Monday, October 01, 2007

Changes at Loreto Bay Management

Loreto Bay has made an announcement to homeowners that I received second hand. Apparently I am no longer on their mailing list, but no matter as I still receive the information. Many homeowners have shared their private comments with me and their thoughts, as well as asking me what I really know. Basically all are very optimistic about the prospect of the largest financial institution in the world taking over the project. What happens long term is still to be seen, but word is that the Posadas and the Beach Club are being built soon. There is much due diligence still going on, and maverick ways will soon be curtailed. This is all good and I have not talked to anyone who feels it is a negative. The time is now for change to move forward efficiently and effectively.

Personally I am of mixed emotions. It is time for change and I welcome and embrace the new era of corporate discipline and bottom line figures. From my days at IBM, this is a familiar place of security and stability. However, it can also be void of vision, free thinking and taking risks based on gut and intuition. I was lucky enough to work for the IBM Pacific Development Center, which was one of six research labs in the world given the reign and freedom to explore new territory and think outside the box. Hopefully, CitiGroup will have a similar division for this acquisition.

I am still very proud to have been involved with Loreto Bay Company in the early days, as an investor, homeowner, and employee. It was not without its faults and trials, but they are what have provided me the opportunity to do what I do today. It is also what gave many homeowners the added comfort of taking the plunge and chance to invest in an unknown company in a foreign country, with little more than the promise of an opportunity to be part of a better community lifestyle. Loreto Bay was a great marketing machine, and through the vision of David Butterfield, Jim Grogan, Ayrie Cunliffe, and the early settlers that included extraordinary people leading loyal teams, faithful investors, and willing homeowners, we forged ahead to create something extraordinary.

I have never actually met a face to the infamous “Citigroup” but I can only imagine that they will have the foresight to recognize what a jewel they have inherited. I hope they recognize and acknowledge the many faithful people that have endured the frustrations and delays, because it is this spirit that this project and place will be different and like no other resort area.

Loreto Bay did many things wrong, but hindsight is always 50/50. They should have had more Mexican management, focused on delivery and not just sales, and managed operations with an iron fist rather than by Dream Team. However, they put Loreto on the world stage, created opportunities for many Mexican people and foreigners alike. They introduced many strangers who became lifelong friends, and the community created will continue through sheer determination and passion against all odds.

Because of Loreto Bay, the area is attracting multi millionaires worldwide. They are no longer the only game in town, and others have benefited from their vision as well as their mistakes. Every week Dorado Properties Loreto is contacted from large investors who have unlimited cash to invest in development projects. They come from Spain, Mexico, USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.

This is an example of how NOT to sell real estate in Loreto. We had some of the richest representatives in Mexico out looking at land, and while touring the Fadesa project of San Bruno, we get stuck in an arroyo of sand. Normally, we have 4 wheel drive vehicles, but as there were 7 of us, we rented a van which was not equipped for the soft sand. On a very tight time schedule the last thing that we needed was to be stuck and have these VIP clients forging around the area for loose rocks and brush to try to get traction to move the van the 100 feet back onto hard surface. After taking 40 minutes in 90+ degree heat with 70% humidity, we went back to town and took a ponga to the listed beach property, not taking a risk to get stuck again. As I sat on the bow of the ponga for an hour feeling my brain become loose in my skull every time the aluminum boat came crashing down on a wave, my bones took a beating. Never again, I am so very thankful that I have my 34’ Luhrs, which can cruise at 20 knots per hour in comfort.

That night I needed to unwind and found myself among friends at Patti’s Bar in the Posada Del Flores Hotel. Our friends were incredible on the guitar and we had spontaneous dancing and singing for over an hour. It was a surprise to see Leo and Kathy of FN 370 and other visitors who made their way for liquid refreshment. These spontaneous times are the best and what makes living in Loreto so absolutely enjoyable. They do not happen all the time, but if you are open to opportunities and making new friends, these are a regular occurrence. "You will never meet anyone staying at home” which is what my friend Jesse from the No Name Saloon in Park City wants to clone for his T-Shirts.

Don Miguel is a mariachi player since the 60’s and has had a very interesting life. He now makes a living playing songs by request for 50 pesos each. It is a very traditional way of music and not something the younger people appreciate, but we have him sing for us and it makes us feel good that we are keeping some traditions alive. Here is Edgard and Luis from Padilla Castaneda Constructors singing along to entertain us.

This has been a quiet week. The streets downtown are still torn up, but they are making slow and steady progress on the main street with the stamped concrete roads. Today it rained unexpectedly and the roads were 3 or 4 inches high with water. There is much new construction around town for smaller stores and projects, but still too early to make announcements about what is coming.

We are involved with several new developers and businesses in the area, but can not divulge much about their activities yet, except to say … this area will definitively prosper. I see a little more caution by some people who wanted to invest 6 months ago, but I also see the flip side where I have a few investors who want to take advantage of this down turn market, and Canadians who wish to take advantage of the US dollar at par to buy now while the speculation is low.

Sometimes I feel it is a poker match based on wit, skill, luck, but most importantly staying in the game until the payoff. I intend to do this, and thank all my friends who are with me for the same goals. It is a good time to get involved early in projects. Buy low and plan, build and develop soon while there is little or no competition.

Have a great week and hope to see you in Loreto soon!

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