Someone on our Honduras Living group was asking about a new housing development she had seen on a trip to La Ceiba. She said it was next to the Aguazul water plant. I couldn't find anyone who knew where a Aguazul water plant was, but someone mentioned the place on the highway where they bottle Pepsi, Aguazul, and other drinks. And there happens to be a new development next door.
Well, it turns out this is not the place she was interested in, but since I went to the trouble to take a bunch of photos and ask around about prices, etc., I thought I would show it to you.
It is called Residencial San Gabriel. "Residencial" used to mean a more upscale development than a colonia, usually with larger lots and custom homes. As you can see from the small cookie cutter houses, the word is being used a little more loosely now.
The first thing that I noticed about this development was the bright colors and the attractive entrance and muro (fence). I really like them. Next I noticed the cookie cutter houses, each one exactly the same. I've seen other developments like this and wonder why they can't at least use two or three different designs or a little bit different style on the exterior, but over time, the houses will look very different with different styles of muros, gardens, and ironwork.
Driving through the development, we were amazed to see an open house sign. El Jefe and his friend were a little leery about me going in to look. They were afraid I would get into trouble. But being the bold U.S. American that I am, I know that "Open house" means that you can look! Apparently the person who was supposed to be attending to the house was gone somewhere and left the most pathetic of dogs to guard the place. The dog was so sound asleep that I didn't even notice him for the first 5 minutes.
The houses are three bedrooms, a combined dining/living area (shown in this photo), and possibly two baths. Unfortunately, the master bedroom was locked so I couldn't see how big it was or whether it had a separate bath. The key was in the door but it wouldn't turn. Maybe the attendant was sleeping in there.
The kitchen is just impossibly small for a family or even a couple, in my opinion. Many men who design houses here apparently never ask for input from lowly women and consider the kitchen a wasted use of space. The closest gap in the counter space is where the refrigerator goes and the second gap is where the stove will go. There is not an inch of counter space near the sink.
The kitchen has approximately 24" of counter space on which to work, most of which will be taken up by the microwave. You can see the size of the cabinets and imagine how much space will be left above for overhead cabinets.
There is only one electrical outlet showing. Hopefully there is a separate one for the refrigerator as most people who could afford this house would have at least a microwave oven and a blender. This is the entire kitchen. There is about one tile width (12") not showing which is also the walkway to the back door. Kitchens (and garden space) are the main reason that we had to build instead of buying a house. Builders! What are they thinking?
The two bedrooms are about 8' x 8' (2.4 x 2.4 m.), a little smaller actually, judging by the tile. The living area is not a bad size as long as the furniture isn't oversized. The entire house has a ceramic tile floor and aluminum and glass jalousie windows.
The bathroom includes an averaged sized shower and no storage space. Houses rarely have a bathtub and in the more expensive homes are more likely to have a jacuzzi.
The backyard, which includes a pila for washing clothes, is approximately 6' deep (1.8 m). The front yards will be partly used as a driveway as there are no carports or garages on these houses.
The side yards are about 2 1/2' wide (76 cm). Once the muros are up between the houses (where that row of cement blocks is sticking up), passing through the side yard will be difficult.
One very interesting thing that I've seen in this and several other houses is that the exterior color is the same color used on the interior. In this case all the rooms except the bathroom and kitchen were this same color. They may just not have painted the final coat on those two rooms yet. (Another interesting fact, this color is almost the same as I have used in some areas of my house!)
I have to wonder if the hot pink, bright green, and bright orange houses are also painted the same color inside. We once looked at a very nice, large peach-colored house once and I was amazed to see that every single room in the house was the same peach color. Builders! Men!
After seeing the house, I went across the street to speak to some of the neighbors. One said that houses were selling for L.700,000 (US $37,000) and another said that they might be L.750,000 (US $39,700). I was surprised. They are nice houses, but the price seems high to me based on the size and the size of the lot. The development is located right on the highway, which makes it good for catching a taxi or bus, but it will also be loud from the traffic noise.
Jiovana, apparently the attendant/ salesperson, left this highly professional sales material on the table. On the back of a ceramic tile brochure, she has written:
"Do you want more information? About the houses. Call by telephone 9-859-1821 with Jiovana."
There are several empty lots available. If you buy one, be sure to tell the developer that he owes me a commission. Hah!