By Phin Upham
In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, a large tower stands unfinished over the rest of the city. The Centro Financiero Confinanzas was supposed to the be a hotel/office building, and it was to rival the tallest buildings in the country. Unfortunately, that plan was halted in 1994.
The tower was first conceived by a man named David Brillembourg, who became the primary investor behind the project. He died in 1993, and production halted in 1994 as the country faced a major financial crisis.
The Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged the country’s poorest residents to move into the abandoned building and reclaim it. The structure had no running water, no elevators and barely any railings to keep people from falling. By the early 2000s, those squatters had turned the structure into a bustling city of illegal squatters.
They had rigged electrical generators, claiming every aspect of the structure and repurposing those rooms as needed. They had shops, barbershops and a building management system by the time the squatters were finally pushed out in 2014.
The tower itself was meant to be self-sustaining. People would be able to work within its office complexes, dine at its cafes and live on its grounds, but the project was a monumental failure. The tower had a violent past, but it was mostly viewed as a refuge or safe haven.
Residents who were forced out of the structure say they will miss certain things about it. Easy access to public transportation was one of many benefits to living there, and some even developed a sentimental attachment to it.
About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.