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Columbian Jaime Gilinski's Panama Project Branded 'Most Audacious Real Estate Venture In The World'

Posted by Staff Reporter on Mar 28, 2016 08:30 AM EDT
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On its way through the Panama Canal at Miraflores Locks the Cable and Wireless Adventurer the British built Vessel which is on course to break the record to circumnavigate the globe in less then 80 days. The vessel sets off on its next leg to Kingston Mandatory. (Photo : Getty Images/Graham Chadwick)

Howard Air Force Base was known worldwide as a military installation right along the Panama Canal, where the United States fended off guerillas and fought off dictators. Sixteen years after the U.S. forces left, there is a new man in charge. Colombian businessman Jaime Gilinski plans to transform the base into a brand-new city. He had already accumulated $1.4 billion and there are billions still to come. 

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Gilinski convinced dozens of stores, office buildings and warehouses with brand names such as Caterpillar, 3M and Dell to put up roots in the city. Across the 4,450-acre expanse, Gilinski pointed out a university campus, thousands of new homes, a basketball court, schools, parks, an airport, an amphitheater, a golf course, a shopping mall, and a hospital.

This property is slated to be the most audacious real estate project globally. The project started as nothing more than an idea of the son of a famous entrepreneur who tried his luck with several businesses before making it big in manufacturing manual tools.

Gilinski, the 58-year-old businessman, flipped over the largest bank in Colombia in 1994, combined it with a rival in 1998 and then began searching the globe for his next big project. After U.S. troops left Howard in 1999, he began planning of ways to redevelop the base, which spanned an area more than five times the width of Central Park, according to a report from Forbes.

Since he had no real estate experience, Gilinski contacted Ian Livingstone who became a billionaire by developing real estate in Europe, but had never thought of investing in Latin America. When Livingstone was on a trip to the Bahamas in 2004, Gilinski convinced him to stop by Panama and see for himself. They rented a helicopter and surveyed the land. Together they developed a grand plan to buy the wasteland, rename it Panama Pacifico and construct an entirely new city from scratch, according to a report from The Bulletin Panama.

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