Industrial properties in Costa Rica can include factory-office multiuse property, factory-warehouse multiuse property, heavy manufacturing buildings, industrial parks (areas designed and zoned for manufacturing and associated activities), light manufacturing buildings, and research and development parks. About half of all industrial properties are located in San Jose with the rest being primarily found in Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago. Of these firms, most are micro-enterprises that employ between one and four people and small to medium enterprises, with the smallest percentage being companies that employ 100 people or more.
The arrival of Intel Corporation in Costa Rica in 1998 marked the first large-scale manufacturing venture in Costa Rica. Until then the vast majority were small-scale light manufacturing enterprises. Coffee-drying plants, sugar mills, cheese factories, sawmills, woodworking factories, breweries, and distilleries characterize the majority of the manufacturing sector. Factories produce petroleum products, furniture, paper, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, footwear, cigars, cigarettes, jewelry, and clothing, not to mention the multiple hydro and thermoelectric plants and wind farms that provide the country’s energy needs which are scattered throughout the country.
There are very different aspects to consider when searching for an industrial property in Costa Rica. Obviously, finding an existing property that suits your specific needs would be ideal. However, most likely you will have to modify the property to cater to your individual industry. All potential modifications will have to be discussed with and approved by the property owner and completed according to relevant building codes and laws. Cleanup of the property from the preexisting company may be required as well and should be considered as a possible additional expense. Environmental regulations are very strict in Costa Rica and compliance is mandatory.
Finding a Costa Rica industrial property for rent could also be difficult as the vast majority are located in just a few select areas, mostly in and around the capital. Rural locations will most likely consist of industries related to agriculture, and industrial facilities in the coastal and tourist areas are virtually non-existent. However, the costs of renting and renovating a rural property will be substantially less than in the areas around San Jose and may offset the additional expenses of being outside the main industrial area.
Of course, finding a facility for research and development poses much fewer challenges as most require less overall space (many can be housed in one large, multi-story building), industrial zoning requirements may not be required (depending on the industry), and the necessary building modifications could be substantially reduced, thus decreasing overall expenditure.