PUNTA DOMINICAL, COSTA RICA-A couple of business associates from the states are capitalizing on demand for affordable beachfront with 2,000 acres here that they picked up for $2.5 million. The two friends have plans for 25 different developments on the property and currently have three condominium developments under way, including a condo hotel, and single-family residential neighborhoods. The two main men behind the development are Hal Wright, the founder of the extended stay hotel brands Homestead Village and Extended Stay America, and Robert Ness, the chairman of Ohio-based ODW Logistics. Wright tells GlobeSt.com he retired several years ago, about the same time his friend Ness bought 2,000 acres on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica for about $0.03 per sf, or about $2.5 million.

“It was a troubled property but it had three miles of beachfront,” Wright says. “Its appraised value today is at least $40 million, not accounting for the development.”

Wright says he was slowly putting plans together when the local economy took off thanks to an incredible amount of American capital coming into the area in search of beachfront or ocean views. “America has a love affair with the beach; there’s probably $1 trillion of capital looking for beachfront and Hawaii and the Caribbean are too expensive,” he says. “The Baja Peninsula on the Pacific coast also has been bid up, so I decided to seize the opportunity; we now have 70 employees and will be building these up and down the Pacific coast here.”

People can buy a fully furnished Kiana beachfront condo for $250 per sf. “That’s what’s driving this,” he says. “I was just in the boondocks of the Bahamas and beachfront condos are $1,000 per sf.”

The projects currently under construction or about to begin include a 36-unit luxury low-rise condo-hotel complex on the beach called Kiana; a 56-unit garden-style condo development on a ridge above the ocean called Marisol; and 55-two-bedroom villas on a hillside called Canto Del Mar.

Kiana will open in this fall. More than half of the units have been sold, Wright says. The first five units of Canto Del Mar have been built and sold, and there are 15 deposits for the next tranche, he says. As for the Marisol, Wright says he stopped taking deposits after quickly receiving 15 of them; the property is scheduled to bream ground in four months.

Wright and Ness also are preparing sites for Los Olas, a luxury single-family home development on the acreage. They have sold 25 lots and expect to have another 100 lots ready for sale in the next 12 months. We’re selling the lots and, for those who choose, developing their homes. The pricing of the lots depends on the size and the view, but the average is about $300,000 for a one-acre site, says Wright.

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