High Rises in Costa Rica?

Today I watched on the local news in C.R that there´s a project for a building in downtown San José that would stand more than 33 stories high. I´m still so utterly amazed because I never thought I´d see something like that in this country. Not that I think it isn´t possible, but because I´ve heard that they can´t build anything more than 14 stories high because of the earthquakes here. Panama boasts of having the tallest skyline in Central America, but they don´t have earthquakes there.

I also get the same creepy feeling hearing that they are building over 20 story buildings in the Pacific shoreline. Though, in a way it would seem only reasonable because of the price of realestate in The pacific coast. Property there jumped from less than a thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands dollars when it was learned that enormous developments were awaiting to be built in Guanacaste and Puntarenas. And now it´s not uncommon to hear about property valued in more than a million dollars. So it really beats me why they would risk building something like that in spite of the more than 7 degree earthquake that´s expected could occur during this decade in that area (it´s over an active fault). If the rationale behind this is that the land will become so expensive that they would have to grow skywards, I can see the point. But, then again, I hope they really know what they´re doing.

The building downtown is part of a plan to bring population back to the town, in the hope that if there is more people living in it, they would take better care of it. During the last decade, over 75.000 inhabitants left the downtown area because of the polution and increasing crime that was making life miserable, and it still is in spite of the efforts by the government to give it a makeover. I remember it was that way in Cleveland back in the seventies, I don´t know now. We would say some years ago that whatever brings progress to this country can´t be all that bad, but after seeing the inordinate way they have been developing Guanacaste where they aren´t even getting enough water any longer in a province that already had a water shortage to start with even before the tourism craze, lot´s of people are getting wary of development at the cost of losing natural resources and protected areas near national parks (25% of the total Costa Rica territory is devoted to National Parks). The government says they are working on a regulating plan for the Pacific but the industry is growing at a much faster pace causing concern among many sectors.

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