We had the pleasure of speaking with Rick Valentine, President of Latitude Destination Properties. In this short interview he tells us a little bit more about his latest project, Tranquilo Costa Rica and gives us his perspective on the Costa Rica real estate market.
LW:Start off by telling us a little bit more about Tranquilo Costa Rica
Tranquilo is a collection of quarter ownership condos tucked into a ridgeline where the rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of Costa Rica. Designed to instill a restorative sense of well-being in the lives of every resident, Tranquilo is an alternative lifestyle proposition; a place to restore, reset, and remember the important things in life. It is a home families can call their own and return to, again and again, for generations to come.
LW: What are quarter ownership residences and how do they work?
Tranquilo is reinventing real estate ownership in Costa Rica with its quarter ownership opportunity. Owners will have the flexibility to use their residence in whatever way works best for them. Owners can place their condos in the rental management program or can trade with other properties around the world via Tranquilo’s membership in a Global Exchange Network.
Each quarter ownership is a deeded interest in one of Tranquilo’s unparalleled residences. Owning a home at Tranquilo is completely flexible, yet 100 percent exclusive. Completely affordable, yet luxuriously designed. Completely unique, yet linked to a larger community of individuals, all inspired by holistic and authentic living at its finest—exactly as nature intended.
LW: What makes your project eco-friendly?
The condominium architecture at Tranquilo is designed to complement the natural landscape, never overpower it, to fit seamlessly into the rainforest and to peek over the canopy towards the Pacific Ocean. With 90% of Tranquilo undeveloped, its footprint has been minimized in every way possible. At Tranquilo, you live in your view, you don’t look at it. Each building is meant to function as a living, breathing organism with a series of systems (mechanical, structural, plumbing, electrical) and biological systems (building integrated vegetation, site landscaping, recycling water systems) that interact with the environment in a beneficial cycle. Large operable window facades, controllable sun louvers, and vegetated walls are main components of the building skin and are essential to allow cross ventilation, provide fresh air, and create a connection between inside and outside. Exterior gardens, green walls, and vertical planters on each terrace moderate the warm climate, purify air, provide shade, cool the building naturally, and attract wildlife and fauna to the site. Green Living walls that grow on both sides of each building cool the structures naturally, and reduce the need for air conditioning.
LW:Where is the project located on the Pacific coast? How do you get there from San Jose (plane, driving)? How long does it take?
Tranquilo is located in the private resort community of Punta Leona. Largely unknown to tourists, Punta Leona is a hot spot among locals and tranquilo-costa-rica-real-estate2those in the know, making it the area’s premier gated community. Situated on the gorgeous Central Pacific Coast, Punta Leona is just a 90 minute drive from San Jose. With the completion of the super highway in 2010, this commute will be shortened to a mere 45 minutes. Its dazzling array of rugged topography, including AAA and Blue Flag rated beaches and a tranquil butterfly farm, sets it apart from the rest of Costa Rica. At once distinctive and enigmatic, it is also incredibly private: a unique enclave from the rest of the world. Home to the 750-acre Punta Leona Refuge, Costa Rica’s largest private nature reserve, Punta Leona is a veritable wonderland for plant life and endangered wildlife, like the Scarlet Macaw, the White-nosed Coatimundis, and Spider Monkeys, among countless others. Dotted with walking and hiking forest trails to one side and large swaths of pristine white sand beaches to the other, Punta Leona delivers the best of both worlds, and is nothing short of being a true tropical paradise.
LW: Why the Pacific coast of Costa Rica?
Punta Leona was chosen as the home for Tranquilo because of its close proximity to San Jose and the truly unbelievable site upon with the project is being built. Constructed where the mountains meet the sea, the elevations provide dramatic views of the rainforest and ocean. Furthermore, the price of real estate on the central coast remains a fraction of the cost of Guanacaste real estate while providing a far superior landscape. Furthermore, Punta Leona is home to Playa Blanca, the highest rated beach in the country and only beach to win both the Blue Flag and AAA rating for cleanliness and environmental conservation. In addition to Playa Blanca, a white sand beach, Punta Leona hosts two other incredible beaches as well.
LW: Who does the project target (retirees, investors, expats, etc)?
The project targets second homeowners who want flexibility in ownership, a hassle-free vacation experience, and who prefer to match their purchase price with their actual usage. With studies showing the average second home is occupied on average only two weeks per year, we didn’t feel like whole ownership made much sense. Quarter ownership provides Tranquilo owners the flexibility to stay weeks at a time or just a weekend here and there. Furthermore, when not in residence, they have the option of placing the condo in the rental program or participating in our global exchange network. This network provides access to luxury homes around the world effectively multiplying ownership at Tranquilo into an unbelievable lifestyle proposition.
LW: How is Costa Rica real estate being affected by the economic problems worldwide?
As a whole, the Costa Rican market has slowed compared with the last few years. However, real estate priced below $300,000 has not experienced the same slow down. While for most projects, this means one-bedroom units, and small two-bedrooms that are perhaps off the water, at Tranquilo this would include fully furnished studios from below $70,000 up to 2200sqft, three-bedroom residences. It is for this reason that Tranquilo is being viewed as an “intelligent ownership” option. In a world where consumers have never been more price sensitive, Tranquilo has maximized the value-to-cost ratio.
LW: How do you see real estate in Costa Rica (specifically the Pacific coast) 10 years from now?
Most experts agree that Costa Rica is well positioned to boom in the coming years when the U.S. and global economy begin to recover. From its stable government and economy, and easy access from numerous major U.S. cities, to its tropical climate that many compare to Hawaii, one struggles to find a better alternative for a warm weather second home. The people and culture of Costa Rica are warm and inviting, health care is world class, and the cost of living is only a fraction of the cost most North Americans face. The baby boomers will lead the trend, but North Americans as a whole are going to be looking for affordable alternatives that provide the quality experience they expect with the flexibility they desire as the movement towards families reconnecting continues. We envision Tranquilo as the meeting place of multiple generations where there is something for everyone and where going on vacation isn’t about getting away…it’s about coming home.