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LIKE UNIVERSE ITSELF, PUERTO CONTINUES TO EXPAND

Bold move in tough times spurs optimism for local businesses, jobs, community life

posted 4/22/2010 by Pelican Paulie

DEVELOPER Ramon Rivera Torres describes the Phase 4 concept of his Puerto Aventuras adventure that could boost population here to more than 10,000 in high season..

More Venetian-like canals flowing peacefully along rows of distinctive homes, several more waterfront hotels, a jaunty wooden bridge to an islet beach club and premier restaurant, a half-dozen new condominium complexes, grand yachts and small craft hugging the quay, bike paths and roads lined with vivid tropical foliage, more people, more jobs, more community.

That’s what dreams are made of and that’s what lies in store for Puerto Aventuras’ final phase of the dream as it shifts into infrastructure construction next month after a selloff of four large seaside tracts to hotel and condo developers. Also sold are four of five condominium blocks and 21 of 116 house lots, each facing a canal and docking, all this before a shovel has scored the ground.

The expansion encompasses 42.6 hectares (94 acres) of the 320 hectares or about 790 acres that define the Puerto Aventuras resort, not including the 300-hectare Pueblo across the highway. A hectare, by the way, equals 2.47 acres.

Mega-developer, architect, diver, historian and author Ramon Rivera Torres, whose dream and labors over some 25 years essentially transformed jungle into today’s Puerto Aventuras resort, marina and pueblo, is now submerged in the details of the final development area southeast of Marina 2, between the channel and the Barcelo Resort compound. It is called Caleta Chac-Hal-Al.

“Plan 4 should create 1,500 new direct jobs that will mean a population growth of about 3,500,” Rivera Torres said. This would add to the current 2,000 residents of the resort that climbs to 4,500 in season plus the 4,000 residents of the pueblo for an estimated in-season community of over 10,000 population as time and development march on to the next decade.

He envisions a larger capacity for the number of tourists at the resort and an increase in the number of owners living here full-time, all of them consumers. “Both will spend money in existing businesses,” he said, strumming a chord of optimism for local businesses reeling from the world slump.

He expects the infrastructure project will take 3.5 years while construction by third parties will continue for six or seven years. The major work of digging the channel is expected to begin next month and take three years to complete, he said. Like Rome, Phase 4 will not be built in a day.

NEW PHASE includes an inland beach between the island, top center of photo, and the mainland. Developer Ramon Rivera Torres also plans bike trails around the cenote and high-end beach club and restaurant on the island, as well as more canals, house lots, condos and hotels.Undaunted by the worldwide economic malaise and other impediments to progress, inspired by Albert Einstein’s writings on the essence of crisis, and empowered by a slight change in government regulation, Rivera Torres has turned a negative slump into a positive jump forward.

“Last September I looked at the numbers. We had not sold a single (new) condominium for 16 months,” Rivera Torres said ruefully during a recent interview with the Pelican Press. “The real estate agents here were earning a living only on re-sales.”

During that time, Rivera Torres had been pondering development of Phase 4 as a $1 million and over neighborhood, but inspired by Einstein’s views and a change in the law that allowed him to sell the house lots for less, he took the bull by the horns.

“I thought we could begin by selling some house lots first that might help attract buyers for the seaside and condo tracts. I decided to contact stockbrokers for names of wealthy individual investors and invited some of them here for a personally conducted tour and to meet with local residents.”

To his surprise, he said he was able to persuade some investors to diversify and all the seaside lots sold quickly as did the all but one of the condo tracts. In addition, 21 of the 116 house lots have been sold, total sales generating enough cash flow to allow the project infrastructure to get under way. All that, he said, without salesmen.

“Because the project was modified, I have had to apply for new permits and expect them any day. We should be able to begin digging the channels by June,” he said.

As in the past, Rivera Torres will himself invest in the project, creating a new beach between an islet and the mainland and operate a beach club and upscale restaurant there. He said people will be able to ride to it on their bicycles (along planned bike trails around the nearby Caleta and Cenote) or in their dinghies and tenders on the quiet ribbons of canals.

He added that some sales of house lots have been to residents already living in Puerto Aventuras but seeking to upgrade to a new level of privacy. More information atwww.puertoaventuras.com.mx or telephone 984-873-5111.

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