Office Parks Popping Up in Guanacaste

February 25, 2005

“GO west, young man,” goes HoraceGreeley’s old saying, and that has historicallybeen the adage of firms looking foroffice space in Costa Rica.For the first time, this year will see theopening of two office parks (called oficentrosin Spanish) outside the CentralValley. A commodity that has traditionallybeen the province of San José’s westside and western suburbs promises tomove quite far west in 2005, marching allthe way to the Pacific coast.The drawing-board illustrations ofeach bear little resemblance to the flashyoffice towers that have sprung up betweenSan José and Santa Ana, southwest of SanJosé. Neither will change the skyline of itscommunity.THE Pacific beach community ofTamarindo was an obvious place for sucha project to take off, explained DerekMorran, project manager of theTamarindo Business Park (653-0333,www.tamarindobusinesspark.com).“I see the Gold Coast from the FourSeasons Hotel (in Papagayo) to Nosarabecoming a telecommuting belt,” Morrantold The Tico Times. “And Tamarindo isthe logical center of that belt.”The project stemmed from Morran’sown experience as an online marketer anda need to get out of San José.“I’d had my fill of traffic and busfumes,” he said, but a lack of infrastructureoutside the Central Valley made sucha move unthinkable.PHASE I of the office center willbreak ground next month on the road toVillareal, diagonal from Villas Mariposa,and is expected to open in August andSeptember. It will consist of two stories ofoffice and showroom space in five freestandingbuildings on landscapedgrounds.Space will vary in size, from a singlestandard office unit of 30 square meters toa whole building, and will include security,landscaping and warehousing, withoptions to buy or rent.First year’s rents are $24-27 persquare meter. Extras such as wirelessInternet, parking and air-conditioning areoptional. Selling prices go from $2,000-2,300 per square meter, depending onnumber of units purchased, and are soldwith full title.The rent-to-buy option exists as well,requiring 20% down, with monthly rentalcredited toward purchase price.BOTH similar and different in conceptis the nearby Plaza Tamarindo(653-0402, www.plazatamarindo.com),according to owner Frank Tietgens.The project will be a mixed-use development:Approximately 40% of the spacewill be devoted to offices, all on the secondfloor, with the remainder turned overto shops and restaurants.“The type of place where you wouldwant to hang around,” says Tietgens ofthe landscaped gardens and atmospheredifferent than that found in most officecenters.Ground broke this month on the site250 meters north of the center ofTamarindo, on the road to Playa Langosta,with opening scheduled for August orSeptember. Ceramic-tiled units are forsale – 40% have been snapped up – andare $97,000 for a standard 68-squaremeterspace. Sales are handled throughABC Real Estate, with financing availablethrough Scotiabank or Banex.Units come in ready-to-use state.Included in the purchase price are security,wiring and plumbing. Air conditioningand fans are extra.NEITHER Tietgens nor Morrancould divulge specific clients’ identities,but both centers will target businesses such as real estate or advertising agencies,physicians, dentists, attorneys, tour operators,security firms, and furniture andbuilding showrooms.Morran also mentioned online gamingfirms as a target market that has not beenable to get out of San José for lack ofinfrastructure.Both agreed the inauguration ofscheduled direct flights from the UnitedStates to Daniel Oduber InternationalAirport in nearby Liberia has fueledtourism and development in this part ofthe country. That, in turn, has made thegreater ease of access to clients a morefavorable climate in which to build officespace.

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