|An artist's conception of the BD Bacatá towers.|
And the 66-floor, 240-meter BD Bacatá hotel/apartment/retail complex, being built on the north side of 19th St. and Carrera 5, even has an iconic name: Bacata was the local Muisca Indians' name for this area, which the Spanish and Colombians distorted into 'Bogotá'.
Certainly, having such a tall building will become a point of pride to the city, and hopefully draw positive attention, tourism and investment. And, if handled well, it could revitalize what is now a somewhat run-down and chaotic avenue. In general, building up is good for cities, since it increases density, enlivens city centers and enables more efficiency in supplying services, collecting garbage and in transit.
|Bogotá's skyline, seen from Concordia, will be changing.|
19th St. is chronically congested, polluted and chaotic. Carrera 5 is narrow, and barely moves during the evening rush hour. 20th St., on the building's north side is narrow but has light traffic but many student pedestrians who attend the university located there. That will change.
This new building, almost a neighborhood in itself with 700 parking spaces, will bring lots of traffic - and the least efficient, unmanageable type - delivery trucks which stop and start; taxis holding up traffic to pick up passengers. Not only that, but expect fancy shops and restaurants to sprout up nearby. That inevitable secondary development will generate still more traffic.
What's the solution?
|Carrera 5, east of the Bacatá's site, jammed with traffic.|
|This space on 19th St. will be filled by the Bacatá.|
But that will require lots of planning and investment, in particular in controlling traffic. Implementing a congestion charge and encouraging cycling will help.
|An artist's drawing of Bogotá's future skyline.|
If the Spanish-Colombian Cultural Center (or some other institution) is ever actually built at 19th's east end, then this avenue will become one of the city's more important corridors. But if it remains chaotic and polluted, then instead of a pride of the city, it'll be an embarrasment. But solutions will require real holistic planning.
The Torre Bicentenario
|The Torre Bicentenario going up beside the Hotel Continental.|
Under construction just a few blocks south, on the Plaza del Periodista, is the more modest Torre Bicentenario, across from the historic Hotel Continental. The Bicentenario will also contain hotel suites and apartments, but will fortunately be located quite near transit and in a very walkable area.
|Plaza del Periodista, with the Bicentenario going up in the background.|
|The Torre Colpatria, now Colombia's tallest building, seen from Ave. Septima.|
|Bogotá's skyline at night.|
|Central Bogotá seen against the hills.|
|The Torres del Parque, behind the Plaza de Toros, were designed by Rogelio Salmona.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours