The first commercial building has been delivered at the Porto Maravilha redevelopment, and new condominiums and hotels are expected

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Rio’s ambitious docklands redevelopment project – dubbed Porto Maravilha, or “Marvelous Port” – is starting to bear its first fruit.

Rio docklands will also house two modern museums – part of the plan to attract tourists and become a cultural center in the city

After an initial phase of infrastructure works that included laying new water and sewage mains and a new drainage system, and a second phase that required demolishing an old concrete elevated freeway called the Elevado da Perimetral, the time has come for the Porto Maravilha region to receive its first private commercial building.
Developed by Tishman Speyer, the 22-floor Port Corporate condominium was delivered in November and is currently in the process of being leased.

More buildings are due for delivery soon. According to Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF), the federal savings bank, there are currently some 20 other projects under negotiation.

The Porto Maravilha development is being financed via Brazil’s biggest-ever public-private partnership (PPP). The federal bank used R$3.5 billion from the Guarantee Fund for Time of Employment (FGTS) to acquire 100% of the development certificates issued by Rio municipality and known as Cepacs (literally, Certificates for Additional Construction Potential).

Cepacs are the key to building the largest projects. By purchasing Cepacs, which are auctioned in tranches by the CEF, developers are allowed to increase the floor area ratio for approved projects within the Porto Maravilha redevelopment zone. This allows for construction of taller buildings, for example as high as 150 meters, planned for Av. Francisco Bicalho.

Potential for tourism

In addition to the various commercial buildings, the redevelopment will also include hotels. One has already been fully sold. Developed by the Odebrecht group, it will carry the Ibis and Novotel brands. The company is also developing two other hotels under the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands. Together, these hotels will contain almost one thousand rooms and will cater to the demand to be generated by the new offices in the region. They will also serve demand from tourists visiting the city, something that is likely to grow significantly in the wake of the 2016 Olympic Games, to be held in Rio.

The Hotels & Hospitality division of JLL will be responsible for supervising the operation of the four hotels, representing the interests of the investors.

Organizers of Porto Maravilha are very optimistic about the potential and outlook for tourism in the area. They understand that, by virtue of being right in the center of the city, the area will be a permanent attraction for visitors, including during the upcoming Olympic Games.

The region is scheduled to receive high-impact projects that will reinforce this tourism vocation and transform the Porto Maravilha into one of the city’s key cultural attractions. Two such projects are the Rio de Janeiro Art Museum and the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã).

Now building on Mauá Pier, the Museum of Tomorrow is due to open later in 2015 with a projected 15,000 square meters of built area. Expectations are that it will receive between 350,000 and 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.