Friday, July 02, 2010
Today, there is a pocket of opportunity right in the heart of downtown Fortaleza. I’m talking about an area that was neglected. An ambitious plan is changing that.
Iracema Beach is just to the west of Fortaleza’s bustling boardwalk. Fortaleza’s boardwalk is the tourism, social, entertainment and high-end real estate centre of Fortaleza. Real estate prices have doubled here in the past three years. Today, ocean view condos here sell for up to $4,500 per meter. (That’s approximately $450,000 for a 1,000 sq ft condo.) Rentals here stay full and charge top dollar. Brazilian millionaires and billionaires own condos here. Some boardwalk condos are as big as 5,000 square feet.
Today, the boardwalk is fully built out. There is one remaining developable site on the corner at the eastern edge of the boardwalk. This is the site that’s just a couple of minutes walk from the Gran Marquise Hotel. You may have heard me refer to this site as the “swamp??? project. This project (like many others in the Fortaleza area) has been held up by permitting delays. A complete staff change has paralyzed the permitting process. Unfortunately, this delay and the way prices have been rising, means that prices for the “swamp??? project will likely be 8,500 reais per meter at launch. That’s more than double the RETA member-only price I discussed with the developer two years ago.
Don’t worry. There’s a way we can get in on Fortaleza’s boardwalk at the ground floor. It ain’t a time machine. It’s a Path of Progress…
Iracema beach hosted 1.1 million revelers for this year’s New Year party. Concerts and major beach volleyball tournaments are a regular fixture. Visitors have however preferred to stay along the family friendly and buzzing boardwalk. But now, Iracema is getting a major facelift.
The result will be to extend the boardwalk to include Iracema Beach.
This project is part of the $5.6bn investment in tourism and infrastructure in the run up to the 2014 soccer world cup.
$135m is earmarked for the new Aquarium (set to be the largest in South America). Another $30m is being invested in a general upgrade of the area, including the extension of the boardwalk, and $10m is allocated for the renovation of the cultural center (which is Fortaleza’s art and theater center).
For those of you that are familiar with Fortaleza, the boardwalk is to be extended from La Casa restaurant as far as the new Aquarium.
This is all part of the same stretch. There’s no reason the boardwalk should stop at La Casa. With no more developable land, the boardwalk has to go somewhere. The old port and industrial installations means it can’t go east. (At least for another decade, or until major port functions are moved to Pecem). The boardwalk is extending along Iracema Beach.
Iracema’s dingy bars will be replaced with more family friendly restaurants and cafes…shiny new condos and hotels will take the place of 3-star hotels. This area will also benefit from the $19m that is being spent upgrading the boardwalk. Three years from now, there will be no visible break from the boardwalk to Iracema beach and to the cultural center.
Families on vacation will want to stay here…as will visiting executives. Yet, today prices here are 22%-60% lower than along the boardwalk.
Prices here will catch up with those on the existing boardwalk as Iracema becomes part of the boardwalk.
P.S. Next week I’ll tell members of Real Estate Trend Alert about the best opportunity in Iracema Beach. Members will be offered a special discount and terms I negotiated on their behalf. If there are units available after RETA members have had first dibs I’ll let you know. The discount however will only be available to members of Real Estate Trend Alert.
P.P.S 19 months ago, I recommended a project called Landscape. Members of our RETA group got in early at special prices and terms. Members of our group who bought in January 2009 have seen the value of their units increase by close on 40%. Since January 2009 they have only been making monthly payments of 1%. This is good news…and I expect we will see further price appreciation.
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