Barranquilla is investing US$30 million to revamp its historic center and is seeking to promote foreign investment by making itself an attractive base for multinationals and industrial companies.
The same company that restored the Puerto Madero riverside area in Buenos Aires will be responsible for transforming the historic city center of Barranquilla.
“With an investment of 60 billion pesos (US$30 million) we will build a convention center that allows us to compete in business and event tourism,” said department Governor Eduardo Verano de la Rosa.
Within six months, bidding will open for building contracts which will include a trade fair center and a special area for Barranquilla’s famous carnival held in February, reported daily La Republica.
The facades of the historic center will be renovated, along with administrative buildings and housing complexes. The ambitious project has the support of the Chamber of Commerce, the District and the private sector.
“There will be a branch for international companies’ call centers and online support centers,” Verano de la Rosa said.
Steel manufacturing giant Votorantim is still interested in establishing a steel plant in the department, proving that Barranquilla is continuing to flourish, “but it all depends on how the world economy recovers and the price of the product,” the Governor said.
Verano de la Rosa said that in the past year about 120 companies have settled in the area, “due to its exporting possibilities.” Alfagres, a ceramics and flooring company, has a factory in Barranquilla and “are investing US$80 million to serve the American market and the region.”
Furthermore, the department hopes to improve their medical facilities to attract foreign patients interested in cosmetic and eye surgery.
“We have a free zone for the health sector that is under construction and has expanded the supply of beds and medical equipment,” the governor said.
There are also talks to construct a new airport between Cartagena and Barranquilla in the Totumo swamp. “It would be the second airport in the country and the largest of the Caribbean Region,” said Verano de la Rosa.