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    • Jose Pablo Arce - Sfera Legal

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BLP’s sizeable real estate practice is one of the first ports-of-call for domestic and international developers, construction companies, investors and landlords and advises on the full array of related matters, including land and property acquisition and sale, project development, real estate investment and financing, mixed-use and residential projects, condominiums and related due diligence. The five-partner practice is led by the highly-regarded Luís M Castro, who can also count on the involvement of Eduardo Calderón and Andrés López. Moreover, the firm further deepened its capabilities in the sector in June 2018 with the incorporation of four-strong boutique ANS Legal (which had niche specialization in the real estate and hospitality sector), most notably with new ‘special counsel’ Andrés Waisleder who has over 18 years’ experience in the sector. Recent highlights saw the team assist Edward Lifesciences with the establishment of a heart valve manufacturing facility in Costa Rica under the free trade zone regime. Other recent notable matters include advising Los Sueños Resort and Marina on the completion of its new Del Bosque, The Estates and Montecielo projects; and assisting longstanding client Desarrolladores 506 with the development of a $100m beach community, as well as related environmental issues. The client roster also includes Desarrollos Inmobiliaros Habitasul, Guanacaste Development and Amazon.

Pacheco Coto’s former managing partner, Alejandro Antillón played a key role in the firm’s merger in January 2018 into EY Law Central America where he now leads the firm’s real estate team. The practice has a broad service offering that includes advising on land and property acquisition, development and construction (of residential and mixed-use projects, vertical condominiums and shopping centres), and licenses and permitting, as well as joint ventures in the real estate sector. In one recent highlight, the team advised SunVesta on the development and construction of a $250m high-end hotel and resort in Guanacaste under the special legal regime pertaining to the Peninsula Papagayo tourism zone. Other notable work includes assisting Sensoria Project with the joint venture development of a $25m hotel next to the Rincon de La Vieja Reserve and volcano; and advising CasaMax Inmobiliaria on the structuring and execution of a joint venture for the development and construction of a residential project in San José. Environmental law expert Alberto Sáenz and Jorge González are also core members of the team. Other clients includes RC Inmobiliaria and Desarrollos HBQ.

Sfera Legal’s department advises international investors on real estate-related transactions, the development of residential and mixed-use projects, and the obtaining of licenses, permits and concessions, as well as contentious matters in the sector. The team is jointly led by Rafael Cañas, Robert van der Putten and Jose Pablo Arce and countered the December 2017 departure of Javier Escalante (to set up boutique firm Colbs Estudio Legal), with three hires in January 2018: Abraham Stern joined from the former Pacheco Coto, Andrés Montejo from Montejo Law and Ismene Arroyo from Arroyo & Asociados Abogados. Recent highlights include advising Grupo Luko on the development of a $10m high-end apartment building in San José under the condominium regime; assisting a foreign investment group with the purchase of the Giardino Tropicale Hotel in Guanacaste; and advising Eeva Resorts on all stages of the development of a hotel in Pavone. The team’s client roster is largely composed of European and North American investors.

The ‘excellentConsortium Legal advises land owners, developers and multinational companies on the sale and purchase of land and properties, lease agreements, permits and licenses, as well as matters related to the country’s free zone regime. Recommended for its ‘excellent knowledge and experience’ and ‘amazing sense of responsibility and service’, the team is jointly led by David Reuben, Rolando Laclé Zúñiga and Juan Manuel Cordero, who is noted for his ‘quick response times and good analysis’. In notable recent work, the team advised Country Day School on the $4.5m sale of two pieces of land in Guanacaste; assisted Cuestamoras Urbanismo with the registration of a mixed-use condominium; and advised Walmart de México y Centroamérica on the acquisition of 13 properties (totalling $25.76m), for the development of supermarkets. SHI Hospitality Holdings, Fyffes International and LIC Holdings are other representative clients.

The real estate department at Dentons Muñoz is led by the ‘excellent’ Eduardo Zúñiga, who has ‘good overall knowledge of legal matters and is specialised in real estate’. In addition to transactional, contractual and real estate-associated regulatory matters, the three-partner team also advises on environmental issues, lease agreements and the obtaining of permits and licenses. Recent highlights include assisting longstanding client GMO Renewables with the $3.96m acquisition of 38 properties from a German group. In other work, the team advised real estate venture Viridi on the negotiation of a purchase contract for a hotel (and associated due diligence), as well as on the establishment of a corporate structure for future acquisitions. Showcasing the firm’s expertise in environmental matters, the team assisted the officials of the municipality of San José, the country’s environmental authority, Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental (SETENA) and Fundación Rutas Naturbanas with the identification of all land owners holding a property close to the Torres River, in order to negotiate rights of way to create a sustainable mobility pathway. Other practice clients include Latam Logistics and Fundación Rutas Naturbanas.

The two-partner real estate practice at Expertis is led by Guillermo E Zúñiga and distinguishes itself through its prowess in environmental and renewable energy matters. The team advises both local and international companies on the structuring and development of residential, mixed-use and commercial projects, including transactions, concessions and due diligence. Recent mandates saw Zúñiga lead advice to G-24 on land acquisition for the development of a second petrol station; and assist Pitzer College with the elaboration of a possessory action in order to correct the measurements of a property. Mariela Hernández is also active in the sector. In April 2017, Alberto Pauly and José Gutiérrez left the firm as part of the spin-off of GHP Abogados. More recently, in June 2018, the firm has announced a tie-up with Spanish firm ECIJA.

The real estate practice at domestic full-service firm Facio & Cañas assists both developers and buyers with matters such as land acquisition and sales, due diligence and the obtaining of permits and licenses. In recent work, managing partner Sergio Solera led advice to various private investors on the acquisition of various hotel properties and assisted Aldesa Desarrollos Zona Franca Coyol with the incorporation of a condominium in Alajuela. Also active in the sector, Carlos Valverde recently led advice to Ciudad Hacienda los Reyes on a $25m commercial and residential development, and assisted Urbanización La Laguna with legal aspects of a real estate development in Santo Tomás. Victor Garita is also part of the core team.

Led by highly regarded founding partner Henry Lang, the real estate practice at Lang & Asociados advises on lease agreements, zoning, permits and transactions, as well as transactional matters. Recent work saw the team assist Microsoft with the real estate aspects of its establishment of a customer service centre in Costa Rica. In another highlight, the team advised Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds on its joint venture with two Costa Rican partners for the establishment of a hybrid-seed production plant.

Benefitting from its strong Central American network, Lexincorp’s real estate practice primarily assists regional construction companies, developers, financial institutions and investors with the obtaining of construction permits, the purchase of properties, tax-efficient structures and contractual matters. Managing partner Arnoldo André and associate Eugenio Vargas are the key contacts.

The department at Zürcher, Odio & Raven handles real estate transactions, contracts, financing, lease agreements, urban and rural developments and condominiums.

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