are about 0/square foot. Now think back 4 years ago when gold was 5/ounce. The same macro forces driving gold are driving Del Pacifico.
Interested?Qualified readers are invited to attend their long weekend “Gatherings” which occur every two months. These weekends are a blast! Leave your pith helmet at home because these are very spouse friendly luxury getaways with about 15 couples with yoga, massages, golf, horseback riding as well as a tour of the rainforest and some beach and pool time. There is also a cocktail party at Barry’s house, Casa Mono Loco, which sometimes turns into a festive Latin dance party. Other times you might experience a rodeo, fireworks, or even a pig roast on the beach. It’s always different, but always first class and a lot of fun.
If you’re curious about accepting Del Pacífico’s invitation to attend a “Gathering” keep in mind, this is not just another “3rd World cheap dirt” tour. Del Pacifico is already emerging as a world-class luxury resort and this is a special opportunity to meet the people and experience the community first hand. You’ll be able to inspect the quality of the construction and most importantly really meet the people that have made the dream of Del Pacifico a reality. We highly recommend the “Gatherings”, at Del Pacifico, to anyone seriously looking at international real estate as an investment option. To get more details call Leslie in Del Pacífico’s US office at 410-727-6444 and be sure to mention where you read about this. I would also suggest you visit their website http://delpacifico.net.
About the Author
Mr. Kirsch is Executive Vice President of Asset Strategies International, Inc.