With their current lease due to expire on April 30 and the location becoming increasingly unhealthy and unsafe, which has led to a reduction in membership prepared to attend at night, the Costa Rica branch had been looking at options to move.
Since the turn of the year they had been in negotiation with Cibeles resort for conversion of one of their warehouse spaces into a suitable new home. The resort is very lovely and secure and offered a 50% increase in space. On April 29 the branch received a letter from the owner advising that a rental would never be possible as they are considering options to sell the property and to have a rental agreement is unacceptable to their legal advisors.
Members spent the next few days systematically (re)checking all potential locations in the area and, to our surprise, we were able to secure a 50% reduction in the rent to make a location affordable for us. The owner of the new space made the location available because of who we are and what we do. As of June 1, the branch will have a three-year lease and the owner kindly gave us two weeks rent free for the transition.
Details of Our New Home
The new location is 50 meters (about 50 yards) east of Auto Mercado, more central than the previous one and closer to the many bus routes that converge on Heredia. It has a large volume of pedestrian and car traffic and is next to the most popular small mall in the city. The strategic corner location has great visibility, reduces the speed of traffic and thus noise, particularly on the first floor.
The corner building floor space is 150 square meters (1,600 square feet) and is on two levels. It is very well constructed, with many windows, all finished in white PVC with roll down grills. It has a superb (non-slip) tile floor for practice, is clean and fresh even without the windows open, so ventilation is excellent. It has thermal insulation in the loft to minimize the heat effects and has excellent light. There is ample parking.
The upper level is 100 square meters (1,075 square feet) with two bathrooms and a storage area. We have installed sink units on both levels too to help with banquets and gatherings.
The ground level will serve as the reception of the club house and social area, with space for plants, tables, tea, smaller classes, social gatherings, Board meetings, English classes and health recover classes when we need ground level for mobility restricted persons.
The past two weeks have been abuzz with many members working long hours to prepare the space for welcoming neighbors and our guests for the International Workshop we were privileged to host last weekend. The signage and phone line were installed minutes before the reception. It has been a great boost to the branch to find such a wonderful space and great landlord and to have the International workshop to work together towards the challenges of developing in our new home. The coming weeks will see much activity promoting ourselves in the new neighbourhood and continuing the process of municipality approvals and making our home even more welcoming.