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Patrick Osio, The Big Sur of Baja Salsipuedes by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine


The Big Sur Of Baja
750-acre Salsipuedes property offers
spectacular coastal views for development

In the early 1960s, after the opening of the Tijuana to Ensenada scenic coastal toll highway, visitors began noticing a highway sign announcing “Salsipuedes 3 kilometers” (1.8 miles) from its exit. Spanish-speaking Americans were curious at the name as its translation is “get out if you can.” For non-Spanish speakers it was just one of those names with lots of letters.

Passing the Salsipuedes highway sign, frequent visitors begin to look forward to the spectacular view they are about to experience again. First-time visitors are not prepared for the beauty of the land and stunning views of carved coastal reefs, offshore islands and azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. For those who visited central California’s Big Sur in the 1950s or earlier, there is an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu.

Locals translate Salsipuedes as “leave if you can,” indicating that once at Salsipuedes, there is a longing to remain. Lore or not, it’s true.

On the east and west sides of the scenic road are 750 acres of land owned by Grupo Lagza, a largely Mexican-owned binational real estate development company with offices in Tijuana and San Diego and partners from Mexico and the United States. Lagza was founded by a family whose roots in the Rosarito Beach area date to the 1870s. Over the years they accumulated a great deal of property, forming the company in 1989. Initially, the company processed subdivisions and sold lots for home construction.

In 1997, many of the company’s clients came from the United States, primarily Mexican Americans from the Los Angeles area. In response Lagza incorporated in California and opened sales offices in San Diego and Los Angeles. To date, it has 28 projects under its belt and more than 30,000 clients.

Lagza management noticed a demand from affluent Hispanics and non-Hispanics for first-class coastal and inland developments in Baja California, particularly in the Valle de Guadalupe’s wine country.

With partners, Lagza purchased the 750-acre Salsipuedes property, adding it to its 6,000-acre land holdings, which includes 2,500-acre El Olivar in the Valle de Guadalupe for future development.

Lagza believes the way for Baja to attract high-end buyers is to develop Community Planned Developments (CPDs) as opposed to the standard Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). An economic and marketing study conducted by The London Group confirmed Lagza’s beliefs.

Lagza believes Salsipuedes has the potential to be the crown jewel of the Baja coast if properly developed. The CPD master plan calls for better than half the property to remain open space. Five villages are proposed, each offering a combination of housing choices and small boutique hotels, restaurants, stores, a clinic and pharmacy. The development would have its own law enforcement, fire department, trash pickup, sewer treatment and utilities. Salsipuedes would obtain water from its own well and an aqueduct. It also would have a section set aside for worker housing.

The first phase of five is called “The Village.” It consists of a boutique hotel and a mix of condos, homes and estate-size lots plus a commercial village with stores, cafes and restaurants. When completed, Salsipuedes will become a retirement or vacation haven of 2,680 residences and guests in the five planned village hotels — so much beauty for so few.

Lagza contracted with San Diego attorney John McNeece of Luce Forward for legal advice. McNeece says Lagza will provide title insurance through First American Title to buyers. Site covenants to protect the long-term investment and beauty of Salsipuedes will be stringent and construction will meet U.S. standards, says McNeece.

Patrick Osio Jr. can be reached at posiojr@sandiegometro.com. The veteran consultant also has issued The Mexican Perspective, an intensive primer on business culture and protocol. Copies are available at www.hispanicvista.com/sales/book_sale.htm.


Published Saturday, November 18, 2006 7:51 AM by Zinnia Q.

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