The World’s Tallest Shopping Mall?

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The World’s Tallest Shopping Mall?

The 19th Street entrance to the Bacatá’s shopping mall.

The BD Bacatá was supposed to be a Bogotá landmark – and it is turning out to be, just not in the way its builders and the city had hoped.

At 67 stories and 217 stories, it is the tallest building in Colombia, the second tallest in South America and the world’s first crowd-funded high-rise – and may be close to going broke.

Huawei, one of the mall’s tenants.

According to news reports, the builders haven’t paid contractors, and investors are asking where their money is. Even the building’s name has been seized as an asset, according to one report.

The builders insist that they will finish the building – but it’s already years overdue.

Meanwhile, some of the apartments in the shorter northern tower have been occupied, and the ground floor mall is functioning, altho some of the stores have yet to open.

Fashionable bags, coming soon.

Building a mega-project in a run-down section of downtown Bogotá always looked like a challenge. And the project ran into various challenges, including a huge rock at the site, and legal complications stemming from the building’s wide variety of tenants: the shopping mall, offices, restaurants, apartments and a luxury hotel.

The Bacatá seen from Plaza Las Nieves,
a run-down district a few blocks away.

The project was perhaps a bad idea for non-economic reasons as well. Its adjoining streets are already congested and chaotic, and the surrounding blocks have little public space and no green space at all.

For the good of Bogotá, and especially downtown, let’s hope that the Bacatá limps to completion. The blocks to the project’s north are full of apartment blocks and university buildings under construction. It would be a pity to have an unfinished eyesore standing between the university district and the historical center.

If the Bacatá’s owners cannot round up the resources to complete their project, hopefully the bank or a big investor (Donald Trump?) will step in a do so.

Until then, call the Bacatá’s south tower the world’s tallest shopping mall.

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