Dear International Living Reader,
There’s an undeniable feeling of wellbeing that comes over most of us when standing at the shore of a great body of water, whether it’s the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, or a lakefront. That’s why waterfront property has been a special interest of International Living’s from the very beginning.
But since none of the senior staff at IL are serious golfers, we may have overlooked what could be the second-best property buy in the world–golf communities. I’ve come to realize that, for many people, waking up in the morning and sitting on your balcony sipping a cup of fresh-brewed coffee while looking at the dew on a perfectly manicured green stirs the same sense of peace and comfort that I get at the ocean.
So, on a recent visit to Panama City, I met with one of the top Panamanian developers in this popular and fast-growing segment of the housing market. He arranged for me to visit the Tucan Country Club and Resort, a master-planned, gated community set on 180 wooded acres just minutes from Panama City. This new development takes advantage of a unique situation…
About five years ago, the U.S. pulled out of Panama. When U.S. bases were closed and military properties were sold off, a private developer with a solid track record purchased a golf course that had once been the private getaway for the top brass at three bases in the area.
This was an “old school” golf course that didn’t offer many of the spectacular advances in design now expected from new golf courses. What it did have was a prime location with old growth trees–palm, cypress, and others–on gorgeous rolling hills, and a view of one of the spectacular skylines of Panama City, as well as of one of the eight Man-made Wonders of the World, the Panama Canal.
The developers worked with Jeffrey C. Myers, a Floridian with a world-class reputation, to design an 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course. Construction on the course is well-underway by the Gregori International group, creator of marvelous courses in the U.S., France, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jamaica, Nevis West Indies, and other places around the world. With a $4.5-million price tag, the new golf course promises to be one of the most beautiful and technologically advanced in Central America.
Every one of the 424 residences at Tucan Country Club and Resort is afforded an unobstructed view of at least one hole. The residences and hospitality centers have been designed by one of Panama’s leading architects, Humberto Echevarria. Home construction is scheduled to begin this month, and the first homes should be ready in early 2006.
Tucan pricing starts at only $199,000, quite a bargain compared to most golf communities in the U.S. And with Panama’s tropical climate, here you can tee off year-round.
I’m learning that golf communities aren’t only for serious golfers; only about 30% to 40% of those living in U.S. golf communities are regular golfers. Many people just enjoy the beautifully manicured open spaces that come with this lifestyle. Recognizing that fact, the developers have included a host of added recreational features to Tucan, including:
* A full-featured clubhouse for members and guests, with full indoor and outdoor dining facilities, meeting rooms, activity rooms, ballroom, men’s club, women’s club, bars, and social areas for events.
*A Tennis Club, with indoor and outdoor courts, will be built for year-round enjoyment.
* A Fitness Center, with a state-of-the-art gym located in the Club Complex, will include a full service spa with the most modern equipment, steam and sauna rooms, and massage rooms, where professional trainers will be on hand.
* Recreation opportunities nearby include boating, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, diving, surfing, hiking, and some of the best bird-watching in the world.
But of course, for golfers, nothing can beat 18 perfect holes of golf–where members pay no green fees (and membership is included in the price of the property). Club membership will be limited initially to 600 members, of which approximately 424 will be residents of the development and 176 will be non-residents.
As an added plus, The Tucan Project is structured so that buyers qualify for exemptions from real estate and property taxes for up to 20 years. Purchasers who apply for and qualify for pensionado status in the Republic of Panama will receive additional tax advantages.
For more information, contact them by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For International Living
P.S. For four consecutive years, Panama has topped IL’s list of best places to retire. It offers retirees advantages unequaled anywhere else in the world: near-perfect weather, a low cost of living, one of the world’s best offshore tax and banking systems, and the best retiree incentive program in the world, with up to 50% off everything from public transport to movies, mortgage rates to doctor visits, electricity to restaurant bills and airfares. For the retiree who desires all the amenities of a major city, the infrastructure of a first world country, and a short drive or flight to nature, highlands, mountains, beaches, and islands, Panama is unbeatable. Find out more about why Panama consistently tops IL’s list of attractive countries for travel and relocation on our Month of Panama page.
Important Note: In the interest of full disclosure, we want you to know that International Living receives commissions from sales at Tucan Country Club and Resort.