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2018 May June Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTS Man-made islands create a protected basin for Ocean Reef Islands Marina (left), which will be developed in line with the CGI (below). Inviting the world to Panama by Robert Wilkes When talking about travel you may get the question, “Have you been to Germany?” One might answer, “Why, yes. I changed planes in Frankfurt.” Clearly, the Frankfurt airport is not Germany. Likewise, Panama. Since the canal opened in 1914 and erased 12,875km (8,000mi) of sea travel between east and west, millions have transited. How many have really seen Panama? Alfredo Aleman, CEO of Grupo Los Pueblos, is a visionary developer who wants you to see Panama. He is the builder of Ocean Reef Islands Marina and residential development in the heart of Panama City, the metropolitan centre of the fastest growing economy in Latin America. “Everyone knows Panama is a crossroads,” said Aleman. “We want them to see it as a destination. We want them to discover our cosmopolitan cities, our national parks and our beautiful islands and beaches.” As the financial centre of Latin America, Panama City has seen 60 new skyscrapers added to its Singapore-like skyline in the last ten years. Founded in 1519, the cobblestone streets and old-world charm of Casco Viejo (the Old Quarter) keep history alive. For the adventurous, Panama is a mecca for marlin sport fishing and its verdant mountains and virgin rainforests offer endless opportunities for ecotourism. The original concept Because of challenging tidal factors and lack of space within the bustling core, Panama City has few moorage options for larger yachts. Aleman, an experienced property developer and a boater, recognised an opportunity to satisfy the needs of successful Panamanians whose numbers are increasing in proportion to Panama’s vibrant economy. Many love the scenic boating environment in Panama with its enchanting archipelagos such as Las Perlas (Pearl Islands) and Coiba Island (part of Coiba National Park) on the Pacific side. They own or want to own a yacht but need to have a secure slip near to the city. Aleman began the process of planning, permitting and arranging financing ten years ago. His vision was an exclusive residential and marina complex on two man-made islands connected to the city by a private causeway. The basin formed between the islands would embrace a marina in the centre, private docks on the shoreline and an upscale clubhouse at one end. A system of breakwaters would protect the boats Visionary developer from weather and Alfredo Aleman. long-period waves unique to the Pacific side of Panama. Panama offers a major advantage: it is well outside the storm track of Caribbean hurricanes. The ambitious project presented many challenges, not the least was convincing investors and lenders it could be done. Indeed, it has been done. The islands (the first man-made islands ever built on Latin America’s Pacific coast) and the causeway are complete and numerous residences are occupied by their owners. Residences are mostly private, single-family homes, but also include luxury condominiums and garden apartments. The marina, with 60% of the slips already leased, is undergoing engineering and design. Parks, tennis courts and other amenities have been delivered. The - May/June 2018 17

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