Monday, June 04, 2007

Mel Gibson buys ranch in Guanacaste

Actor and director Mel Gibson has purchased a $25.8 million ranch that sprawls across 163 hectares (402 acres) on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, the Spanish news agency EFE said.

The property was acquired by a corporation controlled by the director of "The Passion of the Christ", and the purchase closed on April 30. According to estimates of financial weekly Costa Rican magazine "El financiero" Gibson paid almost $26 million on April 30 for the property.

The ranch faces Barrigona Beach in Guanacaste, a province on Costa Rica's northern Pacific coast, some 300 km west of the capital, San Jose.

In the area where the property is located, urban and touristic development is minimal and most of the inhabitants live off ranching and farming in a wooded, mountainous landscape bordered by beautiful beaches.

Locals seemed enthusiastic about their new neighbour, but some say the purchase of the ranch will cost them jobs, since apparently Gibson has no plans for any type of economic activity on his property and will only use it as a vacation home.

The previous owner had houses on the land for rental by tourists and engaged in other tourism-related activities that kept 13 workers employed, a number that will drop to six as Gibson takes over.

In recent years the actor has been a frequent visitor to Costa Rica, which led to speculation in the press that he was looking for possible locations for his movies or was seeking investment opportunities.

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