Friday, January 09, 2009 5:30 AM
Playa del Carmen Construction Update - January 2009
We are back from a short holiday break with a fairly extensive update of the various residential construction projects going on in and around Playa del Carmen. The economic slump in the U.S. is definitely having an effect on the sales climate down here. Last year, at this time, we were selling luxury beachfront condos hand over fist. This year, the Buyers are still here, they have just tightened their spending belts. Developers with projects in the range of $200K - $300K are seeing the bulk of the action. So, it's good news for some, not so good for others. Many projects are reaching completion. Others are delayed. It seems that a few have come to a complete standstill. People are definitely starting to see the value in smaller boutique properties set off of the beach a few blocks. Let's take a look at what's going on in Playa: the good, the bad and the ugly.
First up is Papaya, now 100% complete and making deliveries. This is a smaller complex right in the middle of downtown Playa del Carmen, just 4 blocks from the beach. The interior finishes are clean and modern. The project features a pretty lap pool surrounded by tropical plants and a large jacuzzi on the roof overlooking Playa and out to the Caribbean.
Habita is 100% complete and nearly sold out. Very modern, almost minimalistic in style, this project is chic yet inexpensive. Located in the north end, 6 blocks off of the beach, this well priced building is ahead of the curve for this up and coming neighborhood, assuring good appreciation.
Casa del Mar at Coco Beach is getting its finishing touches. The exterior looks great, the landscaping is in and taking hold and all of the streets surrounding this and The Elements are now laid with pavers. They are close to delivery.
The Lotus will be the next project to reach completion from one of Playa del Carmen's most prolific developers. Each project, undeniably, is unique and always a departure from the norm. His attention to detail and his use of unusual materials make each property stand out from the crowd. We did a full tour of Lotus this week and were really impressed with the most of units. The ground level two bedroom we found dark and a bit claustrophobic in comparison to the other spacious airy apartments. The pool is still being completed as well as the water/element on the second level. The worksite was abuzz with activity, everyone hurrying to get this one buttoned up. A sign of the times, two of the 10 units (including the ground level flat) are up for re-sale at a steep discount from a Buyer who needs to liquidate quickly. This could be an excellent opportunity to buy a nearly completed unit at less than pre-sale prices! Contact us for details on this one.
Next up is Haab, another stylish, well made project from one of Playa's well reputed developers. The popular Coco Beach/Shangri La location paired with reasonable pricing has brought a lot of Buyers to their door. The unusual lines and materials used on the exterior, really make you stop and look twice. They are planning to be complete in 5 weeks. Sorry about the sketchy "sign-blurring". A girl's gotta make a living.
Next up, we've got Casa Blanca, a complete departure from the current norm in Playa. Rather than trying to cram in as many small units as possible into a project, the developer has chosen to build an in city "townhouse" with just four luxury residences, one per floor. The units will have a whopping 135 m2 (nearly 1500 sqft.) of interior space, practically unheard of in this market and at this price point. With large parcels in town getting harder and harder to come by, expect to see more and more of these smaller, more exclusive "townhouses" being built. Good news to those of us who would hate to see whole neighborhoods (and worse yet, previously protected green spaces) obliterated to make room for another giant condo complex.
It seems no Construction Update would be complete without a mention of Azul Fives. However, with many Buyers now taking delivery and the resort due to be officially open in February, this may be one of our last photo updates. The new lobby and reception area is complete and lovely. The majority of the units have been completed and are being furnished and outfitted for occupancy. The beach club is almost done. The kids club area is complete. The tennis courts are in. The finishing touches and final plumbing is being done on the pool bars. At the beach club, the large infinity pool is beautiful and the one full service restaurant that is currently open is pretty, the food tasty and nicely presented. The staff are very definitely still working through the training phase to get up to Karisma's exacting standards. The other restaurants are working steadily toward completion however, it appears the majority of the work force is concentrating their efforts on the enormous spa. The Buyers we toured the site with this week were very pleased with the progress and excited about their investment. You can expect to see more pictures of the beach club in upcoming entries. It will be open to the public and you can be sure, we will be back!
OK, now let's move on to some of the projects that seem to have lost stream or halted construction all-together. I don't imagine this is going to make me very popular with several developers. Sorry guys. I promise to be back when they're well under way and looking beautiful!
Blume. We love the innovative designs they have proposed, but so far, all we have is a bad water feature to show.
The Loft II has been temporarily delayed, construction halted. A victim of these new, more tentative market conditions, the developer still has unsold units in The Loft I.
Zaphira appears to be dead in the water. It has been months since I have seen any activity on the job site. Today, I noted that the sales van was gone and the only signage was for rental of the commercial spaces. It appears one had found a tenant as they were working inside when I came by. No work was being done on the rest of the units. Too bad. This great 5th Avenue location, next to the famous Cueva del Chango and just a few moments from Shangri La beach should have made it a homerun!
Well, that's about enough for this month. As always, I am happy to go out and drive around taking pictures on request. Feel free to send me an email or just leave a comment on the blog. I hope all of you have had a Happy Holiday season with your families and friends. Let's all look forward to an exciting and economically prosperous 2009!!