U.S.-based developers have announced plans for what they are calling “a first of its kind residential community in Cuenca.” Daryl Lassiter, project spokeman for Cuenca Casas, said that community will be designed to appeal to both foreigners and local residents.
“The concept is not revolutionary,” said Lassiter. “It will be an active adult community that focuses on ‘ease of living’ amenities that are popular in vacation areas in the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries. We’ll focus on developing a secure, comfortable social environment, including a club house, swimming pool, and spa and exercise areas, and we will have the electronic and telephonic systems that provide added convenience and security." Lassiter added that the gated community's 24-hour security will make it attractive for "lock-and-leave" residents who will spend only part of the year in Cuenca.
One of the developers' objectives is to keep houses affordable. “We’re working hard to start pricing under $100,000.” Although details about the project will not be made public until complete plans are released, a press release said it would be located “in the country but a short commute to the city center, the historic district, supermarkets, the Mall del Rio, the new University Hospital and other medical facilities."
Other key features of the project include the availability of 10-year financing, a concierge shuttle service and a partnership with a local travel agency to help residents with travel arrangements.
According to Lassiter, the intention is not to build a “expat-only” development. “One of the attractions of Cuenca is that the foreign residents here are a part of the community. There is a large, educated middle class in Cuenca that mixes easily with foreign residents." He added that the developer intends to work with local architects, designers and artisans in the construction of the project. “We are part of the local economic environment and intend to be good citizens.”
According to the press release, the developers have more than 20 years experience in the U.S. and Latin America, and have been exploring investment possibilities in Ecuador for a year-and-a-half. According to Lassiter, they picked Cuenca for a number of reasons. “Good infrastructure, a rich cultural, low crime rate and good weather were all part of the decision. Cuenca rates high in all the important quality of life categories we were looking for.” He added, “Several newspapers and magazines, inlcuding National Geographic, list Cuenca as one of the best places to live and retire.”
He added that a demographic study commissioned last year by the Ecuadorian census office predicts that Cuenca and Quito will be the top Ecuadorian destinations for foreign residents in the next 25 years.
Lassiter said that plans for the Cuenca project will be released by late spring and the developers expect construction to begin later this year.
Based on their experience in Mexico, the developers expect that houses in the development will be sold through a lottery. “The demand was so great that we sold out within weeks in our northern Mexico development and we anticipate the same kind of response in Cuenca.”
For more information about the project, contact CuencaCasas@att.net.
Photo caption: Cuenca Casas developers say they want to take advantage of the area's rich culture and natural beauty.