Monday 13 October 2008
Cerro Concepcion Doesn't Need Giant Hotels
For anyone who's read this blog for a while or who knows me in real life, this won't come as a shock: I'm a capitalist pig who loves money, exploiting the poor and pie. But even evil-doers such as myself can see when someone is simply taking the piss. And that's what's happening right now on Cerro Concepcion: Someone is taking the piss out of everyone who lives here.
Now the local residents' association and I agree on some things and disagree on others. They want nothing at all to change on the hill whereas I'm generally in favour of new restaurants, boutique hotels, cafes and boutiques. I'm also in favour of old properties that are in terminal decline and pose fire and other risks being converted into loft apartments and offices. This is the way to attract new investment in the city, new life and new residents. It won't happen overnight but I believe it's the way forward as this city desperately needs investment and it won't get any from a public source.
But I truly don't believe that there's space for a 43 room hotel on Cerro Concepcion, particularly one that insults the architectural heritage of this neighbourhood. Enough mistakes have been made like this already. This hotel will put a massive strain on the infrastructure of the Cerro. It's just too cramped up here to support a hotel of this scale. For those of you that know the area, the proposed site is on the former carpark on the corner of Abtao and Templeman.
The area of the city for which this project would be perfect is, quite obviously, Barrio Puerto. This is a neighbourhood that needs revitalising. The design of the hotel (which actually gets easier on the eye the more you look at it but is not suitable for the cerros) would fit in much better down there. It could be even bigger than 43 rooms. It could be a part of the regeneration of a really run down neighbourhood. There are possible sites in Calles Serrano and Cochrane.
Hell, even a little further up on Cerro Alegre would be more suitable for a project this size, where there's more space and everything's a little less constricted. But Cerro Concepcion is simply not the place for this hotel. This is something the Junta de Vecinos and I can completely agree on.