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Hi everyone,

 

I've visited the Chapala area several times and enjoyed it but I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a higher end hotel. I rented a room at La Reserva which was ok and the room was nice but no AC at all and the mattresses were not that great.  I bought a high rise apartment in Zapopan (GDL) that is 3 bedrooms and 2,400 sq. feet and spent a small fortune furnishing it but it's been very successful renting it out on short-term rentals.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this project - http://www.altolagomx.com      A penthouse unit with 4 bedrooms (all in-suite bathrooms) and 338 sq. meters with a plunge pool and amazing view of the Lake.  The building looks like it's going to be higher end and the building will have concierge, restaurant and bar.   It's 9,150,000 pesos (about $481,500 US dollars at current exchange rate)  for the bigger penthouse unit which is a special pre-construction price.   They said it's going to start being built January 2019 and take around 18 months.   The developer seems like a well respected one with offices in Miami and Guadalajara and has designed several hotels and won a few awards and Sotheby's (which typically specializes in luxurious properties) is the exclusive broker.  

I'm positive I can rent it out on the weekends as there is a lot of wealthy people from Guadalajara that visit and there is no 5 star properties.  I'd go very high end furnishing it.   But I'm not sure how rentals are mid-week.  I'd be curious to hear the opinion of all of you that live there and know that area.

Thanks in advance.

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Thanks ComputerGuy for your thoughts.  Actually there ARE several luxurious homes because I've been at parties and events at some.  A few of my friends have really nice properties there but I don't wa

Hi everyone,   I've visited the Chapala area several times and enjoyed it but I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a higher end hotel. I rented a room at La Reserva which was ok and th

So... you say you speak Spanish, have "purchased hundreds and hundreds of properties around the world", you have many rich Tapatios for friends, and, based on your posts, a lot of money... Then w

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If you're looking for luxury, you will have to go somewhere else. This is a small set of villages, and there have been a dozen high-concept, absolute BS projects in the last ten years... everything from private Disneyland-type theme parks to mountain top hotels, to municipal government-sponsored local park improvement projects. Every single one failed before the first spade hit the earth. I'm amazed the Alto Lago slice of baloney still has a Web page. Be that as it may, no one here wants any of this Northern America crap ruining the beauty of the land.

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5 minutes ago, ComputerGuy said:

If you're looking for luxury, you will have to go somewhere else. This is a small set of villages, and there have been a dozen high-concept, absolute bullshit projects in the last ten years... everything from private Disneyland-type theme parks to mountain top hotels, to municipal government-sponsored local park improvement projects. Every single one failed before the first spade hit the earth. I'm amazed the Alto Lago slice of baloney still has a Web page. Be that as it may, no one here wants any of this Northern America crap ruining the beauty of the land.

Thanks ComputerGuy for your thoughts.  Actually there ARE several luxurious homes because I've been at parties and events at some.  A few of my friends have really nice properties there but I don't want a private house as I think security is much better in a building vs. a home.   I'm not talking "Disneyland type" properties.  This property looks tastefully done and materials all are pretty high end.  

I heard from a developer friend that the Radisson Blu is going to be developed there.  I'm not sure what the time frame is but it seems like a Penthouse property there would be more desirable vs. a nice house there.  I realize that the locals that are retired there might not like it but it seems like there ARE going to be some projects coming on board.

 

 

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The Radisson Blu is under construction.  There's your high end hotel though the location doesn't excite me much.  Alto Lago, if it actually happens, will front on the carretera, also not a very exciting prospect IMO.  Mufflers down here, particularly with the truckers, are considered to be an option.  The high rise under construction fronting the lake is apparently in violation of the La Floresta covenants and has been stopped, at least temporarily.  That would probably be your best option for a high end property and location if it happens. 

Most of these new developments don't seem to have the best locations, that other new one under construction next to Coca Cola coming to mind.  

By comparison to a place like PV, this area still doesn't have a lot of that type of development though it is attracting more of the "bigger" money.  You are right that the higher end market is focused on private homes.  Not terribly hard to drop upwards of a million on one of those and there are many choices in the half million range.  Remember it is not terribly expensive by comparison to NOB to have all the maintenance, cleaning and grounds staff such a place requires.

In Mexico there are basically no consumer protections for real estate and there have been many many condo scams and failures in various locations around the country.  Be very wary of putting money up front for one of these projects with nothing more than a glittery web site.

There was a very nice and large penthouse unit for sale in the building next to the Radisson development.  Don't know if this is what you are looking for but you might want to check it out.

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ER, as you note, there is certainly a unfilled, niche demand for luxury accommodations here. You mentioned the Rad Blue project, and that property is under construction in El Dorado, even though I believe there is some contention whether a hotel is permitted there. La Reserva was built to attract wealthy Tapatios, and its club has amenities like none other lakeside. The first phase of La Reserva is complete, and the club is (I am told) not taking new members. No word on when the second phase will begin construction. As others have mentioned, there is a lot of skepticism here because so many projects get announced with great fanfare and never materialize. The one you mention is smaller in scope, has a great location (just around the corner from the fish restaurants), and would be unique. If you do your homework on the builder and developed and they check out, I bet it would be an excellent investment.

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8 hours ago, earlyretirement said:

Thanks ComputerGuy for your thoughts.  Actually there ARE several luxurious homes because I've been at parties and events at some.  A few of my friends have really nice properties there but I don't want a private house as I think security is much better in a building vs. a home.

You are right, there certainly are some high-end homes here. Most definitely... I've been in a number of them in my role as computer repair person.

What's happening, though, with places like the Alto Lago is just a serious effort to drive up prices to unreasonable levels in areas that can't really sustain even the building of such monstrosities. That particular area has seen heavy, over-dense construction in recent years. No one is quite sure if licenses were ever legal, what bribes were paid to get it done, etc, but for sure the local residents complained long and hard about a total lack of infrastructure to support such construction. Not to mention the safety issues. And in that area, just recently (July this year), the warnings proved true: a storm almost destroyed a whole housing area, causing the mountain to loosen its grip. So I'm thinking any more major construction there, even if approved (by whatever means), is going to end in disaster.pg1c.JPG

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this whole area has faults. Multi story buildings are a disaster waiting to happen. Developers don't care. Has the monstrosity on the libramento even sold out after all these years of sitting half finished. I've heard they turned time share, UG !

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1 hour ago, ComputerGuy said:

I'm reminded that this place appears to be up the mountain from the restaurants at the curves going into San Juan, and has already been started. Let's see how far it gets.

Yes, you can see the exact location on their website. They have a Google Map.   I prefer up more towards La Reserva.  A few friends have homes near there. This appears 5 minutes driving down the road.   The project will definitely go through and I heard they have all their permits and the developer has done many big hotel projects and won awards.   All the people involved with the project sound well respected.

Definitely I get what you're saying but at the same time, I own real estate all over the world.  And many times I buy early on when the area isn't built up or improved and over the course of 20 years I've done extremely well just getting in early before the higher end projects go up and the areas gentrify or become nicer.    I've done it in many countries in South America.

 

On the Alto Lago project I believe they already broke around but they are telling investors the actual construction won't start until January 2019 and it will take 18 months.  I'm going to plan a trip there to see the exact location.   

2 hours ago, NoVaDamer said:

ER, as you note, there is certainly a unfilled, niche demand for luxury accommodations here. You mentioned the Rad Blue project, and that property is under construction in El Dorado, even though I believe there is some contention whether a hotel is permitted there. La Reserva was built to attract wealthy Tapatios, and its club has amenities like none other lakeside. The first phase of La Reserva is complete, and the club is (I am told) not taking new members. No word on when the second phase will begin construction. As others have mentioned, there is a lot of skepticism here because so many projects get announced with great fanfare and never materialize. The one you mention is smaller in scope, has a great location (just around the corner from the fish restaurants), and would be unique. If you do your homework on the builder and developed and they check out, I bet it would be an excellent investment.

Thanks for that helpful information NoVaDamer.   Yes, the La Reserva was a great property and grounds.   My friend has his boat docked/stored there and everyone is friendly.   The pool area is great in front of the Lake.  The rooms are all renovated but just not that high end and I don't think it was all that cheap.  I think I paid $150 US equivalent per room and I had to rent a few rooms for my family.   

But I'm interested in Alto Lago for the reasons you mentioned.  Location seems pretty good, totally unobstructed view will be great.   Builder has a great reputation and done many big projects in Mexico.  I just don't think long term this would be a bad investment. Plus I know I can rent it out for high $ per night if it's set up higher end.   Plus, I like that the building is tastefully done.   It's not a "monstrosity" as others mentioned they don't want to see. 

3 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

The Radisson Blu is under construction.  There's your high end hotel though the location doesn't excite me much.  Alto Lago, if it actually happens, will front on the carretera, also not a very exciting prospect IMO.  Mufflers down here, particularly with the truckers, are considered to be an option.  The high rise under construction fronting the lake is apparently in violation of the La Floresta covenants and has been stopped, at least temporarily.  That would probably be your best option for a high end property and location if it happens. 

Most of these new developments don't seem to have the best locations, that other new one under construction next to Coca Cola coming to mind.  

By comparison to a place like PV, this area still doesn't have a lot of that type of development though it is attracting more of the "bigger" money.  You are right that the higher end market is focused on private homes.  Not terribly hard to drop upwards of a million on one of those and there are many choices in the half million range.  Remember it is not terribly expensive by comparison to NOB to have all the maintenance, cleaning and grounds staff such a place requires.

In Mexico there are basically no consumer protections for real estate and there have been many many condo scams and failures in various locations around the country.  Be very wary of putting money up front for one of these projects with nothing more than a glittery web site.

There was a very nice and large penthouse unit for sale in the building next to the Radisson development.  Don't know if this is what you are looking for but you might want to check it out.

I wouldn't call Radisson Blu a luxury brand.   They are mostly in Europe and when I've stayed in them they are typically a 3.5 to 4 stars at best hotel. Nice but nothing special or unique.  I'm not sure what kind of prices they are going to charge per night.  But I've been sent many of those types of things to invest in and I don't like hotel rooms as an investment vs. having a totally residential property.   The wear and tear on a hotel room is much higher vs. a high end luxury rental based on my experience of 20 years renting out high end properties.    

The investment group for the Radisson sent me the prices and it looks like they only have sold 9 units.  I'm not sure how long they have been building it.   The cheapest room was about 59.37 sq. meters and they were asking 2.6 million pesos.  The biggest room was 3 bedrooms    250.78 sq. meters and they were asking just over 11 million pesos.   

Yes, I'm aware of scams so you don't need to warn me about that.   As mentioned, I've purchased many many properties all over South America so understand how that goes.  Actually Mexico is head and shoulders more organized vs. many countries in South America where I've purchased where you literally have to shove a pile of $100 bills CASH on the table to the seller....

Thanks everyone for your great information.

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3 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

T  The high rise under construction fronting the lake is apparently in violation of the La Floresta covenants and has been stopped, at least temporarily.  That would probably be your best option for a high end property and location if it happens. 

 

Hi Mainecoons.   I was a bit unclear.  Were you referring to Alto Lago when you said it's in violation of the "La Floresta covenants"?   Or were you referring to another property?   Also, I know I can google it but can you explain what the La Floresta covenants actually state?  I remember reading end of 2016 about a high-rise that was stopped.   I assume you're referring to that project.   I don't want to buy in any clouded/controversial project and that's why I'm interested in this one.   

Again, it looks tastefully done.  Only has 5 floors total so they are respectful of the locals and also would drastically improve the area.  In my experience, once one project is successful then that spurs other higher end development.

 

 

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Alto Lago project is in San Juan Cosala across the hwy just west of La Iguana de Piedra. Signs first went up late last year, then all fell down. Signs back up again about 6 weeks ago. he site is a failed housing project named Linda Vista where one shell was build but they never completed a house.

As always it remains to be seen if anything happens. 

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23 minutes ago, earlyretirement said:

Hi Mainecoons.   I was a bit unclear.  Were you referring to Alto Lago when you said it's in violation of the "La Floresta covenants"?   Or were you referring to another property?   Also, I know I can google it but can you explain what the La Floresta covenants actually state?  I remember reading end of 2016 about a high-rise that was stopped.   I assume you're referring to that project.   I don't want to buy in any clouded/controversial project and that's why I'm interested in this one.   

Again, it looks tastefully done.  Only has 5 floors total so they are respectful of the locals and also would drastically improve the area.  In my experience, once one project is successful then that spurs other higher end development.

 

 

Seems like many of the real estate projects in the Ajijic area had "clouded/controversial" nature such El Dorado where Radisson Blue is being constructed ,   Chulavista Norte was a nightmare in early stages for homeowners (ejido land claims.)...but on the end,  developers just muddled through. 

The developers of these places are not generally respected , except by the people who got their pockets filled with bribes.

I agree with Maincoons that La Floresta (on the lake) would be the most desirable area by far. That is where the heart of lakeside is. That development has a huge opposition but  one day it will come.

I would not rent a luxury condo by fish restaurants in San Juan Cosala. Especially not for a short term.  There was going to be a development in that area which never happened . It was advertised for years. If someone wants to build a "luxury" do it where "luxury" already exists...like on the hill in Las Salvias (and close to the action) and not in middle of nowhere. I do not consider La Reserva "luxury" development. On the contrary. Just another suburb community.

Of course (as always) this is just mine personal view.

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3 hours ago, traderspoc said:

real estate agents locally have  mentioned they will not get involved in  a pre sale. only when is fully built will they get involved.

 

 the risk is two high they could go bankrupt

Yeah, pretty much anywhere in Latin America there is risk on new constructions.  I've purchased many high rises in South America where it was as late as 2 years to when they said it will be done.  So there is always risk even if they finish.   I've NEVER seen anything finish on time except the property that I just purchased in Guadalajara but my friend was the developer and my unit was finished on time.   It was interesting that they even had a penalty clause in the contract that they would pay me if it wasn't finished on time.

I still have to go here and see the actual site.  But what I liked about this project was that there were so many reputable names behind the project.  I've developed buildings before and what I appreciated about this particular project was that it seems to sit adjacent to the side of the cliff so it's not obstructing anyone else's view either.  It looks to be neatly tucked into the hill side.

I don't see any problems with flooding/foundation as it seems to be sitting on an elevated platform of rock. I will go here in a few weeks and visit it.  And I wasn't trying to imply that La Reserva was some luxury property.  I was just saying that someone else told me that it was nice and one of the best places in the area to rent plus it was near their house.   It was ok but far from luxurious property, IMHO.  But the location didn't get any better right in front of the lake.

Sure, the risk is less the closer you get to being done but also the price is always much higher.  I've never ever invested in a project early on where the value wasn't significantly more when it was finished.  But I guess the argument some of you are trying to make is that the project will never finish.  It's hard to imagine a scenario where you have this calibre of developer that doesn't finish as there would be too much risk to their reputation if they didn't finish.  Same thing with Sotheby's which is a premium luxury realtor that has a great reputation.   In my experience, when you have both of these scenarios the projects finish.

The location while not in the heart of the best area, seems to me to be close enough to things yet while having privacy as well.   In all the times I've been to Chapala I've had to have a car anyway. Nothing is within walking distance and I've always had to have a car.   

 

 

 

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Dear Earlyretirement,

 

Do you mean like the Trump properties?  We lived in Mazatlan when some friends of our were sold the fourth floor of a  three story property.  Be very careful before putting donw real money on a property that doesn't exist yet.  My 2c.

Best wishes,

N&H

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I think anyone interested in the Alto Lago location should drive through the west end of the restaurant row between 7 and 8 pm, after one of the restaurants has opened it's holding tank, and see if you like the smell of the raw sewage.  Not exactly a luxury location, in my opinion.  We drive through it often coming back from dinner in Ajijic and we've learned to hold our breath.

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earlyretirement, in your original post, you asked for people's opinions, and yet you seem to have already made up your mind about this investment.  The ones that have given you advice have been here for many years, and they know how things work down here.  Also, did you look at the photo that ComputerGuy posted, showing the mudslide that happened this summer, and the damage it caused.  I believe there were 26 or 27 homes damaged, some beyond repair.  You may want to do more in-depth research about the projects that have failed, or were just scams to raise money from investors, and then disappear.  Also, research the amount of flooding that happens in that area, and the unstable ground.  I have a friend who has a beautiful home in the Racquet Club that has shifted and has major cracks in the foundation.  He has spent a fortune trying to stabilize the home so that it won't keep shifting and sinking.

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4 hours ago, d-d said:

I think anyone interested in the Alto Lago location should drive through the west end of the restaurant row between 7 and 8 pm, after one of the restaurants has opened it's holding tank, and see if you like the smell of the raw sewage.  Not exactly a luxury location, in my opinion.  We drive through it often coming back from dinner in Ajijic and we've learned to hold our breath.

This is the kind of input I was looking for.  I'll go there between this time and see how it is.  Thanks for sharing this information. 

 

1 hour ago, suegarn said:

earlyretirement, in your original post, you asked for people's opinions, and yet you seem to have already made up your mind about this investment.  The ones that have given you advice have been here for many years, and they know how things work down here.  Also, did you look at the photo that ComputerGuy posted, showing the mudslide that happened this summer, and the damage it caused.  I believe there were 26 or 27 homes damaged, some beyond repair.  You may want to do more in-depth research about the projects that have failed, or were just scams to raise money from investors, and then disappear.  Also, research the amount of flooding that happens in that area, and the unstable ground.  I have a friend who has a beautiful home in the Racquet Club that has shifted and has major cracks in the foundation.  He has spent a fortune trying to stabilize the home so that it won't keep shifting and sinking.

 

No, I haven't made up my mind.  As mentioned, I'm going to go there and see this specific area.  Yes, I'm reading input but also many of you saying things like "don't buy something that isn't built" I've heard that kind of advice for the past 20 years and if I didn't invest in properties in various areas early then I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities (and money).   

 

Just as I am open to advice I don't just want to read people that write, "don't do it" without taking the time to research the people/companies involved in the project.  It seems to be from doing some due diligence that past projects didn't have high calibre of people or companies involved with the project or weren't well financed.  It definitely makes a difference on a project.

 

58 minutes ago, solajijic said:

This is a sales advertisement.

 

 

No one who does what this persons says they do is on here asking opinions on anything.  

 

Yes, I certainly am real and NO I'm not involved with any of the people involved in the project. I'm very genuine and  I'm seriously thinking of investing in the project.  I have no objective here other than to get information.   I met a few ex-pats there in Chapala on various visits including a nice gentleman named Alex that owns a pasta restaurant there in town (originally from Switzerland).  If anyone knows him, I'm sure he can vouch for me.  We have mutual friends and he has been in the building where I bought in Guadalajara.  I've met several ex-pats and they all knew him.  I met his very nice wife as well from Canada.  Great people.

 

Also, for all you local experts.  If you don't think this is a good property what building would you recommend if someone wanted a high end, modern and newly constructed condo that overlooks the Lake with nice amenities (gym, pool, restaurant/bar)??  I'm not interested in a single family home or a property located in an actual hotel. Thanks in advance.

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Yes, lets build and build!   and make money! The boomers are coming and more Mexicans come on the weekends.  AND let us forget about infrastructure such as  water, sewage , even traffic lights that are not replaced until there is a horrible accident. The streets have double basketball pot holes. You may not see them because they are not on luxury lane. The trip from Chapala to the west end takes forever.  Figure out  how long it is from La Christina to Hildago and then see how much time it takes to travel it..  So, am I in favor of building and more building? No, not without guareented changes to accommodate more building.  After you made your investment money, did you ever go back and if the area could actually support it?   People buy here and then learn about places where water has to be delivered. Even better the 4 way at Pronza restaurant  had one functioning traffic light for how many weeks???

People have different definitions when they call this place paradise, weather usually being number one. But I don't think to many will say I can buy or rent a luxury place to live. 

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11 hours ago, d-d said:

I think anyone interested in the Alto Lago location should drive through the west end of the restaurant row between 7 and 8 pm, after one of the restaurants has opened it's holding tank, and see if you like the smell of the raw sewage.  Not exactly a luxury location, in my opinion.  We drive through it often coming back from dinner in Ajijic and we've learned to hold our breath.

Interesting. I have never heard of that before. Where are the holding tanks emptied to?

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If you don't think this is a good property what building would you recommend if someone wanted a high end, modern and newly constructed condo that overlooks the Lake with nice amenities (gym, pool, restaurant/bar)??

I think what we are trying to tell you is there really is nothing that fits this criteria locally at this time.  The closest thing that comes to it, and the construction has been stopped by legal action that will drag on for years, is that partially completed project on the shores of the lake in La Floresta.  I'm a real estate investor as well and I wouldn't touch that San Juan project with a ten foot pole given the poor location.  Frankly, Radisson Blu or the building next door aren't much better IMO.  Anyone who lives in either is going to get to listen to the trucks without mufflers using their jake brakes quite regularly.  

You may or may not be aware Zapopan has the fastest rate of real estate appreciation in Mexico, as much as 15 percent in the good areas.  We recently bought an apartment there both as a place to house students from Oaxaca we sponsor and also as a good investment.  As you have invested there, I assume you are aware of this as well.  However you should also be aware there is a serious glut of high end high rise property there, particularly in the Andares area.  It is going to take some time to absorb that.  Right now, a lot of those new buildings are empty or nearly so.

Well located single family is the right investment for lakeside for now and into the foreseeable future.  Lakeside's biggest problem as NewJersey alluded to is infrastructure and this is exacerbated by very bad, even by Mexico standards, local government.  Let me assure you the trashiness, potholed streets and general lack of maintenance you see in Ajijic and everywhere in this municipio outside of Chapala is not normal for Mexico as you would see with even a modest level of travel in Jalisco and around the country.  I tell people to visit Mazamitla and Tapalpa to see towns that cope well with heavy tourism and I could suggest a dozen more examples just in Jalisco.

A reform party has taken control at both the state and local level and they seem aware of the failings, so we will see if there is any change for the better.  NewJersey is right, this area is not coping well with the rapid growth and all of the infrastructure, particularly roads, has deteriorated badly in the last 10 years.  It hasn't appeared to dampen the enthusiasm to live or visit here yet, but at some point without major improvement in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure I would expect it would.  Retirement "paradises" are a very competitive part of the real estate market and when things reach the point the bad publicity starts and proliferates, the perception of attractiveness of an area can change overnight.  Acapulco comes to mind as a good example.

 

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