The Washington Post Business section reports today that AOL’s founder Steve Case is opening up an $800-million, 650-acre luxury resort in the middle of the northwest Pacific corner of Costa Rica. Case, who grew up in Hawaii, says he’s committed to ensuring the “environmental preservation” and “cultural authenticity” of the predominantly rainforest and rugged coastline area and won’t allow it to become a tourist disaster like Waikiki.
But one can take little comfort that Steve’s got those of us who have spent years seeking refuge and rejuvenation in this beautiful destination at heart – he’s brought on Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf to do the tennis and fitness center, Tom Doak to build the golf course and Phillipe Cousteau to serve as a special adviser on environmental issues and “develop activities.”
I have been going to Costa Rica for years, every year on my birthday in December, to surf the day and reflect on the things that matter most in my life. And in full disclosure, I have taken my wife and stayed at the Four Season’s resort that currently sits on the Papagayo peninsula where Mr. Case seeks to create a massive building boom. I have not found that the Four Season’s resort detracts from the entire region. So perhaps there is hope that Mr. Case’s intentions are genuine and he too will not ruin one of the greatest places on Earth.
But if he does, I will never forgive him for it.