San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Behind new country club, a familiar name: Biden

From the print edition

LIBERIA, Guanacaste – One business on the brink of large financial investment in the northwestern province of Guanacaste strives to be part of the community as well as provide luxury living in a country club atmosphere. 

For years, developers have studied Guanacaste as a potential location for an indulgent living center and athletic academy. That type of establishment is nearing  to reality, according to Frank Biden, co-developer of the Guanacaste Country Club and brother of Joe Biden, vice president of the United States.

“This is the penultimate moment,” Biden said. “All the ducks are lined up and we just need to get them to quack at the same time.”

Biden and Westley Stumbo, from Bluegrass Equity, a U.S. company that raises funds for high-brand residential development, said they are interviewing front-end financing partners, and they have an interested company for their project, which is located eight minutes from the Daniel Oduber International Airport and 10 minutes from the provincial capital of Liberia. The paperwork is not yet signed, so they would not release the name of the organization, but they hope to begin construction in the next two to three months.

“Guanacaste is the most attractive region in the country in my opinion,” Stumbo said. “After the global stagnant period, things are now lining up to support this project, and it’s only going to get better.”

The country club would include 1,300 homes in a gated community, with a Jack Nicklaus golf course and academy, swimming and tennis facilities, a school, an anti-aging clinic and a medical center. The facility’s motto is “luxury with a logical cost.”

Home prices range from $225,000 for a two-bedroom unit to $445,000 for a five-bedroom house. 

The price tag on the Guanacaste Country Club is $106 million, and $4.9 million has already been put into the project.

Craig Williamson lives in Liberia and is Biden’s partner in developing the country club. He said the group has received 62,000 inquiries in the four years that he has been developing an online brand.

“We had to weather the economic storm, but I’m almost happy we did,” Williamson said. “That kept the focus on improving the sustainability technology of the facility as well as developing ourselves online. Now the market is positioning itself really well.”

The country club is LEED certified, and is being built on once-forested land that was converted to sugarcane fields.

Williamson said it was Biden who made the commitment to staffing the center with 95 percent employees from the Guanacaste region. This is creating a village, Williamson said. He wants employees and their children to live in the center, attend the school and socialize together. Specific homes for staff to purchase are to be constructed as well.

“We absolutely will be a part of the community,” Biden said. “Volumes are spoken by the fact that we do not have a wall built around this place. Most of the amenities are public and it’s the Guanacaste people who have permitted us to be here.”

Biden said that after the upcoming U.S. presidential elections in November, he will be excited to spend more time in Guanacaste.

“This is one of the only places I go where I feel party divisions have no influence, especially in this electoral season,” he said.

Biden will surely feel at home there. He said he went to law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and got an excellent education in surfing. The Guanacaste Country Club is located 20 minutes from the beach and numerous renowned surfing sites.

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