Liz Larroquette
Town Centre Costa Del Este the New heart of Panama

New Concept, Extraordinary Potential

I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t totally excited about the new developments in Costa del Este. It really is on fire. However, there are so many different and fascinating elements to the overall community plan, it’s somewhat complicated to explain how all the facets fit beautifully together. But, when you examine the whole, it’s almost immediate that you realize, Coste del Este is a home run!

What In the World Is A Condotel?

Arcadia Costa del Este

Arcadia, by Empresas Bern, is the only apartment building to be granted a licence for short-term stays in Panama CIty

Let’s start by discussing one of the real game changer elements in the area. We have a new type of residential unit available in Costa del Este which are referred to as condo-hotel units or 'condotels', combining the best of condo living with hotels. After becoming a staple in Miami, Las Vegas, London and other world-class destinations, Panama has joined the global movement by issuing it’s first license for condotels to “Arcadia” a completely mix-use facility developed by Panama’s leading real estate developer, Empresas Bern.

Condotels allow short-term rentals and are often seen as a perfect way to own property that appreciates over time while providing a revenue stream during ownership. For individuals who don’t want, or have the ability to, manage the property—finding and booking renters, collecting the revenue, cleaning and maintaining the apartments—there is a management company associated with Arcadia. This new license also allows for individuals to manage their own units, depending on individual investment goals and time availability.

Before the Arcadia license was issued, all “apartment” rentals in Panama had to be for a minimum of 45 days. That was an effort by the government, to protect the demand for hotel rooms in Panama City, but with the unprecedented growth of the area, the changing demographics of Coste del Este and international demand, these condotels can now be rented on even a nightly basis.

Attracting a Wide Audience

The residential units, which are 70 to 76 square meters or 754 to 818 square feet, provide a rental answer for a number of audiences including the ever increasing foreign nationals who are sent to Panama for extended work-related stays. Costa del Este is home to numerous global companies and the Arcadia units are perfect for people wanting to stay close to where they work.

Costa del Este view

The wide spacious boulevardes of Costa del Este are one of the benefits of living in the planned community

A planned community, Costa del Este, has wide boulevards as opposed to the two-lane ribbons that snake through much of Panama City which are often burdened with traffic. Having a one- or two-bedroom rental unit is attractive for it’s flexibility, reduced traffic and increased green-space as well as it’s close-by location regional headquarters.

The units in Arcadia are also attractive to the Millennials who want to live in the vibrance that is Costa del Este, but cannot afford the ever-increasing cost of renting or buying in the area. Pre-construction prices make these units extremely attractive for both first-time buyers and someone from the area who prefers to rent.

Is There A Doctor In The House?

So, it’s nice to be able to say there is opportunity to get in on the ground floor and purchase at below market price, with opportunities for short- or long-term rental income, as well as an inexpensive option for personal use, but there is still more!! Did I mention the hospital that is going up next to TownCenter and located less than two blocks from Arcadia?

Consultorios HPP logo

In addition to a suite of Medical Consulting Rooms in Town Centre, Costa del Este will be home to the second Hospital Punta Pacifica in Panama

The second Panama location of Hospital Punta Pacifica, affiliated with Johns Hopkins Healthcare in Baltimore, is coming to Costa del Este. Designed with the international patient in mind, the hospital will have five floors of parking and seven levels of hospital space. The 281,000 square feet, will allow for shared area specialty centers such as surgical, radiology, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency along with patient suites and doctors’ offices with direct access to the hospital. Panama City has long-held the designation as a provider of world-class healthcare and now, with the addition of the hospital, doctors’ offices and shared medical facilities, Costa del Este is working toward being a medical destination.

A Place To Recover

Hospital Punta Pacifica Costa Del Este

An apartment can be more suited than a hotel for family members travelling with a loved one for medical treatment.

With other international locations acting as a guide, Johns Hopkins knows what it takes to provide appropriate rental units for families traveling with patients and Arcadia fits those needs perfectly. “We understand the challenges of accommodating family members who want to be with you during your stay” they tell their patients adding, “fortunately, we can help.”

The Hopkins team is quick to point out, like Costa del Este and Arcadia, there are needed options such as two bedroom units to accommodate a caregiver who needs their own room. Recovering patients and their families often need adequate space including a full kitchen, living space as well as the ability to come in and out 24-hours a day within close hospital proximity. Hopkins also explains that in areas where they have a facility, there is often a waiting list for rental units and that other accommodations should be secured. Of course, the management company associated with Arcadia will be working daily with the hospital team in sourcing those units for patients.

A Growth Industry

“Medical Tourism” isn’t a new option for North Americans wanting to secure top-quality procedures for a fraction of the cost in their home country. In 2014, “Patients With Passports” was published and has become one of the main information sources for both providers and patients seeking alternative care. Written by I. Glenn Cohen, a Harvard Law Professor, it explores the new world of health care.

Medical tourism—patients traveling from their home countries to another destination for medical care—is completely transforming the health care industry as we know it. Once the province of the uber-wealthy seeking radical cosmetic surgeries or treatments unavailable in the U.S., medical tourism has become an attractive option for many, especially the uninsured, since the cost savings are so dramatic. According to some estimates, about 2 million Americans a year are traveling overseas for major health procedures, from knee replacements to neurosurgery, with the number growing rapidly,”

Glenn Cohen
Patients With Passports, 2014

The American television corporation, ABC News recently ran a segment about two North Carolinans who recently traveled to Central America for a knee replacement and gastric by-pass procedure. Not only did their employer cover the medical costs, they also paid for a stay in a four-star condotel, a bilingual care giver, all costs associated with the trip and a percentage of the out-of-pocket savings. Each patient received approximately $2,500 in addition to the trip and procedure.

I’m thrilled Panama is part of this revolution and I’m anxious to tell my clients how they can profit by coming in on the ground floor.

A World Class Destination

I know I get excited about the medical tourism rental demand that is so perfect for Arcadia, but I don’t want to minimize the opportunity for a wide spectrum of residents, perfectly healthy and ready to enjoy the amenities of the complex and the community as a whole. Retail space, world-class residents and recreational facilities are a vital part of the Arcadia project.

Arcadia Costa del Este

Arcadia is just one of many exciting projects in Costa del Este, the new Heart of Panama City

As Costa del Este blossoms into a world-class destination, with million dollar plus condominiums and international companies dotting the landscape, it’s great to know there are solid investment opportunities coming in at under $300,000.

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About the Author Liz Larroquette

Whether you are looking to retire in Panama, relocate your family, or buy property as an investment Liz is a wealth of knowledge you can and should tap into.

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