Raising the Bar – Aqualina Tower in Punta Carnero, Ecuador

The indomitable spirit. The power of never surrendering.  Only those concepts can truly capture the multi-year battle and, ultimate victory, endured by Andrés Cordóva, the developer of Aqualina Tower in Punta Carnero, Ecuador.  Changes in the law…check. A never-ending perseverance to bring the optimum in safety to project investors, leading to three, separate failed Project Trust attempts, before finding the right Trust partner…check.  A change in the original project partners, due to the unavoidable delays…check. Personal life challenges…check.  Andrés Cordóva has endured it all, to finally bring the Aqualina Tower project to market.  Bet many of you are wondering, “Why the commitment?” Great question and one with a clear answer that will be revealed as we continue on with this article, which analyzes Andrés’ vision and the reality that is poised to be Aqualina.

 

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The simplest answer as to why Andrés never surrendered in the pursuit of this project is because he is a ribald, die-hard believer in the Punta Carnero region.  Doubt me? Just listen to my interview with Andrés on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN), which can be heard on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 or via podcast later at: http://overseasradio.com/the-colombia-ecuador-roadshow/. Andrés breathes passion when it comes to Punta Carnero.  It is even captured by his stunning amateur photography, which I believe is good enough to transcend the “amateur” moniker.  Punta Carnero sits “flipside” of Salinas, on the same Santa Elena Peninsula.  Actually, Punta Carnero is an unincorporated region of Salinas, inclusive of sharing the same mayoral administration and city council. However, in practice, Punta Carnero’s 5 minute proximity to Salinas feels a million miles away.

Punta Carnero is a relatively narrow sliver of land, hugging the Pacific Ocean, located about 5 minutes from the regional mall, about 3 minutes from the new airport in Salinas and only about 10 minutes from the heart of the vaunted Salinas Malecón (Boardwalk). However, the feel is of a place isolated from the world.  A warm, inviting and broad stretch of sandy beach engulfs a community that is, for now, mostly single-family homes on the oceanfront, with a handful of mid-rise condo buildings thrown into the mix.  As Andrés would observe, the place exudes tranquility, relaxation and a communal bonding with nature. The glorious sunsets, visible most every day of the year, inspire such stunning beauty that it has created a loyal following of amateur photographers and aficionados alike, all which descend on this narrow strip of Ecuadorian coast, simply to gaze and marvel at the celestial mosaic. Andrés recognized the charm that is exuded by the canvass that is Punta Carnero and he earnestly wanted to add his own color in finishing the masterpiece.

 

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When Andrés gazed across the landscape of Punta Carnero, specifically, and the broader Ecuadorian coast, he noted two things: 1) Punta Carnero lacks an exclusive condominium building of distinction; and 2) Much of the Ecuadorian coast has given birth to condo buildings virtually indistinguishable from one another, let alone from an office building…or…a hotel. The skyline looked empty, to Andrés, in Punta Carnero and looked bland, for the most part, throughout Ecuador’s coast. Andrés set out to change that, with little more than a vision, supported by a stamina and perseverance reminiscent of the Spartan elite. He knew only one thing – he didn’t want to build “just another condo building.”

The first step towards Andrés’ ultimate mighty conquest was to enlist the expertise and creativity of another avantgarde mind, who could share in his vision and passion for what was to become…Aqualina.  However, Andrés was not going to settle. He wanted the creativity, passion and kinship, but he also wanted the more pragmatic proven experience.  For that, Andrés searched far and wide, before settling on what was, quite simply, too obvious a choice – Humberto “Coro” Plaza Argüello. Renown as one of the best young architectural minds in not only Ecuador, but across the globe, Coro as he is known best to his friends, was a classic choice. Always a cutting edge visionary, with extensive architectural studies and experience in the USA, as well as Ecuador, he seemed tailor-made for the lead role of designing the Aqualina vision. A forward thinking architect, with an extensive portfolio of successful projects already under his belt, Coro brings the creative vision to Aqualina, the innovative passion and the credible “track record of success”, so desired in any new development project.  The perfect balance…and…the perfect selection.

 

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Andrés and Coro went through a half-dozen revisions for the architectural design of Aqualina, each one which I personally witnessed…perfecting…detailing…enhancing the design elements, all in search of a unique, quality design with the “wow” factor. Andrés wanted an upscale look, to meet the targeted upscale market, but he didn’t want an aloof, overdone and extreme design. Andrés loves Punta Carnero precisely because it allows one to commune with nature and he wanted to bring the outdoor natural beauty, within the framework of the Aqualina monolith.  A seamless blend of innovative architecture and mother nature. Easy to imagine…challenging to design.

However, the success of Andrés’ clear vision and the deft skill of Coro proved that the challenges were no match for their joint perseverance.  Their combined success can be seen throughout the current Aqualina design.  Beautifully radiant, expansive floor to ceiling windows that summon in the natural daylight. Guaranteed ocean views from every single unit, many with large balconies and terraces, ideal from which to absorb the daily colors of the sunset.  A perfectly designed and immense infinity pool, seemingly placed at the doorstep of the Pacific Ocean, allowing the former to apparently flow readily into the latter. Nature and modern architecture perfectly blended, into one amenities-filled and futuristic oceanfront high-rise, known as…Aqualina.

 

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In addition to the glorious infinity pool, some other amenities will include: poolside juice bar; jacuzzi; health center; 24-7 state-of the-art security; and a shuttle service comfortably designed to take residents to the mall, airport, other local area beaches and to the heart of the Salinas Malecón.  No comfort is spared or amenity forgotten, in order to treat future residents like royalty. Andrés demands this. He wanted his building to not only be different, but “special”…in every way.  He wanted to take his beloved Punta Carnero, raise the bar and place it on a mantle best defined as…the next higher level.  Aqualina would redefine the nature of oceanfront condo construction in Ecuador, but, for Andrés, more importantly, would redefine Punta Carnero, itself.

With diverse unit floor-plans ranging from 1 bedroom models of 88m2 (947 sf) to 3 bedroom models of 175 m2 (1,884 sf), not including “special unit” models, including loft units of 170 m2 (1,838 sf), deluxe duplex models of 384 m2 (4,138 sf), and fabulous vista PH models of 293 m2 (3,152 sf), Aqualina offers something, for every budget, preference and taste.  With prices starting at $160 USD/sf, Aqualina is not priced for everyone, but is priced at a relative discount to similar quality, luxury projects elsewhere on Ecuador’s famed coast. The complete set of residential options, housed in one dynamic residential tower, designed for aesthetics, convenience and luxury living.  For such a creative design, combined with the need for top-quality construction, Andrés turned to the 40 years of experience provided by Conbaquerizo, one of Ecuador’s most respected and award winning construction companies. The quality of Conbaquerizo’s work is so defined that you can literally visit buildings they built 30+ years ago, which have the look and feel of buildings no more than 5-7 years old. One of the premiere set of Salinas condos, on the same peninsula as Punta Carnero, was built by Conbaquerizo decades ago and still stands as one of the most popular condo options in all of Salinas.  Once again, Andrés selected a top-notch partner that would be a critical ally in turning his vision for Aqualina into a stunning reality.

 

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However, with all the good news built in, Andrés is far from relaxed. With an “early bird” pre-sales campaign just starting, allowing for nice discounts on a select number of units, Andrés understands the hardest part still lies ahead. He understands that he must sell out Aqualina, if he is to continue his Punta Carnero vision. Andrés has already selected and tied up several additional land sites in Punta Carnero to complete the Aqualina vision.  He envisions a modern, well-planned community enclave, designed for an integrated lifestyle of family, relaxation and luxury.  His emphasis on planning the landscape of an entire sector, while readily practiced globally, is a rarity here in Ecuador…for now. Andrés aims to change that. My bet is on Andrés, if his past track record of perseverance, indomitable will and success is any indicator.

For further details on Aqualina, including a review of unit model layouts, price charts and to discover the exciting early bird discounts, please contact Hector G. Quintana, at ecuador_hgq@escapeartist.com.  This opportunity is one to be savoured and all it takes is one email to explore the possibilities.