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Colliers International looking to increase development of mixed-use buildings in greater San José

August 13, 2013

An international real estate company said they see tremendous potential for modern mixed-use buildings in many of the communities surrounding San José.

Colliers International said on Tuesday that they were targeting four major areas surrounding the center of San José: Escazú to the west, Heredia to the northwest, Alajuela, further northwest, and neighborhoods east of San José where many of the largest universities reside.

Federico Guardia from Colliers International said an increased number of mixed-use buildings will be a convenience for residents.

“In New York, for example, it’s easy because you have delis and such nearby,” Guardia said in an interview. “But in San José it’s much more difficult.”

Guardia said he imagines buildings where you have shops and dining on the first floor, offices on next levels, and apartments on the top floors.

Colliers International saw Escazú as attractive because it offers a variety of dining and entertainment. The neighborhood appealed to both foreigners and Ticos. Guardia said they were trying to create a setting that would attract international corporations.

In Heredia, Colliers said the high concentration of service companies made the neighborhood an ideal site for mixed use buildings. Heredia contains a number of large hotels, which Colliers said they imagine as part of a mixed use building.

Colliers cited Alajuela’s Free Zones as making that neighborhood a region for development. A “Zona Franca,” as it’s known in Spanish, is a designated region of the country where international companies receive tax benefits. Companies such as Wal-Mart and Hewlett-Packard already reside in Alajuela.

East of San José, in areas including San Pedro, Alameda and Desamparados, Colliers sees their development as being enticing to the large number of universities in the region. Two of the largest Costa Rican schools, University of Costa Rica and Universidad Latina are in the area.

Guardia said the center of San José is not as attractive to real-estate developers, due to its lack of parking and open spaces.

Colliers International is a subset of FirstService, an international real estate company based in Toronto, Canada.

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