In a dramatic move for Panama City, Mayor José Luis Fábrega this week announced a $120 million initiative to restore beaches in the capital.
This is big news for the city and represents one of the first major initiatives since Panama President Laurentino Cortizo was elected a few weeks ago. The plan has the support of the President and the goal is to join great cities like Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro that feature beaches in the urban environment, Fábrega said at a press conference.
Any project to help bring beaches to the waterfront should have a dramatic impact on Panama City real estate values. Access to a sandy beach is always seen as an added value, especially when it is in the heart of the city.
The plan calls for the restoration of the Calidonia and Bella Vista beaches, which were largely buried by landfills as Avenida Balboa developed. The construction of the Cinta Costera in recent years created beautiful parks and walking and biking trails, but downtown was missing the beach experience.
The project will create the beaches from sand dredged from the bay. Plans also call for a wide variety of improvements along the waterfront, including restaurants, kiosks, an amphitheater, a parking area, and other facilities. The plan will be developed in conjunction with efforts to improve storm drains and the sewage treatment system around the bay, according to coverage in La Estrella.
Part of the cost of the project will be offset by concessions and fees raised by new facilities, the Mayor noted in his talk to the media. His office is also considering launching a plan to re-evaluate other properties in the area, which may include anything from a Ferris wheel to a museum to help make the waterfront the focus of Panama City life.