The Business Year

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Many of the biggest Costa Rican developers rarely set out with the goal of restricting themselves to that market alone, or even entering it to begin with. Rather, a combination of a fortuitous market trends and ample supply led them to develop the booming sector.

Juan Bernardo Alamo

Project Director, CONSTRUREAL

The company started 40 years ago in Venezuela. Our primary market was the lower and middle class, for whom we built apartments and houses. In 2011, the government intervened in our company and took control of it before removing us from its corporate governance. Following this, one of our partners in Venezuela, the Finol family, who had a lot of experience in Costa Rica, invited us to participate in a construction opportunity there. Once we entered the market, we realized that we had to work hard due to harsh competition, but were able to live our life freely and in peace. My father and uncle decided to start the company here in Costa Rica; at first, we started out in a 6sqm office. Leaving a country with a large demand for real estate for a smaller, more competitive market, we soon realized that we needed to focus on promoting a product that offered better quality and attainable prices.

Marí­a Andrea Arias

General Manager, La Lillyana

We always try to be different. For example, apartments in Heredia were small, and we decided to do something we call homes located in buildings for a different market that values space. We then decided to expand because there was a great deal of competition in Heredia, so we then went to Alajuela. We have pioneered the best possible project at the lowest possible price; in terms of price per sqm, we have a huge advantage over our competitors. For the Alajuela market, we have given amenities a lot of thought. We also invested in space for social events with full connectivity, while always keeping in mind how amenities affect the monthly fees. It is key for us to keep these as low as possible; however, it is also a priority to ensure that condos and common areas have the best wireless connection possible. This is something people greatly appreciate. We work with several companies to provide this service.

Francisco Avilés

General Manager, Francisco Avilés

Argo was born as a real estate consulting company but evolved to become a real estate developer in 2015 and is focused on the Rohrmoser area in San José, with local and international investors. There are two large investor groups, some from Spain and some local. We have also participated internationally as consultants in Panama, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Spain, and Ecuador. There has been an important evolution, in particular with the construction of high-rise buildings. There were no such buildings in Costa Rica before; this trend was mainly realized in the last five years. High-rise construction is the main business now, to which demand is oriented—though at a slower rate than supply. In some market segments, there is an oversupply. Mobility is the main urban challenge right now because San José completely lacks an efficient modern public transportation system. As a result, we focus our developments in zones where people do not need to use a car to get around.

Luis Montero

General Manager, Fomento Urbano

We started about 17 years ago. In the late 1990s, my father used to work in the textile business and started building warehouses for our products, then decided to sell and lease the warehouses when he realized the construction of a building for a department store made more profit than other areas and thus switched to real estate. In 2002, we joined forces with a partner who had experience in the construction sector in Miami and Colombia, and together we built offices and condominiums in Escazu. We also started doing some projects in Miami between 2003 and 2007, but when the crisis hit in 2007, we closed our business there and focused on Costa Rica. That is when we decided to split up, and since 2007 we have been a family-owned company developing several businesses in the country. We started with high-rise condominiums, something Costa Ricans were unaccustomed at the time for their expense, but have now come to see as normal.

Fuad Farach

General Manager, RC Inmobiliaria

Fomento Urbano is one of the oldest development companies in the residential sector, though it actually got started by accident. The company was created by four Costa Rican families, three of which were in the textile industry. These three partners bought a piece of land and wanted to build a new textile company. When they started doing reviews of the land they realized that they had a problem; the zoning of the land they bought was only for residential development. They had already made the purchase, so needed to decide upon an alternative. Thus they decided to start building houses. It is funny because this became a critical part of their business. Before long they had the goal of bringing excellent housing to all Costa Ricans. They focused on the middle class and got buildings permits in Tibás, Moravia, Heredia, and San Pedro. Over the years, the company has built more than 8,000 houses.



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