In the News from Panama

Ocean Club Owners Get Early Xmas Present

By Duncan McGowan

It’s been a great few days for owners in The Ocean Club Panama, the former Trump Ocean Club, Panama City’s iconic waterfront tower.

First came word that J.W. Marriott is taking over operations of the hotel, linking one of the world’s great brands to the tower. Then two days later owners received notice that the homeowners association would pay out more than $626,000 to owners, “as a result of the improved financial condition and cash position” of the group.

Each eligible owner will $5.00 per square meter, based upon the size of their unit. The distribution will go toward credit on current or past homeowners fees.

The distribution reflects the improved efficiency and maintenance since the homeowners came together and dropped Trump Condominium Management in 2015. Since then maintenance of the common areas has improved and the group has been able to find significant cost savings. In 2017 homeowner fees were cut by 13 percent.

In the note announcing the distribution, association president Griselda L. Perez said the board of directors is reviewing current fees, “but early indications are that no increases of common area maintenance (CAM) are necessary and/or required.” (Disclosure: PPR president Duncan McGowan is the president of the residential component of the building.)

Over the years, the association has been able to find a variety of ways to cut costs and improve efficiency in the tower, including a drop in energy costs, better preventive maintenance, and reconfigured staffing.