Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Puzzling Building Boom

I’ve mentioned many times that Chiclayo is experiencing rapid economic growth. Nowhere is that growth more apparent than in construction and remodeling, as in this photo where a third level is being added. It is literally impossible to walk more than three blocks in our area without seeing the familiar piles of sand and gravel with bags of concrete stacked nearby. What puzzles me is that some of the major projects have been in progress for over four years.

This is the Lucky Star Hotel on Santa Victoria Avenue not far from our apartment. It’s an impressive looking building that is showing no return on investment because it is not open. Every time we walk past we see some small progress, but it’s happening at a snail’s pace. I assume the interior is either completely finished or is not being worked on at all because we never see evidence of workmen or material. What we do see is small things such as a row of four lights added above the main door, or a portion of metal frame work has been painted.

This is the plaque from the inauguration ceremony. Notice the dedication took place on June 11, 2005….exactly 4 ½ years ago and it’s still not open. The inauguration ceremony itself is interesting. Most medium to large size businesses have one of these ceremonies either at the start of construction or at the opening of business. It’s a religious affair requiring God parents and a priest to bless the building and enterprise.

The Hotel Naylamp is apparently going to open some day as a four-star hotel, though it too has been under construction for over four years. Just as with the Lucky Star above, we see small signs of progress but nothing dramatic.

This shopping mall has actually shown signs of going backward in its short life. The only work we’ve see recently has been the demolition and remodeling of one wing – even though it hasn’t had one single tenant and has never been open.

We watched this condo go through several start and stop stages during the last four years. About 3 months ago the exterior plaster and paint was applied. That was the only work done in the past year. The entrances are bricked up so I don’t imagine it will be completed anytime soon.

Maribel has explained to me it is not uncommon in Peru to build until the money runs out, and resume when there is money for the next phase. I guess I can understand that logic. Weather isn’t going to affect the structures, and these properties usually employ security guards at night, but still I can’t help but think of all that money just sitting there, especially now for those uncompleted hotels when there are so many tourists in Chiclayo.


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