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— In two months, Abadi and his staff of attractive saleswomen sold 110 condominiums, mostly to Mexicans but a few to Americans, despite the fact that New City hasn't been marketed in the United States. "There have been a lot of Americans coming through, we don't know from where."

As Abadi talks, one of his sales agents leads an English-speaking couple into the model condominium for a tour. Jeff Cranford and his wife, who is Mexican, live in North Park, but their children attend school in Tijuana not far from the New City development. Cranford, a U.S. Customs agent, says he saw a billboard for New City just south of the border while bringing his kids to school one day. He and his wife came back for a visit and, he says, "We were blown away. We've looked at condos and townhomes around North Park, and some of the condos are running $500,000 to $600,000, and you are not getting anything. So we saw this place and saw how nice the models look, plus all of the amenities, for $180,000. It was unbelievable. We came back today to meet with the bank to talk about financing."

Abadi says Americans will be able to buy New City condos with U.S. financing, which is offered at far lower rates than Mexican financing. Mexican law stipulates that foreigners can't own real estate within 50 kilometers of the coast and 100 kilometers of the border. Property, including condominiums, in that "restricted zone" must be purchased through a bank trust. Abadi says that's a good thing because trusts make ownership simpler and cheaper. "As a Mexican," he explains, "every time you buy or sell property you have to pay taxes. With a trust, you don't pay those taxes."

Not that Abadi wants speculators buying his condominiums only to resell them or rent them out. Renting will not be allowed. And when it comes to selling, "We will have the first option to buy it back from you. If we don't want to buy it, we will let you put it on the market, but for a minimum price."

Controlling the buying and selling of the condominiums will allow Abadi and his associates to control the type of customer who buys into New City. "We cannot discriminate," he is quick to point out. "Mexican law won't allow it. But when we see somebody that we don't like, we try to give him a little hard time about the possibilities of paying and buying here. If he is able to pay, then it gets a little bit more complicated. But Mexico is not like the United States. Here when people see that we aren't looking at them in the right way, they will say, 'This is not for us.' Mexican people live where they feel they will be comfortable with the people around them."

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