Construction & Community-Los Islotes

How In The World Did We Find This Place?

“How did you all ever find this place?” wondered the attendees from last week’s Offshore Summit who Lief and I escorted on an overnight visit to Los Islotes last weekend.

Fair question. Los Islotes isn’t on the way to anywhere.

Five years ago, Lief and a friend, David Stubbs, spent more than a year scouting Panama’s Azuero Peninsula. They’d identified this region as the logical path of progress in this country. So they traveled up and down Auzero’s east coast, looking at Las Tablas, Pedasi, Chitre, Pocri… Then they traveled up and down Azuero’s west coast, exploring the shores around Mariato, Torrio, Arenas, Quebro… A few things became clear.

First, the western coast of the Azuero Peninsula has what Lief and David perceived as a geographic advantage over the eastern coast: It’s hillier, making for dramatic and ever-changing views of the Pacific Ocean from almost any point.

Second, from this side of the peninsula, you can watch the sun set over the water each night.

The third thing that Lief and David recognized years ago when they started paying attention was that Azuero’s western coast was also decidedly less developed than its eastern coast. Less developed means more potential.

Several more months of focused scouting along the stretch of Azuero’s western coast that Lief and David agreed was the most naturally beautiful led them to the cattle ranch called Los Islotes. They were wowed and invited me on a return visit. I agreed. These 300 hectares had everything we’d been looking for—a long stretch of beachfront…hilly terrain along the coast, meaning almost every point on the property has a water view…mountains in the near-distance on the backside, meaning more views…a protected cove for swimming and, a little farther along the beach, frothier waters, great for surfing…plus three little islands just offshore, one of which you can walk to via a land bridge at low tide.

Standing on the beach at Los Islotes this past weekend with the group from the conference, I remembered those early days and all the twists and turns we’ve navigated since. Surveys, inspections, environmental reviews, water analysis, approvals, permissions…then more reviews, approvals, permissions…then, oh, wait…more reviews, approvals, permissions…until, finally, just this month, the last of 17 required stamps, meaning we’re finally, at long last, we’re assured, once and for all, fully compliant. Good to go.

Standing on the beach with our group of 18 last weekend, I looked up and down the long coast in both directions and couldn’t help but smile. Things are about to get interesting.

We’ve got the stamps. We’ve got the master plan. We’ve lined up the equipment and the crews. Our architect is finalizing the drawings for the first houses. Our project manager Gary is chomping at the bit.

As soon as it stops raining, Gary and his guys will begin moving dirt.

Lief and I have been imagining what we’d like to create at Los Islotes for a long time. Now we’re in a position to get to it.

Construction of the first houses will commence in January 2013.

And I can’t wait.

Kathleen Peddicord

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