Celebrity Watch: Panama Edition

18 06 2007

We received this post today from ecorazzi.com. Urban Core International received a mention for the amazing response to our new LEED certified building in Bella Vista.

The small but fast-growing country of Panama has been buzzing in recent months over the many celebrities visiting for real estate investment and project inquiries. It all began with none other than the traveling wonders, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Last December the duo visited the Panama Canal and had a private tour of Frank Gehry’s Biodiversity Museum, a highly anticipated project of the ecological history and development of Panama, set to open in 2008. According to spanish-language newspaper “Panama America” (and translated through the Associated Press,) Pitt and Jolie “were considering investing in the $56 million project and buying land in Panama.” No adoptions occurred, however.

Next came reports of Mel Gibson making the rounds. According to the Panama Tourism Bureau (headed by actor Rúben Blades), Gibson “suggested his next project should be a remake of the 1950 film noir Panic in the Streets. Gibson was also entertained in the lush rainforest area of Boquete by Panamanian real estate developer and blogger Sam Taliaferro. According to Taliaferro, Gibson “had come on a whirlwind tour to see as much of Panama as possible, looking at real estate investments.” He’s also apparently terrible at Texas Hold’em.

The name dropping continues in the Pedasi/Azuero Peninsula area of Panama, known for incredible fishing and surfing. Apparently, it has also attracted “the likes of Mick Jagger, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Eddie Murphy and others,” according to Ocean Legacy, a Panamanian real estate company specializing in the area. “The allure of Pedasi comes from the sheer awe of pristine natural beauty and the simplicity of living in a small fishing village,” they continue. Mick Jagger and a small fishing village? Tourism is good for any area, but c’mon, have you seen his yacht?

In the chic neighborhood of Bella Vista in Panama City, green builder Urban Core International is also rumored to have given info to celebrity buyers. Urban Core is planning the first LEED certified sustainable building in Panama. Will celebrities follow suit and be considerate of the delicate balance of man and earth? Or, will they build megahomes and bring insane amounts of paparazzi? We’ll be keeping a close eye on this little firecracker of a country!

Article written by: Paper Pusher 





Paises que dan paso al frente

12 06 2007

Al presente, en Panama existe el desarrollo del primer edificio verde en ofrecer la integracion de los principal expuestos por el programa LEED.

La estructura ubicara a unas cuadras de la Avenida Balboa y el Parque Urraca.
Josef Newman, socio de la firma constructura de dicho proyecto, al momento de inaugurarlo, dijo que “en
soluciones innovadoras a los complejos problemas de infraestructura y las complicaciones que se puedan
en el futuro, es una necesidad cuando se esta desarrollando un proyecto.

Las practicas de Construccion d Verdes ayudaran a la Ciudad de Panama a incrementar su crecimiento y a estar a la altura de paises del mundo”. Espana posee ya su Consejo de Construccion Verde, institucion sin fines de lucro que promueve el desarro edificios rentables y sostenibles en la industria de la construccion. El mismo se rige incluso por la certifica En partes de prensa, el presidente del Consejo, Aurelio Ramirez, senalo que la edificacion sostenible es absolutamente rentable, pues “en diez anos, solo en ahorro de energia se cubren los costos que se invirtie

La edificacion sostenible es un proceso “multiescalar”, segun Ramirez, ya que comienza en la construccion
edificio en un barrio, se extiende a la ciudad, al ambito regional y al estatal. En este proceso se produce “una cooperacion e integracion entre el sector publico y el privado, se foment innovacion, ademas de contribuir a cumplir con (el protocolo de) Kioto”, puntualizo Ramirez.

El Presidente del Consejo de Construccion Verde de Espana cito como ejemplo de emplazamiento sosten
ciudad olimpica de Sydney. En esta se ha recuperado un vertedero industrial que se ha destinado a la con
de viviendas ecologicas y espacios verdes y de recreo. El proyecto incluye los electrodomesticos eficientes
hogares y el filtrado y limpieza de aguas grises. “En este lugar el ahorro de energia alcanza 50%” en com
con un barrio comun, explico.

Para Torres Diaz, es logico que los profesionales relacionados con la industria deben reunirse para acorda
ciertos modelos de LEED a nuestro clima y realidad geografica, asunto que no impediria el desarrollo del

Urban Core in Adendi (adendi.com) Nuevo Dia





Basis Retains Urban Core as Owner’s Rep

12 06 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Urban Core International, S.A. 011.507.399.9901, info@urbancoreintl.com

June 12, 2007, Panamá City, Panamá: Urban Core International, S.A. announced today that it has been retained by BASIS International to provide owner’s representation and development services for two ocean-front developments in Panamá.

“BASIS has found amazing and unique properties, to which they have a vision to develop in an environmentally sensitive fashion by implementing sustainability and New Urban principles and practices in every aspect of their projects,” said Aaron Newman, Managing Partner for Urban Core International. “We are extremely excited to work with BASIS, a company that shares our vision and unwavering dedication to New Urbanism and green building,” Newman continued.

“We are looking to the future by investing and developing in socially responsible projects throughout Panamá,” said Brian Wagner, CEO of BASIS International. “Our belief is that there is an extremely large market of buyers who would prefer that their next property investment be conscious of social and environmental impacts that will provide significant value to their investment,” Wagner continued.

“Urban Core has the experience and resources to assist us in launching sustainable projects, critical to achieve energy efficiency and to lower operational costs,” said Jonathan Bernstein, Partner and CFO of BASIS International.

About Urban Core:
Urban Core International, S.A. is focused on the development of boutique residential and commercial property in and around Urban Cores. Our mission is two fold; to develop sustainable, quality projects with a focus on strength through design and collaboration, and to provide project owners whom we represent with unparalleled project management services through hard work, collaboration, discipline and attention to detail.

At Urban Core, we believe that a building is more than simply the sum of its parts. It is a well-founded idea, one that has been reviewed from all angles, by all disciplines involved in the project. It is a home, and a part of a larger community that it impacts. Our goal is to make sure our buildings are not only successful projects, but are constructed in a manner that contributes to the community, while meeting the needs of the buildings owners and future occupants. Our work is guided by our values, which enable to ensure a project’s success.

http://www.urbancoreintl.com [Web Site]

https://urbancore.wordpress.com [Blog]

http://podcast.urbancoreintl.com [Podcasts]

About BASIS:
BASIS International brings environmental and social accountability to real estate development. Our mission is to specialize in and offer highly sought-after, profitable investment and property ownership options that leverage the latest “green” technologies to be self-sustainable and to significantly reduce utility costs.

Working with local partners, BASIS brings innovative planning and creativity in designs centering on profit maximization while contributing and distributing benefits widely into local communities — in employment, education, health and business development. This social and profit-driven mandate attracts a broad range of public and private financial partners in a win-win strategy to achieve a unique return on investment (ROI) and social accountability.

Basis Retains Urban Core as Owner’s Rep





El nuevo de la plaza

17 04 2007

El nuevo de la plaza

Está dispuesto a tomar riesgos y enfrentar cambios. A sus 29 años, Aaron Newman quiere adueñarse del concepto de “construcciones verdes” en Panamá

Yolanda Sandoval
ysandoval@prensa.com

Aaron Newman es un hombre que no le teme a los cambios radicales. A finales de la década de 1990 abandonó Nueva York para vivir en Miami, y dejó el negocio de la publicidad por el de bienes raíces.

Con estas referencias no era nada raro que en esa búsqueda de más retos le diera a su vida un giro de 180 grados y su brújula apuntara hacia un pequeño país latinoamericano.

Su empresa, Urban Core International, se había identificado en Estados Unidos como una promotora de proyectos residenciales tipo boutique, y Panamá, de acuerdo con su filosofía del negocio, era el “paraíso” de las oportunidades.

“El mercado de bienes raíces en Estados Unidos estaba debilitado, mientras que en Panamá el negocio se veía cada día más fortalecido”, afirma.

Llegó al país hace nueve meses y dice que a diferencia de algunos especuladores, ha venido a quedarse. “Echaré raíces. No pretendo ganar dinero e irme”.

Su decisión de instalarse en el país estuvo respaldada por el crecimiento económico, las construcciones de talla mundial que anuncian que algo bueno tiene la ciudad, el proyecto de ampliación del Canal en ciernes y la consolidación y presencia de los bancos más importantes del mundo.

Hay sobradas ventajas para su negocio, pero también mucha competencia, sobre todo para alguien que aunque hizo un nombre en Palm Beach, Boca Ratón y Fort Lauderdale, localmente es casi desconocido.

La propuesta de Newman es

desarrollar proyectos sostenibles y proporcionarle a los dueños de estos proyectos un servicio de administración.

Hace dos meses anunció que se encuentra en las primeras etapas del desarrollo del primer edificio verde de la ciudad de Panamá, en el corregimiento de Bella Vista. Estaría localizado a unas cuadras de la avenida Balboa y el Parque Urracá.

Se conoce que el edificio sería el primero en ofrecer la integración de los principios expuestos por el programa LEED del Consejo de Edificios Verdes de Estados Unidos, un estándar reconocido para el diseño sostenible. Sin embargo, faltan los permisos reglamentarios de construcción, lo que impide que Newman hable con soltura del proyecto.

Como fundador y socio administrativo de Urban Core International, ha estado involucrado en la adquisición de tierras y asesoría para la urbanización de zonas especiales en Estados Unidos. Uno de sus desafíos será introducir el concepto de “construcciones verdes”, con el que localmente estamos poco familiarizados.

Se trata de edificios que causan el menor uso posible de energía no renovable, producen menos contaminación y residuos y, por ende resultan más cómodos, saludables y seguros para las personas que viven y trabajan en ellos.

El tema es que estas edificaciones, aunque a la larga generan ahorro de energía para sus habitantes y mejor calidad de vida, salen algo más caras que las construcciones tradicionales.

Es la primera vez que su empresa promueve un edificio con estas características, pero Newman afirma que ha hecho consultorías para de-sarrolladores que ponen en práctica el mismo modelo de ingeniería.

Su experiencia incluye el cargo de secretario del distrito de Desarrollo Comunitario de Midtown, Miami, en donde ayudó a la ejecución y

desarrollo de proyectos. Adicionalmente estuvo en el comité consultor de la ciudad de West Palm Beach, donde participó en el establecimiento de planes de revitalización de la ciudad a largo plazo.

“Nuestra meta es que nuestros edificios contribuyan positivamente a la comunidad. Al mismo tiempo deben cumplir con las necesidades de los dueños de edificios y ocupantes futuros”, subraya.

Antes de entrar en el negocio de bienes raíces, Newman fundó y sirvió como principal administrativo de WaxDigital, Inc., una firma de mercadeo y consultoría de publicidad localizada en Nueva York. De esa etapa de su vida quedan buenos recuerdos. En WaxDigital formó numerosas relaciones con compañías de Fortune 500 y Fortune 1000.

Ahora su reto será probar que vale la pena pagar por un apartamento amigable con el medio ambiente. Su intuición le indica que en Panamá encontrará clientes.

Perfil

Trayectoria

Newman es miembro activo del Congreso para el Nuevo Urbanismo. También es simpatizante del Urban Land Institute en Estados Unidos.

Es corredor de hipotecas y administrador de propiedades con licencia para operar en Florida.

Fue nombrado como uno de los mejores empresarios por Crain’s New York Business.

Según Newman las ideas se realizan cuando grandes personas se unen.





Urban Core retains Sequil Systems, Inc. to certify Panamá’s first LEED certified building

13 04 2007

April 13, 2007, Panamá City, Panamá:  Urban Core International, S.A. announced today that it has retained the services of Boca Raton, Florida based Sequil Systems, Inc., to commission and certify the “Urban Vista” project in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Panamá City, Panamá. Urban Core is striving to achieve the USGBC LEED Silver certification. Aaron Newman, Managing Partner of Urban Core International, S.A., as well as the project developer and owner, stated that Urban Vista is slated to be Panamá’s first LEED certified project and that “bringing Sequil on-board was like putting one of the most important pieces of the puzzle into place.” “We are very excited to work with Sequil,” Aaron Newman continued. “Sequil is a company with tremendous experience in LEED commissioning and certification.  Their talent and integrity speaks for itself.”

About the USGBC LEED Program:
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

About Sequil Systems, Inc.:
Sequil brings together over 20 years of experience in Architecture, Engineering, Design and Program Management.  Our LEED Accredited Professionals have proven knowledge, skills and experience to guide your project to sustainability in a cost- effective manner.

Sequil’s Mission is to transform the built environment to sustainable, responsible, healthy structures to minimize the use of precious energy, materials and resources in buildings today.

About Urban Core International, S.A.:
Urban Core International, S.A. is focused on the development of boutique residential and commercial property in and around Urban Cores. Our mission is two fold; to develop sustainable, quality projects with a focus on strength through design and collaboration, and to provide project owners whom we represent with unparalleled project management services through hard work, collaboration, discipline and attention to detail.

At Urban Core, we believe that a building is more than simply the sum of its parts. It is a well-founded idea, one that has been reviewed from all angles, by all disciplines involved in the project. It is a home, and a part of a larger community that it impacts. Our goal is to make sure our buildings are not only successful projects, but are constructed in a manner that contributes to the community, while meeting the needs of the buildings owners and future occupants. Our work is guided by our values, which enable to ensure a project’s success.





Credit Suisse on Panama, March 2007

20 03 2007

Credit Suisse on Panama, March 2007

This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its Public Information Notice for the
Article IV consultations with Panama which concluded last month. The assessment was quite
positive as the Fund applauded the work the Panamanian authorities have done for their sound
macroeconomic management, which have produced an average real GDP growth of 7.2% in the
2004–06 period, coupled with low levels of inflation (albeit high oil prices) and a declining
unemployment rate.

The Fund’s staff supported the governance given so far to the Panama Canal
expansion project and welcomed the safeguards and monitoring put in place to avoid the
development of economic imbalances. Specifically, the IMF praised the authorities’ intention to
monitor expenditures and borrowing strategies. Regarding the all-important public-debt-to-GDP
ratio, which is currently around 63%, the staff suggested to the Panamanian authorities to anchor
their medium-term to long-term economic policies with a target fiscal deficit of 1% of GDP after
2009. With this target and the expected high levels of economic growth rates, the debt-to-GDP ratio
will likely trend downward and become better aligned with average BB-rated credits. The Fund also
recommended that such a criterion should be part of the Fiscal Responsibility Law currently under
preparation. In other news, Alejandro Ferrer, Panama’s Minister of Commerce, stated on Thursday
that Panama is working towards having the free-trade agreement with the United States signed on
June of this year. Negotiations concluded last December, and currently Panamanian authorities are
lobbying to get the agreement approved by the U.S. Congress. We reiterate our underperform
recommendation on Panama based on valuations. (CR/FU/EM)

Sources: Credit Suisse, Panama Investor Blog





Panamá Construction Numbers

20 03 2007

Panamá City building permits are down for January, but overall production is up 17%.

Panamá Construction #’s – Jan