Sunday, May 19, 2013

Loreto Bay Retrospective 2012 - 2013

By definition, the subject of this Blog is about my life here in Loreto (hence the name) and so the time has come to finish this season’s series of posts, as I prepare to leave my home here in the Baja and embark on my summer schedule of travel in my “home away from home”, my Travel Trailer which has been stored for the winter just north of the US border.

Looking back over the past 8 months, in many ways this has been the best winter I have spent here in Loreto since I first purchased the “chalk on sand” which was to become my home here almost 10 years ago.  During that time I have watched the completion of over 600 homes, in spite of the precarious Real Estate market throughout North America, from which the original Developer of Loreto Bay was an early casualty.  What followed were several dark years of uncertainty when the future of our development very much hung in the balance. 

One of the early positive steps was the decision by about 120 Homeowners with unfinished homes in the second phase of the project to proceed with completing their homes independently, at a higher cost than had been originally quoted by the now defunct Developer.  This added about twenty percent to the then current total of finished homes and was a big vote of confidence in the future of the community.  The next significant event was the arrival of Homex, a large Mexican residential construction company that purchased most of the remaining assets of the original Developer and the ensuing announcement of their plans to build a new project, projected to be 800 homes adjacent to Loreto Bay.

Then a little over two years ago the members of our Home Owners Association voted almost unanimously in favor of an infrastructure completion program, a two year project to finish important aspects of the development that had been left incomplete since the departure of the original Developer.  This was a huge vote of confidence by the community in the completion of the vision that we had bought into in the first place.  It includes some important maintenance and upgrades to essential services as well as adding two Community Pools to the original one, completing flagstone paving along half of the Paseo and adding street lighting along with even more extensive landscaping of common areas.

This entire two year completion program, which is due to be finished by the end of this year, is on schedule and under the $2 million dollar budget, which has been collected through a special assessment to our monthly HOA fees, and represents a tangible investment by the Homeowners in the future of their Community.  But in addition to the “bricks and mortar” that this project represents, in my mind it will be viewed in the future as an even more important step forward in the history of Loreto Bay – the point that we as Homeowners fully realized that we were responsible for ourselves and the community where we had purchased homes, and we were no longer dependent on a “Developer Daddy” to take care of us!

As those of you who have been following these posts over the past winter know, this Season has had other highlights – many of which I have written about here – from the lavish Food and Wine Festival to impromptu get-togethers for a pot-luck dinner.  Since, in the day, Loreto Bay was originally marketed mainly to pre-retirement Baby Boomers, many of those Homeowners still have not retired yet, although every season there are more people spending more time here as they finally reach their “golden years” and are able to join their friends and neighbors here for more than a few stolen weeks out of a busy working year.

As more Homeowners reach retirement and can spend months here instead of weeks, the Community grows and becomes more vibrant and diverse as the mosaic of their interests and passions are added to those who are already here to make this an increasingly colorful and dynamic place.  With the promised increase in airline access to Loreto starting in November, we anticipate that it will become easier to book more convenient flights here next winter, than it has been in over four years.  The significance of this improved access is that in recent years most of the available seats have been booked far in advance by residents in Loreto Bay and the surrounding area, leaving few seats available for Visitors to come to Loreto for the first time, if they did not plan sufficiently far ahead.

With increased tourism will come a much needed improvement in business for the Hotels, Restaurants and other services in the town of Loreto and that will have a major impact on employment and prosperity in and around Loreto.  Incidentally, it also follows that this anticipated increase of Visitors to Loreto will also have a “trickle down” affect on the Real Estate business in Loreto generally and Loreto Bay specifically, as an increasing number of people will be introduced to the special nature of this beautiful place and choose to make it where they will find their retirement home.

As I write this, another important step in the progress of Loreto Bay is about to begin.  Work should restart this summer on the completion of the two Posada buildings that have been sitting unfinished near the center of the Community for over 4 years.  With two main floors of commercial space and a total of 44 condo apartments, most of which were sold prior to the start of construction, the eventual completion of these two four storey buildings will be another landmark in the evolution of Loreto Bay and transform what has been an eyesore for years into a focal point, while adding another 10% to the number of homes in the Founders Neighborhood.

So as I wind down the best Season so far, here in Loreto Bay, and look forward with cautious optimism to next season and an increasingly thriving community within a resurging town, I am reminded of a somewhat dark comment I have used here in recent years; “the difference between pioneers and settlers is the arrows sticking in their backs”!  Having lived here since the early days of the development, and having been involved in the Real Estate market for most of those years, I have seen an amazing transition from the early “heady” days when the vision began, through the uncertainty about the future, to the slow but steady progress back from the brink, and now the air of optimism and growing enthusiasm about what lies ahead!

Taking a moment at the end of another Season to reflect on where we have come from and appreciate where we are heading – that is certainly one of the most important parts of “Living Loreto”!

P.S. In conclusion for this season, I would like to express my sincere thanks for the continued and growing support by you, the Readers of this Blog.  Since the modest beginnings near the end of 2008, my Blog has reached a loyal following that literally reaches around the world, and this season has been the most successful so far, based on the number of hits each week. 

While I sometimes feel the burden of obligation to come up with another topic for my weekly posting, once I actually begin the writing process, this has become one of my favorite pastimes over the past five years and I have you to thank for helping me learn what writing skills I have developed over that time.  Sometime this summer Living Loreto will pass the 100,000 hit level (yes, people continue to read these pages even when I am not posting new material) and while I am looking forward to a hiatus from writing over the summer, I pledge to resume these jottings again in the Fall when I return again to “Living Loreto”!