San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Memo From Araya to Suburbanites: Come Back

Touting it as part of a larger effort to repopulate central San José, city and business officials broke ground this week on a new $15 million condominium tower project in the southwestern neighborhood of Don Bosco.

The two 16-story towers, expected to be completed by March 2010, are designed to stop the flight of professionals to the suburbs.

In the banking sector within San José, there are about 105,000 professionals. We would like some of those professionals to come and live in our buildings, said Federico Escobar, project administrator for Hogares de Costa Rica, which is building the towers.

The residential towers will offer a total of 200 units. Each unit will measure about 157 square meters and come with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room.

Called Condominio 6-30 in reference to its location near Avenida 6 and Calle 30, the project also will feature a 154-room hotel that will cater to upscale business traveler.

And it comes with a pool, a multiuse sport center and room for 12 commercial offices.

Mayor Johnny Araya, who in 2003 introduced a plan to rejuvenate San José that included bringing more residential capacity to the center, praised Condominio 6-30 and said he is optimistic about the future of the city s plan.

He said past efforts at zoning the city for different uses was an error, saying it has increased the cost of city services and has segregated society.

Araya s plan is aimed at revitalizing the city s housing, commercial and service sectors as well as renewing its competitiveness and the quality of life for its citizens.

For being part of the revitalization effort, Hogares de Costa Rica is receiving a break from the city: The construction permit for this particular venture will cost just 10 percent the normal fee.

We re doing this as an incentive to those projects working with the repopulating plan the mayor drafted a few years ago, said Vladimir Klotchkov, head of the municipality urban development department.

Escobar said incentives such as the one from the city are very important for firms looking to invest in the center of cities such as San José.

In the past, Escobar said, his contracting firm had tried to build in other areas around San José but those efforts were unsuccessful.

A lot of these people live in Heredia and we tried to build there. But (the red tape in) Heredia now is impossible.

The units in the Condominio 6-30 project range in pre-sale price from $165,000 to $185,000, depending on the floor, the view and the amount of parking spaces it has.

It s a very comfortable market price, said Diana Escobar, commercial manager for Hogares de Costa Rica, noting that prices will rise 20 to 30 percent after the pre-sale is over.

Since the pre-sale was announced two weeks ago, 22 units have sold, she said.

The location of these towers is key. We re close to La Sabana (park) and many other services residents might need. They have knocked on our door a lot.


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