Update on Fantasy Island!

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Susan Fogel
The lovely development on El Mogote, Paraiso del Mar, has had a troubled adolescence. Many people bought in early at the attractive “Founder” price. And they waited four years for construction to start, then to be completed, and finally to receive their finished house or condo.
The golf course opened. The 19th Hole, the little restaurant opened to the public. Anyone could wait at the dock at Vista Coral and catch the electric boat and have lunch there. Uniformed staff met the boat and whisked the visitors off to their destinations on silent electric carts. It really earned its nickname of Fantasy Island!
Well, OK, I named it that, but when I called friends and asked if they would like to meet me for lunch at Fantasy Island, they knew what I was talking about.
Between the environmental complaints, and the developer’s mismanagement, new construction has been shut down. For awhile, water was being trucked in at great expense. The homeowners rallied and dug deep into their own pockets to pay the staff, keep the desalination plant working and the boats running. The golf course looked a little rough for a time. Because of the courage and intelligence of the homeowners, Paraiso del Mar is a functioning, safe, and lovely place to live.
CapSource, the main lender on the project, has stepped up and paid almost $300,000 in back homeowner’s dues. The HOA is solvent; it has control of the water, grounds, staff, and boats. They have shut down the cute, but costly waiting area on the Vista Coral promenade. The boats still run, but you won’t be sitting in expensive and cushy patio furniture under an umbrella while you wait for a boat. “This will change once the construction re-starts,” says my source.
Since the beginning, and independent of any careless actions by the developer, the residents have been recycling their trash, cleaning the beach of flotsam and the trash left by beachgoers. They have a turtle conservation program going and a new hatching is expected in the next 90 days. Holiday rentals have never stopped. Now owners are listing their properties for sale.
Two concerns are in discussions to buy the property and finish the remaining condo towers and perhaps build more homes. If you ever dreamed of owning an island home, Paraiso del Mar is the closest thing.
No matter what you think about whether Paraiso del Mar should have ever been built, it is there. The best outcome is that a reputable buyer takes over, completes the project, and protects the environment. That is what the homeowners are working on.
And let us hope that the new builder will respect the fragile ecosystem of El Mogote and the inner bay. If the present owners have anything to do with the environment, it will be top priority. And take heed, developers. Get your permits in order before you move one grain of sand.
Susan Fogel Is the broker/owner of www.prestigepropertygrouplapaz.com
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