'Articles from 2007' Category

Anticipating the Baby Boomers in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point)

Friday, December 7th, 2007

There was an interesting article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday highlighting an assessment of the real estate market in northern Mexico from the Mexico Resort Development conference held earlier this week in Carlsbad, California. It highlights some of the challenges northern Mexico resort areas – such as northern Baja and Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) – face going forward in light of the weak southwestern U.S. real estate market (which supplies most of the buyers in these resort areas) and talks about how a slowdown in northern Mexico is healthy in some respects and is expected to be more short-lived than the market downturn in the U.S.

Conference attendees predicted that the slowdown would “spur a better quality of development” that provides more amenities and mixed-use projects (definitely a need in Puerto Peñasco and something we are starting to see more of). They also raised an interesting point highlighted in the article about market demographics:

Unlike the housing market meltdown in the United States, which has been partially caused by young first-time buyers failing to make payments on their adjustable-rate mortgages, the Mexican slowdown is more associated with baby boomers who pulled equity out of high-priced property to buy retirement or vacation homes in a sunny climate. The condos, townhomes and houses range in price from $150,000 to more than $1 million.

The boomers’ monetary shortfalls are more temporary, the experts said, because they have more equity and are inheriting money as their parents pass away.

“Baby boomers have a lot of wealth. You’ve got a lot of people who are going to have time and money to do stuff,” said Textron Financial senior vice president Adam Greene. “The feeling is there’s a lot of money waiting on the sidelines.”

Over the past decade, the number of such buyers settling into active-lifestyle communities in Mexico has increased from 200,000 to between 600,000 and 1 million. About 100,000 U.S. citizens retire to Mexico each year.

Property sold in Mexico also tends to be in the luxury category and, thus, more immune to impacts from the current U.S. housing situation.

“There’s a temporary downturn in sales,” said John McCarthy, chief executive of Mexico Leisure Real Estate Development Partners, “but I think the demographics are there. And once the psychological effect of the subprime crisis passes, the market will come back.”

Puerto Peñasco has certainly seen a slowdown over the last year, particularly in new condominium sales. But the developers in town are taking the opportunity to catch their breath and catch up on providing many of the resort destination amenities retiring baby boomers demand – like spas, restaurants, bars, golf and shopping. And the Sonoran and Peñasco governments are also working on improving the city’s infrastructure systems through the recently finished refurbishment of the city’s fresh water well system, improvements to the electrical capacity of the city and new roadway improvement projects.

Combined with the improved accessibility to Puerto Peñasco that is starting to emerge through commercial flights to Los Angeles, the nearly completed coastal highway, the soon to be open international airport and the announced expansion of the Lukeville border crossing, these improvements will provide the backbone for Puerto Peñasco as it moves into its second long-term growth phase – when the baby boomers mentioned in the article begin to again jump back into the second home vacation market.

Used with permission from Paul P. Kingsley. Mr. Kingsley is a founding member of The Primestone Group LLC (http://www.primestonegroup.com) and writes a business, real estate and tourism blog about Puerto Peñasco at http://www.puertopenascopost.com.

It’s a labor of love for Tucson man who graces Catholic churches with his tile art

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

TUCSON, Ariz. (The New Vision) – Peter Donaldson was “a problem child,” a seminarian and a school teacher before he retired and moved to Tucson, where he’s spending his time now adding beautiful touches to churches.
A self-described handyman who built his own house on Long Island and said he knows “all the trades,” Donaldson is focused today on transforming religious pictures into magnificently painted tile scenes, eight of which are mounted on and around the courtyard walls of Santa Cruz Parish at 6th Avenue and 22nd Street in Tucson.
At his own expense, Donaldson seeks and finds requests for the tile illustrations and takes them to a shop in Rocky Point, Mexico. That shop sends the photos provided by Donaldson “further south into Mexico,” where a “phenomenal artist” transforms the image onto tiles that are then assembled into a work of art, he said.

“I don’t know his name or where he is,” Donaldson said of the artist.

What Donaldson does know is where the artist’s works are being displayed, because he personally adds a tile border in complementary colors and mounts the pieces at various churches in Tucson.

During an interview, Donaldson, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, told the stories behind each of the tiles mounted at Santa Cruz.

In one instance, he said, Father John Williamson wanted a tile rendition of the Sacred Heart.

“He had a blond, blue-eyed Jesus and he said, ‘Peter, can you take the head of this and put like a Middle Eastern one on it?’ And I did,” Donaldson said.

When the illustration was returned, it was found to have a crack in the tile upon which the heart had been painted, so a replacement tile was ordered, Donaldson said. In return, he received an identically painted tile, as well as one painted to show the heart half-covered by Christ’s garment, “so I had three tiles – the cracked one, the re-done one, and the one with the heart half-hidden,” Donaldson noted.

One of the tiles was given by Father Williamson to a young woman whose husband had died of Cancer, Donaldson said.

Posted by www.catholic.org

Traveling to Canada, Mexico and Bermuda by Land/Sea

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Beginning January 31, 2008, the Department plans to move towards WHTI implementation at land and sea ports of entry by ending the routine practice of accepting oral declarations of citizenship alone.

Citizens of the United States, Canda, Bermuda and Mexico will need to present the following to enter or depart the United States by land or sea:

, the Department plans to move towards WHTI implementation at land and sea ports of entry by ending the routine practice of accepting oral declarations of citizenship alone.U.S. and Canadian Citizens

Ages 19 and older: a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate

Children ages 18 and younger: proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

: proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.Passports and trusted traveler program cards – NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST – will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel.

: a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate: proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.Citizens from Bermuda

Passport issued by the Government of Bermuda or the United Kingdom.

Citizens from Mexico

As under current entry requirements, Mexican nationals, regardless of age, must present a passport issued by the Government of Mexico and a visa, or a valid Form DSP-150, B-1/B-2 laser visa (Border Crossing Card).

Trusted traveler program cards – NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST – will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel.

Passport Requirements

All citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are now required to present a valid passport when entering the United States at any airport as of January 23, 2007. This includes:

Children of any age, including children of Legal Permanent Residents who are United States citizens.

Mexican citizens who have a Border Crossing Card (BCC) when entering the United States by air. (The BCC is still valid in lieu of a passport and visa for land border crossings within the border region.) The BCC may be used as a visa.

Effective last January all persons entering the US by air, including US citizens were required to present a valid passport or other WHTI accepted document

On June 20, 2007 the Department of Homeland Security quietly muted the implementation of the requirement by expanding the definition of ‘acceptable documents’ (See: WHTI accepted document) to include a valid drivers license and proof of citizenship “such as a birth certificate” What will end is their acceptance of your verbal declaration of nationality. (See Dept of Homeland Security Page and US Department of State)Complete implementation of the policy is expected in the summer of 2008. At that time only a passport or equivalent document will be acceptable. The DHS will issue 60 days notice on the implementation of this policy.

The first phase of the WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) planned since 9/11, was begun last January. As of January 2007 all persons entering the United States by air were required to present a valid passport. When this plan was hatched back in 2002 fewer than 20% of all US citizens had passports. Falling short of their own estimation of demand for passports, the US Department of Homeland Security fell as much as 6 months behind in the backlog for new passports. This resulted in some loosening of the requirements last summer.

Posted by www.BajaInsider.com

Passport Card Update

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Beginning January 31st, 2008, U.S. citizens will be required to show their birth certificates or other documents that prove citizenship, along with their driver’s licenses, to cross the border back into this country if they don’t have passports.

The modifications are step one closer to the new rules to tighten border security and require a passport or passcard to cross land borders. The State Department and Homeland Security have not issued the rules for the issuance of passport cards. The passport card will be issued to reduce the cost and complexity for residents in border states who cross the border regularly.

The State Department plans to begin processing applications for the wallet cards by the spring. The delays on the passport card and the stricter requirements at land border crossings are likely to cause traffic jams at ports of entry along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

Many people who regularly cross the border by showing a driver’s license and saying “yes” when Customs and Border Patrol agents ask if they are U.S. citizens are not aware of new rules.

300 million people cross the land borders annually. Congress moved back the deadline requiring passports or passport cards at all land borders until June 2009. Officials in charge of issuing passport cards announced plans for the driver’s license-like card in early 2006, and said the card would be ready for distribution by the end of that year. Now, almost two years later, the State Department is still working on the final regulations for the card, which is expected to cost $20 plus a $25 processing fee — about half of the $97 cost of a regular passport, making the smaller card a cheaper and easier alternative for many border residents.

Article provided by www.abriggs.com  

A Seaside Delight Close to the US Border

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Rocky Point is the name gringo’s have given to Puerto Penasco, Sonora Mexico. It is just 60 miles over the border from Lukeville, Arizona. It is 210 miles west of Tucson Arizona and 210 miles south of Phoenix. Visitors from out of the area you can fly into Phoenix International Airport rent a car and drive the short four-hour drive to the beach community.

Rocky Point is a delightful get away at the top of the shimmering Sea of Cortez. Currently it is one of the fastest growing communities in Sonora, and all of Mexico. Once a sleepy fishing village it has recently been discovered by vacationers and investors.

This beautiful place has magnificent beaches to play on, ancient lava tide pools to explore, sea shells to collect, breathtaking sunsets and sunrises that bring tears to our eyes, fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, sunset boat trips, and more. Take a day trip by boat to see Bird Island and swim with the sea lions. Watch porpoise’s play and whales surface.

You can rent a big beach house in Los Conchas for a laid back relaxing stress-melting experience or rent a condo in a resort complex with lots of amenities including hot tub, spa, swimming pools, a bar and restaurant close by.

There are several first class restaurants for dining and seafood is the specialty in many of them. Chefs prepare creative entrées guaranteed to excite the most discerning palate. Nightlife and entertainment abound and there is something for every taste from Jazz to Rap.

A big bonus is that Rocky Point is a free port and it is easy to cross the border into Mexico with no visitors permit required. However beginning January 1, 2008 a valid US Passport will be needed to return to the US.

Property investment is a big plus for a second home, a vacation rental or a family get-away. A new International Airport just opened and a transcontinental coastal highway from San Luis to Hermosillo will be completed on 2008. Investments will just keep growing as property values rise.

Property lots are held in a trust account secured through the Mexican Government and administered by a Mexican Bank. They are safe and protected. Mexican Law prohibits foreigners from owning land within 31 miles of a coast shore and 63 miles from an International border.

If you’re looking for a relaxing and fun Holiday vacation spot—or for a place to invest consider Rocky Point, México you will be glad you did.


Interesting Article about Snowbirds

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

This article shows the exact reason why Puerto Penasco needs a viable air transportation. 

Mexico does second-home buying right
Retirees lured by fun, sun, health care
By Tom Kelly

Who were the first snowbirds? It depends on where you ask the question.

Historically, snowbirds have been retirees who escape the cold of winter for a warmer climate. Residents of the East Coast tend to say they were the first to dodge the snow — heading to Florida and the Caribbean, while West Coasters picked up the trend much later and invaded Arizona and Southern California. The term “snowbird” also is given to a significant number of Canadians who make Victoria, British Columbia, their home in January and February.

Snowbirds usually are able to be away from home for long periods of time, often can afford to purchase a second home, and have even been known to use their primary and second homes for creative tax purposes and income streams.

David Collins, chairman of Active Living International, a company specializing in the research and development of active adult communities, is an expert in predicting where snowbirds prefer to land. His company’s recent assignments have included a study of the over-50 housing market for Mexican developer CEMEX and the construction of a 150-unit retirement resort for Sensara Partners on Spain’s Costa del Sol. The Spanish development, which opened in 2005, was honored by the National Association of Home Builders and was named Best Retirement Housing Project in Europe.

The Mexican project, called Sensara Vallarta, is the first “50-plus” active adult community developed in Mexico and contains 250 luxury condominiums inside the grounds of the El Tigre Golf Course near Puerto Vallarta. The complex, designed by Mexico City architect Jose Vigil who conceived many of the homes in nearby exclusive Punta Mita area, is a 15-minute drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport.

Why Puerto Vallarta? What makes this destination the choice over so many wonderful communities in the sun south of the border?

“In addition to the sun, Puerto Vallarta is all about access,” Collins said. “There are more than 15,000 air flights a year now, and the prices are still reasonable for the type of person our developments target. Cancun definitely is a market, but it’s more of a hotel market. Los Cabos is really more higher-end and not that easy for a lot of people to get to.”

Active Living International’s presence has led to additional interest in the Puerto Vallarta area for developers of the over-50 market. Front Porch Development, a Burbank-Calif.-based company specializing in the senior market, is partnering with Mexico-based Plenus on Luma, a 440-residence community on the ocean in Nuevo Vallarta.

According to Active Living International, “active adults” are persons over the age of 50, who are independent and comfortable with an active, social lifestyle. They are physically fit and have a variety of interests, including travel, golf, tennis, swimming and socializing. Active adults think in terms of longevity rather than life expectancy. Active adults typically retain their own homes but plan to acquire a second home and may downsize their living arrangements without sacrificing quality or convenience. They want quality, upscale options and amenities for a vacation or retirement lifestyle.

Sensara condominiums start at approximately 1,312 square feet for one-bedroom units and range up to 2,786 square feet for the three-bedroom homes. Luma’s condos start at 1,678 square feet for one-bedroom units and range up to up to 5,498 square feet for penthouses. Prices for both developments start in the $300,000 range with the Luma penthouses commanding more than $1.2 million. (For more information, see www.mexicobuyersguide.com.)

Collins said Sensara Vallarta is designed for the homeowner who wants a luxurious, tropical escape from the stress of the “real” world while also having easy access to an unmatched range of activities and amenities. In addition to having their own pools, clubhouse and restaurant, Sensara residents will have memberships for Paradise Village’s new sports club plus entry to the Playa Royale Beach Club that stretches along the Bay of Banderas.

Luma’s waterfront residents also will have first-rate amenities, including high-tech security, American-style health care, high-speed Internet, English-speaking staff and a “personal lifestyle” concierge program.

Snowbirds — by definition — take flight for the sun. However, with rising second-home prices in the United States, the lure to the sun must include reasonable costs, available health care and non-negotiable, quality amenities. The world’s leaders in over-50 projects are now betting on Mexico, and other countries south of the border certainly will follow

Border Wait Relief

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Tucson Region
Lukeville crossing set for two more lanes
By Howard Fischer
Arizona will spend $1.5 million to construct more lanes at the border crossing at Lukeville to help prevent Arizonans from having to wait for hours trying to get back into this country after visiting Puerto Peñasco.
Members of the state Transportation Board approved the funding at their meeting Friday. Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the board wants to increase the number of vehicles that can be processed at the often-crowded port of entry.
The funding, though, is contingent on private firms coming up with $1 million. But Gov. Janet Napolitano told Capitol Media Services she has been assured that companies in Puerto Peñasco — better known as Rocky Point — want to expedite the flow of tourists and goods and are committed to providing the money.
Friday’s vote comes as Napolitano met with Luis Tellez, Mexico ‘s communications and transportation secretary, to try to get his government to come up with funds for improvements at border crossings on the other side of the line.
“We need to improve port infrastructure to facilitate the legal movement of goods and people,” the governor said after the meeting in Ciudad Obregón , Sonora . She said Tellez agreed the traffic jams that often tie up cars and trucks for hours harm both countries.
“Our economies are being hampered,” she said.
And Napolitano said that while Tellez did not commit to providing a specific amount of money, he told her these projects were an objective of his government.
The governor said the ADOT funds will finance two new lanes on top of the existing four on the U.S. side, one of which is dedicated for commercial traffic.
She said, though, that the ADOT money, even if matched with private dollars, isn’t the total answer, as additional lanes won’t mean anything by themselves.
“I’m not interested in putting money in unless the federal government will staff them,” she said. Napolitano said her next job is persuading the federal government, which operates the port, to put money into the budget for the necessary employees.
Beyond that, Napolitano said she wants the border station open 24 hours a day, at least during peak traffic periods. Now the station is closed from midnight to 6 a.m.
The governor said the new lanes are the second part of a three-pronged effort to eliminate the backup on the Mexican side of the border.
Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed to direct motor homes and vehicles towing trailers into the commercial lane, at least on Sundays and Mondays. That should make the crossing faster for those in passenger cars.
Napolitano said the entire port of entry, about 100 miles southwest of Tucson , needs to be reconfigured to ease the flow.
Napolitano’s trip to Mexico also produced a new agreement with Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours to work together to lure new firms to the area.
Napolitano acknowledged making that happen, though, has potential political pitfalls.
“I need to be doing things that create and hold jobs in Arizona ,” she said. And Napolitano said that, from a pure cost perspective, a company that wants to build things will find that labor is cheaper in Mexico .
But the governor said a case can be made for having operations in both states.
“Certain kinds of jobs are better situated in Arizona ,” she said.


Tough competition for high-end tourism

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Tough competition for high-end tourism Published on Monday, November 19, 2007 Email To Friend Print Version Hon Charles Clifford Tourism Minister The Cayman Islands’ plans to carve a niche in the high-end tourist market could, according to a recent report by Forbes.com, face stiff competition from other destinations in the Caribbean and part of the Americas. According to research conducted by travel experts in the USA, there are some very attractive, and affordable, well-established luxury alternatives to the Cayman Islands already catering to the sector, which Cayman is only just working on targeting. The experts warn that Mexican destinations like Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico, long regarded as cheap destinations for the masses, are developing into the high-end market and, while being just as luxurious as Caribbean destinations, are almost always cheaper. One suggestion made, which has only recently opened up to air travellers but is an established drive-to destination from the United States of America, is Puerto Peñasco in Mexico on the northern Sea of Cortez. On offer there is the Sonoran Sun Resort, which provides not only the world class “Service” on-site but also an amazing beach that is in close proximity to the U.S. for budget minded travlers.

Hon Charles Clifford
Tourism Minister

Marine research institute near Rocky Point honored

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

arizona daily star

A marine research institute near Rocky Point is a winner of Mexico’s top National Conservation of Nature Award.

CEDO, which has operated for 27 years in the northern Gulf of California, won the award in the category of non-governmental organizations. CEDO stands for the Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Oceanos, or the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans.

CEDO is on the beach about an hour’s drive south of the U.S.-Mexico border, near the popular tourist destination of Rocky Point, or Puerto Peñasco.

As a non-profit natural-history resource center and biological field station, CEDO is a destination for schoolchildren and college-level researchers alike.

It annually hosts 15,000 to 20,000 visitors from Mexico and the United States.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this honor. As everyone knows, there are a lot of challenges in conservation today. It is very gratifying to know that our efforts, although sometimes controversial, are appreciated by authorities at the national level in Mexico,” CEDO Executive Director Peggy J. Turk Boyer said in a news release from the center’s U.S. office in Tucson.

CEDO will receive its award Tuesday, Mexico’s National Conservation Day.


First Course in Real Estate Management Concludes.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Firm steps towards the regulation and professionalism of local real estate activity were recently taken upon the conclusion of the first certificate course in real estate management. Twenty-six
people from the U.S.A., Canada, Spain and Mexico graduated from the course held from mid-May to mid-June. The Sonoran Institute for Public Administration, in coordination with the Sonoran Secretary of Finance and the Mexican Association of Professional Realtors (AMPI), put on the valuable course with the goal to promote knowledge and compliance with the laws and regulations that make up the “State Registry of Real Estate Agents.” This registry will allow for regulating operations of selling and purchasing, renting and other related legal actions, so that those carrying out such operations can have greater legal protection. The recent course was directed at real estate agents, individuals and companies who work as intermediaries in real estate transactions in order to obtain their registration with the Secretary of Finance. The course consisted of nine modules for a total of 104 hours of instruction and was held in the auditorium of the Technological Institute of Puerto Peñasco. In the graduation ceremonies, René Martínez Argueta, academic director of the Sonoran Institute of Public Administration, highlighted the fact that this is the fifth class of its kind in the state and the first in Puerto Peñasco to complete training to comply with the laws created by the State Registry of Real Estate Agents. He paid recognition to this first Peñasco class, as they are a positive example to follow in promptly tending to the call of the Sonoran government to provide legal assurance to the real estate market. José Galván Flores, speaking on behalf of the graduates, emphasized that there is real interest in regulating this sector while increasing professionalism. He remarked that as part of the work carried out, graduates prepared a document expressing some observations to consider in the enforcement of the new Law of Territorial Order and Urban Development. These include assuring there is legal security for development in areas subject to litigation, and to not allow indiscriminant publicity of developments “just on paper.” He observed that these concepts were introduced to the state government in the last plenary of the Sonora-Arizona and Arizona-Mexico Commission, as well as to the local administration of Puerto Peñasco. Galván Flores noted that previously in Puerto Peñasco there had been fraudulent real estate transactions, but the conditions are now such to insure this does not continue to occur. Martín Rafael Martínez González, President of the Mexican Association of Professional Realtors, thanked the Municipal and State Governments for the interest shown in opening the real estate market while paying attention to the needs for modification of the legal framework. He remarked that real estate agents, and the people of Puerto Peñasco, are committed to prepare themselves to maintain and promote professionalism among real estate agents. Mayor Heriberto Rentería Sánchez stated, “This is a very important step for real estate work in Puerto Peñasco, as the training of professionals in this area will allow for reinforcement of work required of promoters and give more confidence to investors.”
He emphasized that the city government is in favor of supporting all actions directed to the professionalism of the real estate sector and, through the Urban Development Office, they are intent on making sure that everything is done under regulations. Present at the ceremony were Rodolfo Elías Calles, Director of Commerce and Services from the Secretary of Finance, Enrique Carrión Contreras, director of ITSPP, other heads of departments and special guests