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Thread: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

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    Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Hello. I'm a new member and have travelled four times to Panama in the past few years. I contracted several years ago for a new unit in Bala Beach (In town of Maria Chiquita, Colon Province, on road to Portobelo). My closing (Building 2) is expected in May or June this year. I would be interested in hearing from others who either are future owners as well or have useful information to share with us. Thanks.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Hello I am also a Bala Beach buyer. You may contact me if you would like me to share the info I have with you. I just went to their office a few days ago and they gave me an update.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portobelo / Caribbean

    Thanks. You can email me

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Go ahead and share the update with us Cirederf.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    It would be interesting to hear how Bala Beach is doing?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portobelo / Caribbean

    First, I apologize for misspelling Portobelo in the thread title. I don't like it either.

    Here are my personal impressions of Bala Beach Resort and welcome all comments.

    - If one believes in the saying "no news is good news," then one would have to believe Bala Beach is going well as there certainly seems to be a scarcity of timely information! The developer does the bare minimum in providing updates through the website (www.balabeach.com), which I cannot understand when putting information out there would avoid repeating the same thing over and over again. Some "recent" construction pictures are available at www.cpanama.com and at Bala Beach Exchange. Maybe the prospective purchasers are overly private as a whole or find the entire blogging experience too intimidating. Hopefully we can change this!

    - Closings on units in Building 1 may soon begin. I was told that units in Building 2 will close "around May." Some expect to close in April, I am told.

    - So far no word on the furniture and appliance packages. Again, now is the time to get this out to buyers. I heard from my realtor at Cpanama to expect in a couple of weeks. Those desiring to place their unit in the rental pool must select one of the packages, I understand. Also, there may a choice of management companies.

    - The last sales information seems to be that maybe a few scattered, low level units are available in Buildings 1 and 2, but basically the buildings are sold-out. Supposedly Building 3 is substantially sold and construction will begin on it as soon as 1 and 2 are completed (and, no doubt, balance of purchase prices received by developer). But, this has been the status for quite some time. Before the recession it appeared that the quoted prices had increased quite a bit. I have no idea what the market price is currently.

    - The "road" to Bala Beach actually shows up now on Googe Earth / Google Maps, however, I pretty much bottomed out my rental car last time I drove up and over the mountain, descending on the development, more or less. Maybe its been improved since then.

    - Supposedy the onsite restaurant is under construction. The beach has been cleaned, but the white sand promised to be mixed in the dry beach areas has not been done, but this does not surprise me as I am sure plenty of site work remains.

    - The developer expects to open a model unit / sales office in one of the completed buildings.

    - Searching for resales of Bala Beach units yields very few units. In fact, I only found one - a penthouse unit in Building 1 - although I have heard there are a few. I see that as a positive sign as it appears substantially all purchasers appear "ready, willing and able" to close. The economic downturn has led to Building 5 being put on hold as I understand it, or at least slowed to the point they are not on the near horizon. These were to be low-rise, beach-front units. Frankly, I think Buildings 3 and 4 provide enough inventory for the developer to sell in the current market.

    I hope this is useful.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Thank you for the update, I know of two people that had purchased in Bala. One of those folks had purchased a penthouse unit. It was my understanding that sales had slowed down towards the end but as long as they are working and finishing the units purchased that is very good. It did seem like the units were fairly small but that also allowed for a reasonable purchase price of a unit so you probably won't have to many people loosing deposits. Once again thanks for giving us the 4-1-1.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Yes, units are small. My 2 BR is around only 950 sq ft. The penthouses are nice--2 story plus large private rooftop deck.

    I know the guy selling his penthouse. Might be the same person. Is yours in real estate?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Thanks BalaBeacher for summarizing your and my information on this thread. The Bala office is supposed to email us updated information this coming week or the next (which would make it the first email directly sent to us in over two years...), and I will gladly share that information on this forum once I receive it.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Quote Originally Posted by BalaBeacher View Post
    Yes, units are small. My 2 BR is around only 950 sq ft. The penthouses are nice--2 story plus large private rooftop deck.

    I know the guy selling his penthouse. Might be the same person. Is yours in real estate?
    This is a pretty small country and no doubt it probably is. Is the person you are referring to bald?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Ha! No. He has a pony tail! "Heavy-set" fellow.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    How many penthouse units were there?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Building 1: 4
    Building 2: 8
    Building 3: 8

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Thank you

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    I was informed last night that my unit in building one should be closing in June. However, about 2 months ago I was told that it should be closing in May. I suspect it wont actually be closing until the fall but as of right now they are saying June for units in building 1. I may travel down to visit in the summer, does anybody have suggestions on where to stay, or what to do while in Panama?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Hello Trott, I don't think they know with accuracy when they will be able to close, however, I am in contact with one of the engineers there, and will keep you posted (even though it is somewhat difficult to get any kind of precise information). I live in Panama, a few blocks from their main office so it is easy for me to go there. We are still waiting for an email from the Bala team updating us on the project, that email was supposed to be released early Feb. Next week, I will be going to the project and take new pictures. If you would like to contact me directly, let me know, and I will forward my email/phone number to you. Thanks.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Am I the only owner who has grown overly frustrated with this development company (in which I don't foresee ever doing any business with again)? I purchased back in 2007 with estimated completion date to be at the end of 2009. It is now the beginning of 2012 and it is still not done!!! Okay, I can deal with some falling behind, hey it happens; however what makes this even worse than being over 2 years behind is that it is nearly impossible to get any updates or to get employees to give any information. During the past 1 1/2 years, we keep being told that it is getting closer and only a few months from completion (that is when they actually make contact back to us, which generally takes 5 to 10 attempts without response on our side). Back in July or so of 2011, we were rushed with almost no notice to get furniture deposit to them as they were getting ready to open within a month. Then the next month, it was getting ready to open within a couple of weeks. A month later, would be open within a couple of weeks. A couple weeks later, it would be a few more weeks, etc. Then all contact and resposnes to e-mails and phone calls became comletely unanswered starting in October or November timeframe, despite dozens of e-mails and phone calls. We don't know when this is closing as the dozens of previous closing timeframes we have been given have never even been close to accurate. We have so many things to get ready, such as final furniture deposit (last I heard this was due in October 2011 and confirmation details would be sent within few days, which never were and my many attempts to get more information have gone unanswered), final amount owed as we are paying in cash, we want to be down there when it opens (which required plan tickets, rental cars, work vacation time, etc) or work towards getting a lawyer if we can't, but we can't get any current information on anything. Does anyone know anything. Can anyone help. Is anyone else having this issue and as frustrated as me? I have been patient for 4 years, but I mean, come on, enough is enough. Us investors tied up money into this that could have been used elsewhere and at least we could get is current information when previous information changes. I mean, it took them 3 years just to update their website. I've called "contact numbers", "contact us e-mails", I've looked up several e-mails of pretty much every Bala Beach staff who I have had any contact with over the past 4 years with (to include during purchase time) and sent them e-mails and none of them even responded. Ugh, any help would be great.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Welcome to customer service Panamanian style...

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Hello all,
    I just talked to my contact there, and he said that delivery should happen by the end of January, so to be on the safe side, let's say February. David, you are absolutely right, communication with the Bala team has been extremely frustrating since the beginning, and it is very difficult to get any updates from them, and these updates are generally inaccurate. If it was not for the one contact that I have there, I would have gone mad. Unfortunately, the only thing we can really do at this time is wait until they tell us it is ready and give us the keys (and have us pay the balance, furniture,maintenance, etc...). I have been fooled many times before as well, so trying to figure out a precise date at this time is futile. The good news is, it SHOULD only be a matter of a few more weeks. The most recent excuse/reason for the delay is the unusually heavy rain on the Carribean side that they experienced in December, so putting the final touch to the two towers was slowed down. I am trying to look at the glass half full with this project, but I have to admit, my patience is also being tested. Thanks.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Here is their Facebook link, which you can open without having a FB account ( like me...):
    Balä Beach Resort | Facebook

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    One would have assumed the developer would want to go into its grand opening building enthusiasm among buyers and prospects. Not so with these guys for some reason, and it certainly is not because they have nothing to sell. Furthermore, one would believe the prospect of receiving a bunch of cash at closing would provide additional incentive. Certainly the demands for payment last year were unrealistic and no reason exists for building 2 buyers to do anything until closings in building 1 are well underway.

    Here's what I have for contacts:

    Alex Toledo
    Sales Manager
    Balä Beach Resort
    Portobelo, Panama
    US +1 (416 ) 907 2977
    Panama + (507) 263 0254
    Panama + (507) 6670 6977
    Costa Rica + (506) 8849 0273
    Skype: Costarican_alex
    www.balabeach.com

    Joshua A Haarbrink
    Manager – Condominium Corporation / Rental Pool
    Mobile: +1-507-6030-9515
    Office: +1-507-263-0254
    Fax: +1-507-263-8364
    Office (Canada): 416-907-2977

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    They have actually decided to deliver both towers at the same time, which is one the of the reasons for the delay.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    and thanks for the contact info, Balabeacher, that is quite useful.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    What's really strange is that there are quite a few posts missing from this thread. I recall at least one Bala Beach post and I know I did several on furniture packages and wire information. Hmmm

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Was there no penalty for them not delivering on time and for every month delay they would refund a certain percentage of sales price? If they have no incentive to perform on a timely basis, of course there will be delays, money management problems etc.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    There was no penalty for them in the contract for being late delivering the units... It only says that they had 18 months from the time the foundation was started, but did not say what would happen if it took them longer than the 18 months. Which obviously it did.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    I was at the Bala Beach project one week ago and it does look like delivery is imminent.

    Improvements have been made to the road, the swimming pool is basically finished (just need water), the restaurant walls are being decorated, the elevators are running and apartments have electricity but the electrical company is still making improvements. Internet connectivity is available in all apartments and outdoor common areas, telephone service will be ready within days.

    The building exteriors are finished and look great, a few apartments are occupied by Bala Beach staff and the view from all floors is amazing. White sand has been brought in and placed on the beach. A whole bunch of palm trees have been planted.

  28. The Following User Says Thank You to RK @ PaNETma For This Useful Post:

    BalaBeacher (01-22-2012)

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    First let me make clear that I have noting to do with Bala Beach. I just drove by today and I figured I take a few pics for those who are interested.


















    ‎"If you must say yes, say it with an open heart. If you must say no, say it without fear.

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Did you go into the water? What is to the left and right?

    They claim to have common area with BBQ, infinity lap pool, an onsite mini-market, ATV/Horseback tours, kayaks available right now with tennis, beach volleyball and more "pending". Did you find those activities going on? Was there a place to eat?

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    Re: Bala Beach Resort / Portebello / Caribbean

    Quote Originally Posted by pingun View Post
    Did you go into the water? What is to the left and right?

    They claim to have common area with BBQ, infinity lap pool, an onsite mini-market, ATV/Horseback tours, kayaks available right now with tennis, beach volleyball and more "pending". Did you find those activities going on? Was there a place to eat?

    I did not go in the water. I don't know what you mean by left or right. The first 3 pics are taken from left to right.

    I was told the BBQ area will be where the sail is. (Second pic from the bottom). I did not see the infinity lap pool, mini-market or anything else that you mentioned. There is no place to eat at this moment. The restaurant is not finish (first pic).
    ‎"If you must say yes, say it with an open heart. If you must say no, say it without fear.

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