Urban Renaissance – Panama City
We had a wonderful trip to Panama City this month – the development trend continues across the city with more hotel, condo and office construction in progress.
Our US ownership and design and architecture clients continue to be a huge part of the landscape here – Hard Rock, Trump and the major brands have all added to this recent building boom.
At the hip end of the scale is the American Trade Hotel – a gem in the heart of the Casca Viejo (Old Town). The former American Trade department store has been revamped by the Ace Hotel group to become a cool, modern hangout at the center of the district’s urban renaissance.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site historic district is under major restoration overall with the famous seven churches – many of them built with stones from the original Viejo east of the current center – being brought back to their former stunning glory. Particularly noteworthy – the Iglesia San Jose,dating back to 1673 and known for its decorative baroque Golden Altar– intricately carved mahogany veneered in gold – one of the few treasures that survived the pirate Henry Morgan’s raid of the original Panama Viejo in 1671. According to legend, when the priests realized the pirates were upon them they painted the altar black to disguise its real value– it survived the raid and was later uncovered and moved the ‘new’ center of the city.
Worth a visit – for business and pleasure.