Guanacaste: A Province Divided In TwoFrom: www.insidecostarica.com
It can be said that there two Guancastes today, one that is moving forward, prospering, the other stuck in the times, as a result of the economic crisis of 2009 that changed the landscape of the province.
While areas like Bagaces, Cañas and Pagagayo are identified as being “stable” by the El Financierio, it is Liberia that is leading in major projects in La Pampa, with a new terminal at the Daniel Oduber International (LIR) airport and the construction of a CIMA hospital, among many others.
However, areas like Carrillo and Santa Cruz are still suffering from the recession.
Making the list of stalled projects are Punta Cacique and its US$800 million dollar investment in Carrillo, Condominios Ocean View, a US$10 million dollar investment in Samara and Ocotal Heights, a 187 condominium project in Playas del Coco. These are only a few of the casualties.
La Pampa, as Guanacaste is also known, receives more and more tourists via the Liberia airport, but these tourists spend less money and fewer days in Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, banks are more reluctant to finance projects and the second home, while municipalities adjust their internal regulations of urban planning to issue permits with more stringent standards.
Entrepreneurs are no longer dazzled by any sign of good times, they are cautious. On the other hand, the Government is working on a regional plan for Guanacaste and mapping of areas where it is risky to grant permits to projects.
The construction sector is the most affected by the crisis, and the problem is still acute in this province.
Last year, the region processed only a third of the 1.5 million square meters recorded in 2007.
In addition, according to the Cámara Costarricense de Construcción (CCC) – Costa Rican Chamber of Construction – , Guanacaste is the province that showed the greatest decrease in that category to the first quarter of 2011.
According to Randall Murillo, executive director of the CCC, this is due to a housing development that remains stagnant due to the dependence of the crestfallen foreign investment.
Colliers International adds another worrisome indicator that La Pampa had in September 2010, 26 second home projects stalled and poor absorption of those available.
Aleyda Bonilla, presidenta de la Cámara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raíces (Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors) believes that the outlook is not as bleak as it seems.
“We realize what has happened and that information is refocused towards new goals and markets” said Bonilla.
This market is primarily local. With price reductions of up to 40%, Bonilla said that developers are turning their eyes to Guanacaste again, but at a short step.
Companies like Grupo Do It and Grupo Rio say they are readying their multi-million dollar investment in marketing to local customers, but need to feel sure that there first is a local demand.
One company, the Riu is being ambitious in readying its second project in the province, a new hotel in Matapalo with a US$85 million dollar investment. That project will be underway in the coming month and will provide 500 direct jobs.
Dreams Las Mareas Resort in Santa Cruz and Sol Melia in Papagayo have also announced megaprojects for the province.
Word of the Day
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French prosperer, from Latin prosperare to cause to succeed, from prosperus favorable
First Known Use: 14th century
1: to succeed in an enterprise or activity; especially: to achieve economic success
2: to become strong and flourishing
Bleak: adj. not hopeful or encouraging: depressing <a bleak outlook>
Casualty: n. serious or fatal accident: disaster
Crestfallen: adj. feeling shame or humiliation: dejected
Dazzle: v. to impress deeply, overpower, or confound with brilliance
Landscape: n. a particular area of activit : scene
Reluctant: adj. feeling or showing aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness
Stall: v. to bring to a standstill
Stringent: adj. marked by rigor, strictness, or severity especially with regard to rule or standard
Worrisome: adj. causing distress or worry