UP IN THE SKY

Colombia 2016 | INFRASTRUCTURE & CONSTRUCTION | FOCUS: SKYSCRAPERS

Over the last few years, Colombia's construction boom has been gradually changing the face of its city vistas. Skyscrapers have arrived, catering for growing business demand and adding a new dimension to the traditional city architecture.

Bogotá is the capital of the country, both economically and politically, and unsurprisingly it has seen the grandest architectural additions. Several new skyscrapers are either under construction or in the planning stages. Such projects are becoming an increasing trend as the city struggles to cope with a lack of business space and high land costs. Most of these new skyscrapers are located in the important urban hubs of Cartagena, Barranquilla, Medellín, and Bucaramanga, where there are a total 16 skyscrapers, ranging from 42 to 96 floors, set to rise.

Colombia's first skyscraper, the Avianca Building, was built in 1965 and the second one, the Coltejer Building,was constructed in Medellín. From 1975 until 2015, Torre Colpatria, a 50-storey building measuring 196m high in Bogotá's center, held the record for being the tallest tower in Colombia. It took 40 years for the Torre Colpatria to lose its crown.

In June 2015, the new BD Bacatá tower, a 67-storey skyscraper measuring 240m, became the tallest building in Colombia and Latin America. The space is home to luxurious flats, offices, and a hotel, all of which are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Bogotá has welcomed the new skyline, and many see the development as a welcome fresh look and expect a corresponding increase in tourism. Many have compared the transformation to the revamping of cities like New York, Barcelona, and London, which were followed by boosts in visitors. Bogotá's renovation looks likely to open the city to new opportunities for construction companies and international investors, whose move from Caracas or Buenos Aires has been hampered by the previous lack of guarantees.

The strong and diverse development of Colombia's other cities is also peaking the interest of developers. The general manager of Proksol, Ricardo Uribe, assured TBY that developers are becoming increasingly interested in moving to mid-sized regional cities such as Medellín, Cali, and Barranquilla; “The cheaper prices and the climatic conditions of the coastal area attract the attention of investors to move their businesses."

Another project that is already under construction is the Atrio Towers, two massive skyscrapers located in the capital center, 44 and 59 floors respectively. The development will take BD Bacatá's crown, with one tower measuring 270m. This project will be finished by 2018 and is expected to attract new national and international business to Bogotá's heart. However, a crown jewel of a skyscraper waits just below the horizon. The Entre Calles will be a massive skyscraper that will top the World Trade Center of New York and the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur. The building's 96 floors will reach 420m into the sky. According to Obras de Bogotá, the project's construction will start at the end of 2017 and be the seal of approval on Bogotá's urban city center renovation.