Panama City Skyline [Photo credits to Young in Panama on Flickr]
Earlier this month Fortune Magazine featured an article on â€˜Panamaniaâ€™, the explosive growth of Panamaâ€™s capital city in the last few years.
Panamaâ€™s economy is booming with 8.1% growth in 2006 and Panama City is the focus for a lot of this growth. The article quoted Adolfo Olloqui of Grupo Olloqui saying that Panama was inheriting the mantle of Miami (1500 km to the north) now that visa requirements are making entry to the US more difficult for many people from Central and South America (but see below). Grupo Olloqui itself was pitching to stamp its mark on the city with its Palacio de la Bahia (Palace of the Bay) which when finished in July 2009 would have been 350 metres tall, will have 97 floors, a hotel, 333 apartments, offices and commercial centres and will have cost $200m. In competition with the Palacio was the 104 storey Ice Tower residential and hotel block being developed by F & F Properties of Panama and due for completion in 2010. Since March there have been reports on the cancellation of both of these projects and in the case of the â€˜Palaceâ€™ it is alleged to be a sorry tale of poor planning, lack of proper liaison with the city authorities and cost disagreements between the developer and the architect.