Mr. Jaussi's company joins Canadian based real estate brokerage, Russell Realty of Windsor, Ontario, that established an office in Granada, Nicaragua in 2012 to better serve its English speaking retirees relocating to Central America. <a href="http://www.russellrealty.ca">Russell Realty</a> is the lead real estate brokerage tasked with marketing the development. Other real estate agents and brokers will be invited to participate in the marketing, and commissions are guaranteed.
Also on the team is local architectural designer and project manager Jessica Cespedes, of BJC Architects. Ms Cespedes will be providing assistance with design modifications that may be requested by home purchasers, and assuring Timberhawk Inc. is kept fully updated of any such changes in real time.
Business partners Kenneth Cole, of Gettysburg, PA, and William Tefel, of Managua, Nicaragua, have provided lots to build on within their new Brisa del Lago retirement village, a gated community located right on the shore of Lake Nicaragua, in Granada.
The final member of the team is Canadian, business consultant Leonard Bowcott. Operating as <a href="http://www.nicainvestments.com">NICA Investments</a>. It was Mr. Bowcott who envisioned the project and was instrumental in bringing the international team together.
Mr. Bowcott describes the project, its goals, and what motivated such a project to be undertaken...
“Nicaragua is one of the safest counties in all of Central America, and is also one of the most affordable. As such, it's becoming a popular retirement destination. The majority of retirees moving to Nicaragua are American citizens, and seek homes with American standards of construction and built-in amenities.
Previously the demand was met by importing whatever components were needed and incorporating them into the contruction. There's nothing wrong with doing so, but delays caused by late shipment or prolonged customs processing held up construction. Using kit homes shipped in containers means all of the materials, fixtures and componets needed to build the home are at hand. By the time the container arrives the foundation will be ready, and the dwelling can be completed in a matter of days. This is preferable to saving a few dollars by trying to source everything possible locally, only to have a project stalled because an appliance or design feature that has to be imported is late arriving.
Another consideration for using kit homes relates to a soon to commence economic boom for Nicaragua. A Chinese company will be building a new inter-ocean canal through Nicaragua that is capable of providing passage for wider, deeper keel cargo vessels than the Panama Canal can accommodate, even after completion of the current widening project. The project will provide tens of thousands of jobs and, according to the Nicaraguan government, lift over 400,000 people out of poverty. Wonderful news, but a potential hurdle for anyone involved in small scale contruction. Basically, the canal is likely to overwhelm the available supplies of construction materials. Through the use of kit homes, housing demands for construction materials would be met simply by unloading a container... a complete house in a box so to speak.
The current project involving Timberhawk Inc. homes will have kit homes built alongside houses constructed using conventional building techniques. Chris Jaussi will travel to Nicaragua to train local construction workers to assemble his company's kit homes. Once crews are trained, the building of both kit homes and conventionally constructed houses will provide a perfect enviornment for comparing a host of factors vital to determining the viability of using kit homes to fill the demand for housing in Central America.”
Mr. Bowcott indicated that the choice of a USA based kit home manufacturer over a Canadian firm was in part logistical, and a marketing reality. The majority of people relocating to Nicaraga to retire are American. It's felt that an American kit home builder would be more tuned into the buyers' wants and desires.
When asked why Timberhawk Inc. was invited to join the project, Mr Bowcott said the Timberhawk product line is extensive, and includes models very similar to the floorplans that were already planned to be built using traditional building methods. Also, Timberhawk's CEO, Chris Jaussi, indicated interest in the project immediately upon hearing about it. Since all parties concerned want to fast track the project, working with a CEO willing to act quickly was seen as a good fit.
The total number of homes to be built at Brisa del Lago is 24. At least 8 of those homes will be kit homes to provide a good base for conventional vs kit home comparision. It is planned to build a showhome using one of the Timberhawk kit homes, in which will be displayed all of the alternative design components, such as roof tiles, floor tiles, wall coverings, doors, counter tops, bathroom fixtures, and so on.
What happens if kit homes are found lacking compared to conventional construction?
The future of kit home use in Central America will not be abandoned if this initial test is inconclusive or weighs against importation. Mr Bowcott explained that the Brisa del Lago village is comprised of smaller, affordable retirement homes. As in the USA, where kit homes run the gambit from 400sf cabins to three story, luxury homes, the product will be offered in many variations. The knowledge and experience gained through the current project will be applied to further projects comprised of differently prices homes that will be located in different regions of Central America. It is expected that unique niche markets for kit homes within a specific price range will be identified, and those markets will become the focus going forward.