The Tower of David Remains Vacant

The Tower of David Remains Vacant

In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands an interesting skyscraper with a twisted past and an unknown future. It could stand as a symbol of the country’s current economic problems, but Torre de David’s issues go back 20 years, as told by an article in The Daily Beast
In the late 980s a banking boom stimulated David Brillembourg, a banker with the Confinanzas Group, to build a complex of bank buildings to turn Caracas into a local version of a Wall Street-like financial center. The tower was intended to be part of an entire complex called Centro Financiero Confinanzas, as designed by Enrique Gomez.

Construction began in 1990. However, Brillembourg died in 1993, and, about the same time, the banking boom in Venezuela collapsed. There was no longer a market demand for a grand complex of banking and office buildings, and no more visionary to push for the project.

Construction therefore stopped in 1994 as revealed by The concrete core of the tower was completed, but only partially glassed in. So the building just stood there, empty, for many years. In 2001 the government tried to sell it, but got no takers. In 2007 squatters, 200 families, moved in even though the building had no electricity, water or services of any kind, including elevators. Despite that lack, eventually an estimated 5,000 people moved up and occupied the 28th floor of the building. It became famous the world as a vertical slum. Eventually, criminals moved in, brought bootleg electricity and water, and helped keep order along with dealing illegal drugs.

At one point, reportedly some of David’s Chinese investor friends planned to buy the building. The government evicted all the squatters to housing projects. However, now the building just stands empty again.