Paseo Colón tower becomes a symbol for optimism

World famous architect Ismael Leyva displays a rendering of the finished project on his iPad while partner José Luis Salinas discusses a construction point with technical manager Ricardo Molina, another architect. Photo: A.M. Costa Rica

A new high rise, Torres Paseo Colón, will be the tallest building in San José when workmen finish the remaining upper floors.

Even more than that, the $45 million project is a beacon in a real estate market that has not been kind to investors and sellers during the last three years.

José Luis Salinas, president of Grupo Imobilario del Parque, says his Paseo Colón project is 80 percent sold. The first phase contains 100 condos starting in the mid $100s and 65 office
spaces. When the second and final phase is finishing is 2013, the structure will bear a striking resemblance to New York City’s Times Warner Center. That should not be a surprise.

World famous architect Ismael Leyva is a partner in the project, and he and his New York firm designed the Times Warner Center.

Molina and Leyva are framed by the north view from the 18th floor. Photo: A.M. Costa Rica

On the unfinished 18th floor Thursday Salinas pointed out his second active project west of the downtown near the Hotel San José Palacio on the Autopista General Cañas.

Salinas, also an architect, and his development firm were responsible for transforming the south side of Parque la Sabana with high rises. He is a hands-on executive and said he walked the streets of San José looking for the best spot for the current project.

“Crisis is opportunity,” he said of the current real estate market. For others in real estate the optimism of Salinas and the presence of a man like Leyva are very positive signs. Leyva was born in México and has worked in the United States as an architect 30 years ago. His firm is responsible for some three dozen major projects in and around New York City. He has projects in the Middle East and in China now.

José Luis Salinas '...Crisis is opportunity'

The contractor, Constructora Proycon S.A., is supposed to deliver the first phase, the tower fronting Paseo Colón, in July. The upper floors have commanding views of the volcanic mountains north of San José and a distant glimpse to the east of the structure it will eclipse as the city’s tallest building when finished, the headquarters of Banco Nacional in the heart of the city.

Others have shown optimism, too. A supermarket will occupy part of the ground floor even though Palî is next door in the former Mas x Menos location.

The condo and office towers fit well with Johnny Araya’s goal of repopulating San José. The condos in this project are smaller and suitable for older couples or young families just starting out. Of course there is a swimming pool and a kiddie pool as well as a running track, said Leyva.

The project lacks the multi-floor hotel and world-class restaurants that are found in the Times Warner Center, but the Paseo Colón location is central to most of what the city has to offer. Banco Nacional is the principal financing entity for the project, but Salinas said that other individuals involved in the development work have purchased condos.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.