Real estate in Costa Rica

BLP

Real estate is one of the standout fields for regional player BLP. Dealing primarily with major developments and property transactions, the team is knowledgeable about project financing, environmental issues, the condominium regime and the hospitality industry. Luis M Castro heads the strong real estate practice and specialises in real estate transactions involving residential projects, office buildings and hotels alike. Eduardo Calderón also advises on large corporate and commercial real estate transactions, as well as urban and rural area developments. Andrés López handles the banking and finance aspects of real estate law and Anneth Jiménez has extensive experience in developing and structuring real estate projects in the coastal regions of the country. Associate Catalina Soto has expertise in the planning and development of condominiums, corporate centres and industrial projects.

Practice head(s):

Luis M Castro

Key clients

WeWork

Saxum

Edwards Lifesciences

Los Sueños

Gencom Group

Coloplast

Canyon Group

Apple Leisure Group

Las Catalinas

Enjoy Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Saxum on four urban real estate developments under the condominium regime in Alajuela and San José
  • Advised Scotiabank on the sale and lease of its main local offices as part of a restructuring
  • Assisted WeWork with real estate matters relating to the establishment of its operations in Costa Rica, including three long-term lease agreements under the free trade zone regime

EY Law Central America

Focused on the design, implementation and development of long-term mixed-use projects, EY Law Central America frequently acts for real estate and hospitality developers. Additionally, the firm is experienced in handling real estate transactions, particularly in the hotel and leisure industry. Alejandro Antillón, Arturo Apéstegui and Abraham Stern jointly lead the group. Antillón focuses on real estate portfolios and hospitality chains, while Apéstegui assists franchisees, licensees and distributors, as well as advising on family properties, and Stern is knowledgeable about condominium structuring. 'Very capable' associate Álvaro Leiva often advises on hospitality matters in relation to tourism incentives and concessions. Also experienced in this area of law, Andrea Sandoval has particular expertise in hotel management agreements and franchise agreements with international hospitality chains.

Testimonials

‘EY has a highly capable and experienced real estate team. They always provide accurate advice with a multi-disciplinary component. It is undoubtedly the best real estate practice in the country.’

‘What stands out most about EY’s real estate team is that they have senior lawyers to handle clients’ problems.’

‘Alejandro Antillón is very involved in the sector and has very broad knowledge.’

‘Álvaro Leiva is a very experienced and capable senior associate.’

‘The practice at EY Law is excellent. They have experts in many areas and in the occasional case where they lack knowledge in a particular subject, they do not just come up with something but always seek to provide advice so that the client can reach the best solution available. They compare favourably with the best firms in the country that we have had the opportunity of working with.’

‘In our experience working with EY Law was like working with our own in-house lawyers. In short, we did not feel like we were contracting out a service to a third party, but like we were working with colleagues, taking projects forward and looking for the best possible solutions to problems. Having a relationship like this with a law firm is extremely valuable.’

Key clients

SunVesta

Enjoy Hotels & Resorts

RC Inmobiliaria

Dica Desarrollos Inmobiliarios de Centroamérica

First Rock Capital

Area D Inmobiliaria

Civitar Desarrolladores

Rosario Desarrolladores

Desarrollos HBQ

Centro de Convenciones Costa Rica  –  Grupo Heroica

Lacayo Desarrollos

Reserva Conchal

Manzanillo Resort Hotels

Work highlights

  • Assisting Dica Desarrollos Inmobiliarios de Centroamérica with the development and construction of an addition to City Mall Costa Rica, comprising a four-star hotel and office complex
  • Advising Enjoy Hotels & Resorts on the expansion of the Mangroove Hotel at Peninsula Papagayo under the Marriott Autograph brand
  • Advising Area D Inmobiliaria on the legal structuring, design and implementation of a joint venture to develop a high-end real estate project

Sfera Legal

Sfera Legal's real estate practice covers retail, commercial, housing and second home developments and is particularly active in the coastal area of the country. The team also advises on real estate transactions, including ample post-closing services, and provides assistance with adjacent topics such as international tax structures, private financing and expropriation cases in collaboration with other departments at the firm. A trio comprising Robert van der Putten, Rafael Cañas and José Pablo Arce jointly leads the practice, which is praised for 'creating lasting solutions'. Arce has valuable expertise in condominium property law and the shoreline concession zone, while van der Putten and Cañas shine in real estate transactions. At associate level, Raquel Moya specialises in maritime zone properties and hospitality developments, and Roberto Castillo focuses on real estate due diligence as well as advising foreign investors.

Testimonials

‘It is a unique team with very genuine and diverse members. It is completely outside the traditional law firm environment. The team is very well prepared, with a more open and honest attitude.’

‘The team members are very accommodating, open, conscientious and committed to their work. They have a lot of heart and are compassionate and great people.’

‘The Sfera team, in addition to being very knowledgeable, is smart, practical and innovative. They are about creating lasting solutions, not problems.’

‘We recommend Robert van der Putten for the quality of his service and his knowledge of the sector.’

‘Associate Raquel Moya stands out for the quality of her service.’

Key clients

Princess Hotels

Haakon Capital

LatAm Logistic Properties

Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort

Hotel Club del Mar

Re/Max First Choice Realty – Nosara

Xandari Resort and Spa

Altos de Eros Hotel & Spa

PDC Capital

Coldwell Banker – Surfing Nosara Real Estate

Grupo Luko

Surf Simply

Grupo Zen

Gilded Iguana Hotel

Icúbica- Desarrolladores

CR Realty

The Nomadic Hotel

Florblanca Resorts

Sirenis Hotel & Resorts

Work highlights

  • Assisted Princess Hotels with acquiring concession land located in Papagayo, Guanacaste, for the development of a 450-room hotel complex
  • Assisted Haakon Capital with acquiring real estate in Costa Rica through an auction process
  • Assisted Surf Simply with the sale of its old resort, which required settlements with service providers

Colbs Estudio Legal

The real estate team at Colbs Estudio Legal is instructed by developers, construction firms, realtors and trustees to handle acquisitions, leases, construction and the financing of real estate projects. Processing permits and the design of corporate structures to accomodate the interests of all investors are two of the group's specialties. In line with the firm's interdisciplinary approach, team members draw on the expertise of the environmental and tax law practices. The team is led by Javier Escalante, Sebastián Jiménez and associates Javier Sauma and Margarita Sandí. Sauma focuses on developments in coastal and urban areas whereas Sandí handles real estate projects in Pacífico Central and in the capital.

Testimonials

‘The attorneys at COLBS are knowledgeable, experienced, specialised, respectable and friendly.’

Key clients

Hermosa Ocean Front Development

Condominio Agapanthus

Condominio El Triangulo

Lafarge Holcim

George W. Stewart

Real de Punta Leona

Zona Franca América

Parque Santo del Este

Andorra Euroinvestments, Condominio Los Principes

Integra Desarrollos

Work highlights

  • Advising Hermosa Ocean Front Development on the corporate structure of a 250-apartment unit real estate project
  • Assisting Condominio Agapanthus with the regulatory compliance of its housing development in San José
  • Acting as legal counsel to Real de Punta Leona in the management, development, purchase and sale of the company’s asset portfolio

Consortium Legal

Often instructed to handle matters at the nexus of corporate and real estate law, the 'always efficient and accurate' real estate department at Consortium Legal is adept at advising clients on property transactions, asset purchases and bulk sale processes. Other core areas of the practice include contract drafting and regulatory and environmental advice. The leadership of the team is shared among three key practitioners: Rolando Laclé Zúñiga, Juan Manuel Cordero and David Reuben, all of whom are noted for their outstanding transactional real estate practice. Marcela Alfaro, who was promoted to senior associate in September 2019, plays an important role in real estate due diligence processes.

Testimonials

‘The service provided by Consortium has always been efficient and accurate, and they have been supporting our business for many years. In corporate and real estate matters, Consortium is one of the leading firms in the country.’

‘Juan Manuel Cordero has been our lawyer for many years for corporate and real estate matters, providing vital support in the workings of our business.’

‘The team always keeps up to date with the status of our cases and is available to deal with our queries. The team stands out for the quality of its work, service and client care.’

‘Juan Manuel Cordero, David Reuben and associates Marcela Alfaro were always available to us and always sought out the best solution to fit our requirements. Their response times are excellent and the quality of the work is very good.’

‘Juan Manuel Cordero is focused on ensuring his team provide a high-quality service, so we can always rely on him, not just to deal quickly with our matters and give them priority, but also in terms of his transparency and his exceptional knowledge and experience.’

‘Their client service is unique. It is completely personalised and of a very high quality, with very quick response times and competitive fees.’

Key clients

Walmart

Cuestamoras

APM Terminals

Fyffes

Grupo Barceló

Maersk

Four Seasons

Citibank

Cemex

Cefa

Ultrapark

Creganna Medical

Kareo

Mayca

El Silencio Hotel

Work highlights

  • Assisted Fyffes with the acquisition of 284 hectares of land to be used for farming pineapples
  • Provided legal counsel to Daito Giken CR in a due diligence review of several properties intended for a coffee plantation and production
  • Advised Walmart on the purchase of 17 properties for development

Dentons Muñoz

Dentons Muñoz offers a diverse range of real estate services to developers, investors and hospitality companies alike, advising on residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. Department head Eduardo Zúñiga, who has an ample banking and finance background, takes the lead in most matters, both in relation to property transactions and property development. Associate Daniela Murillo specialises in urban regulation issues and the implementation of the condominium regime, in addition to managing due diligence processes for project development property acquisitions. The team has also implemented a technology tool to offer clients round-the-clock access to due diligence, data room and contract management assistance.

Practice head(s):

Eduardo Zúñiga

Key clients

Latam Logistics Properties

Hacienda Pinilla

Jack Parker Corporation

Luxury Destinations (Sunset Villas)

The Rohatyn Group

The Little Nell Group

Amazon

Parque Active

MSC

Ontempus Caricom

Work highlights

  • Advised Ontempus Caricom during the negotiation and drafting of construction agreements for a Marriott Hotel in Belize
  • Represented the Jack Parker Corporation in the negotiation of the sale agreement of the Pacifico Development, located in Playas del Coco
  • Acted for Parque Activa in the process of converting a sugar cane plantation into a free zone and distribution park outside the metropolitan area of San José

ECIJA

ECIJA covers the three main aspects of the local real estate market, namely tourism, residential and commercial project development. The department is led by its four partners, Guillermo E Zúniga, Mariela Hernández, Alejandro Montealegre and Mercedes Sancho. Zúniga is particularly active in projects involving concessions and protected areas, as well as advising on condominium regime properties. Montealegre, who led a boutique firm of the same name until 2018, focuses on acting for clients from the agricultural export sector and urban development companies in the tourism sector. Other areas of expertise range from asset transactions and restructurings to obtaining financing facilities.

Testimonials

‘They understand the way I like to work and I only need to explain a problem once.’

Key clients

Recap Investments – Playa Lagarto Eco-Resort

Mar Vista

Arenal Maleku

Ladera del Mar

KMA

Grupo Istmo de Papagayo

Playa de las Palmitas

Arenas del Mar Hotel

Centurion Projects and Development

Fonda Jaco

G-24

Amore del Mar Development

Cayuga Collection

Work highlights

  • Advised Playa Lagarto Eco-Development on the sale and transfer of a package of 29 loan agreements
  • Advised KMA on the restructuring of its assets and debts, including the real estate properties owned by the group
  • Advised Fonda Jacó on the purchase of a B&B property located next to its facilities, in order to expand its current operations and facilities

Aguilar Castillo Love

Property portfolio transactions are the cornerstone of Aguilar Castillo Love's real estate group, which is usually instructed by the firm's corporate clients. The team around Álvaro Quesada Loría and Esteban Agüero Guier handles real estate transactions from the negotiation stage until closing. Quesada specialises in the hospitality and housing sectors, as well as advising non-profit clients on conservation programmes, whereas Agüero is primarily active at the nexus of real estate and corporate law.

Key clients

Cargill

Fidelity National Financial

Fibra Latam

Work highlights

  • Advised Cargill on a contract related to the sale of a property to an investment fund
  • Representing Fidelity National Financial in a dispute regarding the registration of a beach hotel in Costa Rica
  • Advised Tropica Verde on the purchase of property in Sarapiquí, Heredia, for conservation purposes

Arias

Arias assists clients with property transactions from due diligence to negotiations and contract drafting. Additional services include advice on private and commercial property expansion plans, as well as support with obtaining land use permits. Property acquisition expert Carlos Camacho and Rosa Jiménez, who also has expertise in banking and finance law, co-chair the department. Senior associate Mario Rodríguez provides key support on expansion strategies and property sales.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Camacho; Rosa Jiménez

Facio & Cañas

Acting both for developers and buyers of finished projects, Facio & Cañas assists individual as well as corporate clients with all stages of a property's lifecycle. The team, which is jointly led by Carlos Oreamuno and Sergio Solera, frequently advises on due diligence processes and real estate transactions. The department grew significantly in February 2020, when the firm absorbed Pragma Legal: Francisco Rucavado brings a strong client base as well as condominium regime know-how to the table.

Practice head(s):

Sergio Solera; Carlos Oreamuno

Testimonials

‘We always feel like our issues are the top priority for the attorneys that help us.’

‘The attorneys at Facio & Cañas are very efficient. When we have an issue, they are usually able to address it quickly without billing excessive hours.’

Key clients

Conair Corporation

Griffith Foods

SmileDirectClub

Cinemark

Work highlights

  • Acted for SmileDirect Club in the expansion of its activities in Costa Rica and opening of new offices in Cartago
  • Assisted Rancho Pacífico with the acquisition of a luxury hotel in Puntarenas
  • Acted for Cinemark in the expansion of its activities in Costa Rica and the opening of new offices in Alajuela

Zürcher, Odio & Raven

The real estate practice at local firm Zürcher, Odio & Raven handles all legal issues arising around real estate transactions. Alberto Raven Odio is a key contact.

Lang & Asociados

Lang & Asociados often assists clients with real estate issues related to expanding or setting up operations in the country. Other services offered by Henry Lang and his team include obtaining operation permits and the drafting of lease agreements.

Practice head(s):

Henry Lang

Lexincorp

Lexincorp assists private clients as well as national and international companies, often referred to the firm through the global Multilaw network, with real estate matters such as sales and acquisitions, title issues, land use matters and litigation. Arnoldo André and associate Eugenio Vargas, who focuses on advising tourism, hospitality, manufacturing and development clients, lead the group.

Practice head(s):

Arnoldo André; Eugenio Vargas

Key clients

Novelteak Costa Rica

Hotel Tamarindo Diria

Masterzon Costa Rica

Work highlights

  • Assisted an individual with the acquisition of eight residential units in Puntarenas
  • Assisted an individual with the due diligence process related to the purchase of a residential property