Monday, September 24, 2012

Who's Caring for La Candelaria?

These podlike apartments look like they belong in Miami. 
This Oxxo store recently opened on Calle 11 in La Candelaria, just uphill from the Botero Museum and Luis Angel Arango Library. Granted, the building it's in isn't particularly colonial, but Oxxo looks like it belongs in a Southern California strip mall, not Bogotá's historical center.

Oxxo also replaced a small mall containing a half-dozen small, family-owned businesses, including a stationery store, a lunchery, a photocopy place and an Internet cafe - services important to students and residents. What does Oxxo sell? Mostly alchohol and junk food.

Who approved this monstrosity which uglifies the street but adds nothing to the community?

Here are some more buildings which don't seem to belong in La Candelaria:

When it was built several years ago, this very non-colonial building on Carrera 2 and Calle 9 was criticized by neighbors. Why did planning officials approve it? Why didn't they require the builders to at least put a colonial-style tile roof? 

The Corral hamburger place on Carrera 2 and Calle 11 has a good rep for hamburgers. But its faux-colonial construction won't convince many. The owner of the genuinely old building which had occupied the corner lot had allowed the building to sag and collapse in order to be permitted to demolish and replace it. 

El Corral's flourescent lighting looks none-too colonial at night. 
And some other neighborhood scenes....

A building on Carrera 3 and Calle 9 has seen better times. Will it be saved or allowed to decay further?

The Abadia Colonial hotel on Calle 11 was beautifully restored by its Italian owner. 

This apartment complex on Carrera 2 has been vacant for years, and for a while was occupied by squatters. Will someone restore it? 

Pedestrians walk past a handsome old home on Calle 12. 

Two views of Calle 9 in the evening. 

An old sign advertises 'chicha'.

The restored fountain on the Plaza del Chorro, where Bogotá was founded. 

Graffiti adds nothing to the neighborhood. 

But colorful house painting does wonders. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Ann Kroon said...

wonderful and informative post. I want to buy and restore the apartment building :) thanks for posting!

mauricio forero l said...

Awesome post Mike. It is so sad to see that the original Candelaria is being replaced by such ugly and cheap looking kind of buildings. Who is in charge of this?? The building on carrera 2 ( the apartment complex ) I remember in the seventies was a beautiful place, my grandfather had a friend living there and, it was really nice. Anyway, great post.

M. F.

Miguel said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm going to point this Oxxo out to local neighborhood activists, altho anybody who's not blind can see what an eyesore it is.

But, perhaps, by making noise about it, it won't happen again. We can always hope that Oxxo goes bankrupt, altho the markets for addictive substances and junk food appear inexhaustable.