San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guanacaste Store Offers Building Supplies

AS Guanacaste real estate is gobbled up by businesses and retirees trying to buy before prices get any higher, some shoppers may realize the prices on the houses in the area are already a bit steep – in many places, realtors say, “North American” homes are going for no less than $500,000.

Realtors say some people looking to live in the area may find it a better value to build their own home. But until recently, this entailed the costly logistical problem of transporting building materials from San José.

However, the Papagayo Do It Center, a warehouse store that has nearly everything necessary to construct a home from scratch, opened in July 2003 on the road leading to the massive tourism development project on the PapagayoPeninsula.

Is it now possible to move to Guanacaste and build a home without trucking supplies with you from San José?

“ABSOLUTELY. We have all the building materials, everything for bathrooms, everything,” said Lorraine Michaud, employee management, quality control and marketing director for the center.

Although Michaud could not give an exact figure as to the number of shoppers purchasing materials to build a home in the area, she said she was confident they constituted a large portion of the shoppers.

Those people, she said, come from all over the world, and the sales team at the center is prepared for that – it has representatives fluent in English, Italian, French, German and Spanish.

According to statistics released by the center, construction of a quality “North American-style” home will run about $50-55 per square foot, and higher quality homes (with finer ceramics and finishing) can run just over $60 per square foot.

THE Do It Center is massive, consisting of a 6,000-square-foot lumber yard and a 6,000-square-foot warehouse stocked with paint, hardware, electrical materials, plumbing, lighting, housewares, lawn and garden materials, kitchen materials, bathroom supplies, ceramics and furniture.

The only things the store is lacking right now, Michaud said, are windows and major electrical appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers. But, she said, the company is currently negotiating contracts that will enable it to offer these supplies.

Michaud said the company has been constantly busy since it opened, averaging 109 sales a day. She said Ecodesarrollo Papagayo, the company responsible for managing the construction of the Papagayo tourism project, makes frequent visits to purchase construction materials.

She said this can make something of a dent in the center’s inventory, but they receive new shipments from the United States regularly.

Michaud said just less than 50% of the building materials at the store come from Costa Rica.

THE center is a member of the Do It Best Corporation, a 100% retailer, owner and supplier of more than 72,000 products to more than 4,400 stores in 42 countries, according to company statistics.

The Papagayo store has more than 17,000 items in stock from the United States and Costa Rica. For more info on the Papagayo Do It Center, call 667-0667.

According to local realtors, connecting buyers with qualified architects to assist in home construction is no problem.

For those interested in a colonial-style home, a local company called Stuccoman (307-9033) specializes in painting homes with stucco.

The Guanacaste area is also home to a pool company called Piscinas Roca (653-8347), which won a 2001 International Award of Excellence for traditional residential pool design from the National Pool and Spa Institute in the United States.


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