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UPDATE: Cotino, Storyliving by Disney

Progress continues at Contino in Rancho Mirage. This is a massive project designed by the Walt Disney Company and built by DMB Development. The area is bordered by Bob Hope to the west, Gerald Ford to the north, Monterey Avenue to the east, and Frank Sinatra to the south.

Site grading began last year and the progress is impressive. Grading essentially means moving the earth around so that the contours of the land match the specifications of the architects and engineers. There is a manmade lagoon and beach in this project, so there is a substantial amount of dirt and rock that needs to be removed to deepen and enhance the natural depression where this body of water will go. They're calling this body of water "Cotino Bay."

View from a distance of Cotino by Disney
Taken from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Rancho Mirage, you can see the earth movement at Cotino by Disney.

During this phase of development, all underground utilities are installed. This includes power, natural gas, waste lines, and water lines. Interestingly, the builder committed to essentially doubling the waste and fresh waterline systems by including "gray water" processing. Gray water is used water, but not water contaminated by toxins like human or animal waste, harsh chemicals, or large amounts of food waste. This secondary system will capture water for irrigating the community landscaping. This is actually common, and often you see signs posted on golf courses or in city street medians that say "Nonpotable water being used; do not drink." In these cases, they're using gray water for irrigation. It's a HUGE benefit to get more than one use out of water, and this sort of gray water system will dramatically reduce water consumption for years to come.

A few more details have been released. They are:

  1. the perimeter wall is in progress with several hundred yards completed; this will encircle Cotino completely

  2. a total of 1900 homes are planned

  3. housing will be released in phases

  4. retail is being confirmed (Contino will include a shopping district)

  5. the sales office is expected to open in late 2023

It appears as if the main website has added some essential disclosures. For example, they're now making clear that access to Contino Bay and other amenities within the development are not included with homeownership. Think of this like owning a home in Mission Hills but not having access to the Mission Hills Country Club or the golf courses without also buying a club membership.

This begs the question if non-Contino homeowners will be able to buy a membership. Will have to wait to find out, as no details on Conito memberships have been released.

It's also worth noting that among the disclosures is a caveat that no guarantee is made that the project will be built or finished. This is a common fine print on any new housing development. Essentially, when you buy a brand new home, the builder reserves the right to stop construction at any time without penalty. They might do this if home sales are slow or non-existent. They may hit some sort of financial difficulty. Or, if a lawsuit associated with the project begins, say from the HOA or a governing body, they may use the threat of stopping all future construction to negotiate a settlement.

You can mitigate your risk by purchasing in the last phase when all other work has finished. However, you may also pay a premium as compared to the early phase(s). This is a direct example of where risk has value.

I cannot emphasize enough that if you're considering a purchase in Cotino or just want to explore the options, take your Realtor® of choice with you on the very first visit.

I appreciate you "don't want to bother him or her," but if you "just go look," the developer will register you and your friendly Realtor® will not be paid by the builder when you bring them in later. That means you either pay for representation out of pocket, or you are not represented during the transaction.

Let me repeat that.

The nice sales representative who quickly goes over the new home purchase agreement and takes you to the design center IS NOT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE. They have NO FUDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO YOU. They are not obligated to point out options you have in your investigation period. They won't tell you when you should have a home inspection. (They probably won't tell you CAN have a home inspection.) They won't review with you the finer points of the purchase agreement, like whether or not the builder must finish selling all the homes in the development BEFORE any resales occur. (Think about that in relation to the caveat that they don't have to finish the project. Talk about legal limbo!)

If I can be of service, please reach out. I always make time for my current clients, their referrals, and those who'd like to get to know how I work. I'm at (760) 325-1900.

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