From the print edition
By Suzanna Lourie | Special to The Tico Times
PLAYA AVELLANAS, Guanacaste – When Agroganadera Pinilla S.A. announced the sale of its 4,450-acre Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort and Residential Community in late August, high-end investors quickly took notice.
But the potential sale of the beachfront development – located on the northwestern Pacific shores of Playa Avellanas and Playa Negra – is something all Guanacaste residents should pay attention to, as it could have a direct impact on their day-to-day lives, developers said.
In an Aug. 22 press release, major shareholder H.G. “Pat” Patillo announced the net proceeds of the sale will go toward funding operations and charitable work at his two nonprofit organizations: Guanacaste Ventures U.S. Inc., and its Costa Rican counterpart, Fundación Progreso Guanacaste.
United Country Real Estate, an international brokerage company, was hired to help Hacienda Pinilla – a gated community featuring an 18-hole golf course, several luxury hotels, nature trails, fine dining and other amenities – find the perfect buyer, an opportunity Dan Duffy, CEO of United Country, said his company is excited about.
“Hacienda Pinilla is an exceptional property from our perspective. Working with a client like this is rare in that the property is exceptional in attributes; but it’s also exceptional that the net proceeds are going to be donated to a foundation that does very important work,” Duffy said.
Patillo’s goal in the auction of Hacienda Pinilla is to finally provide the two charitable organizations he founded with substantial permanent funding for education and affordable health care for the people of Guanacaste.
“For over 40 years, I have been blessed and enriched by the opportunity to be part of the Guanacaste community, and [I] feel as strongly now as ever about the importance of investing in its future,” Patillo said in a press release.
Since Patillo can’t personally fund the foundations, he hopes to secure an investor so that the organizations can continue their work. So far, the Guanacaste nonprofit groups have repaired and improved more than 45 schools in the region, funded local medical assistance programs and constructed affordable housing options for families.
Patillo also started a scholarship program for Guanacaste students to attend universities in the United States.
Duffy and his team of marketing experts at United Country already are tackling the market to make sure the sale – and therefore the charity work – happens soon.
“We have a very aggressive strategy,” Duffy said of the company’s role in the sale of Hacienda Pinilla. “There are known investors that have the wherewithal to acquire a property like this, and we either go where they are or reach them through their media.”
According to Duffy, every qualified investor out there already knows Hacienda Pinilla is for sale – and people are paying attention.
“There’s basically one or two other projects on the market of this magnitude,” he said. “With the backdrop of Costa Rica, the favorable economy, the wonderful population, there’s really not another development like this available anywhere in the world.”
For those who work and live at Hacienda Pinilla, life after the sale will stay the same. If anything, daily life will improve, Hacienda Pinilla General Manager Mauricio Estrada said.
“We’re very excited about this process that should accelerate the development plans for Hacienda Pinilla,” Estrada added.
“Mr. Patillo’s foundation has already done wonders for the schools in the area,” Estrada said. “The scholarships awarded to Guanacastecan students are unique to the history of Costa Rica, and we can only dream of what will come next.”
In early September, Duffy said the company has already seen a lot of expressed interest in the Pinilla property.
Said Duffy: “To have a premiere property that will then help in the development of Guanacaste and the education of its students makes it even more special.”