Retiring in Mexico: No Longer Just a Dream

Written by Posted On Sunday, 22 April 2007 17:00

"Sounds so simple I just got to go," James Taylor sings about Mexico. That's exactly what the developers of a new American-developed, full-ownership, beachfront, active adult community in Mexico are hoping seniors will do.

"We chose Mexico for a couple of reasons. One, we know that it's a major second-home destination for people in the 50-plus demographic anyway and what isn't [developed] down there is the active-adult community. That's just a very rare breed down there," says Lee Ratta, Senior Vice President Organizational Advancement, Front Porch.

So Front Porch Development Company set out to create something very unique in Mexico.

"We actually had someone approach us from Mexico," says Ratta. She says that Grupo Krone, a very-well-known major company in Mexico, is partnering with Front Porch to create Luma.

When completed Luma will offer more than 400 residences located on Mexico's Pacific Coast in Nuevo Vallarta which is just 15 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta Airport and 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta.

"There's a strong sense of wellbeing that is attached to Luma; a strong sense that you can come here and sort of explore new adventures, says Ratta.

Luma will consist of 20 developed acres with more than 400 residences in a marina setting including 264 beachfront properties in seven beachfront towers. The other residences will be built in a marina low-rise setting complete with slips for boat rentals. Luma's first phase is set to open in the Fall of 2008 with about 40 residences. The properties range in size from about 1,800 to 3,800 square feet. Currently the beachfront property is being sold.

"They start at about $400,000 on the first floor and they go up to about $1.2 million for the penthouse level. Those are extraordinarily good prices for pristine white-sand beach in this paradise-village area," says Ratta.

Ratta says there will be a personalized and customized lifestyle-assisted program for its residents. So if residents need help with travel, chef services, or even finding a companion to live with them, the concierge team will help facilitate those needs and desires.

The property is being built to American standards. Ratta says that includes following the Americans with Disabilities Act development guidelines.

"What that means is all of the floor plans have the universal design, no barriers. The slope on the property is such that people with disabilities can navigate more easily; it just makes it more livable for people 50 and older," explains Ratta.

Ratta refers to the Luma property as a "thoughtful experience". The amenities alone show that a lot of attention to a lifestyle of active living was considered in the development of the community.

"On the beachfront we'll have all the salt-water infinity pools. We have a little turtle sanctuary adjacent to our property which we will support and help with that charitable work. We will have a full beachfront restaurant and bar, a wellbeing center on the oceanfront that will have the gym, life coaching, and all the classes: Pilates, yoga, etc. We have an onsite clinic. We have a conference center, pub, bistro, library -- it's a full community," says Ratta.

While this project is targeting seniors, Ratta says Mexico does not allow age-restricted developments.

"However, our CC&Rs will have some restrictions about how children will be welcomed and what their access will be to certain amenities and services and that sort of thing. While people 50 and older will have their children or grandchildren visit, and they will certainly be welcomed and accomodated, we will not have children living at Luma. It will be an age-targeted community," says Ratta.

Ratta says there has been an overwhelming response to the upcoming community project. Part of the interest could be because in the 1990s, Mexico's laws were revamped making it easier for foreigners to invest in real estate there. Ratta says you do have full ownership of the residence.

"It's akin to fee simple. You do own the property. However, you own it through a Mexican land trust," explains Ratta.

"We have almost 900 people on our interest list," says Ratta. They are coming from all over the country including California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, New York, and Florida. For more information on the Luma community visit . The sales center opens at the end or May onsite in Mexico.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or [email protected]. Visit for more information.

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