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Region: private cities

Monday, March 12, 2012

Don’t like your city? Worried about noise, pollution or crime? No problem. Build your own. In the western suburbs of San José, two groups are developing projects, which involve not merely a gated residential community, but a mini town, separated from the outside world, in which people can live, work, and be entertained.

The latest project, Distrito Cuatro, to be inaugurated next year, consists of 215 residential units in seven buildings, a mall with 38 stores, a gym, yoga solan and club house, as well a a mini supermarket.

Meanwhile, Avenida Escazú has been around since 2009, but will double in size during the next few years, covering an area of 8 hectares (20 acres). A project of Promerica Financial Corporation, Avenida Escazú when complete will involve an investment of $150 million.

Avenida Escazú currently has 98 residences, 38 stores, 17 offices, a hotel , a gym, and an IMAX movie theatre, with a supermarket soon to open.

Neither mini city has a medical clinic, but just a few steps away is the Cima Hospital, a subsidiary of Dallas-based International Hospital Corporation.

Neither project has a school. On the other hand, most of the residents are young copules, older couples and foreigners, few of whom have children, who live with them.

A mini city may not be the same as a real town, where people with different ways of life share a common space. But in a region where common spaces are not always attractive or safe, the private city may be an increasing important alternative.


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