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Building permit revoked after $30 million investment

Sea Point project halted

CITIZEN POWER got a major boost with the decision of Panama’s Third Civil Circuit Court to “revoke” a building permit approved by the  Mayor’s Works and Constructions Directorate  for the Sea Point project, in Paitilla.

The decision, dated August 11 says that the building adjoins  the Bay of Panama and “stands on a bank of beach not subject to private appropriation.”

The judicial action was received with jubilation by Paitilla residents and  civic groups, whose fight against the project led to the annulment.

Representatives of the developer Desarrollo Bahía, said they are analyzing how to proceed. The project has been under way since 2015 and $30 million has been invested.

Harley Mitchell Jr., a lawyer for the neighbors, said that the  decision is based on law, as the permit granted by the Mayor is contrary to the Constitution which says that the shore of the beach “is not developable.”.

Residents of the community and members of the Citizen Networksay that  the Court has has  set an historical precedent regarding urban development.

Darío Vásquez Wolff, one of the  neighborhood spokespersons said: “This is a triumph not only for Paitilla, but for Panama, because it sends a warning to the rest of the promoters that you cannot take spaces that belong to the State.

María Chávez, president of the Network, said that the judicial authorities acted fast and, despite “pressures” did the right thing.

She said that citizenship needed “good news” because they have been challenging construction permits for years, reports La Prensa.

“This ruling is a wake-up call for officials of institutions, such as the Mayor’s Office, The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Housing who are involved in the approval of works and must enforce the rules,” said the activist.

The Sea Point is being built near Heliodoro Patiño Street, and consists of three towers of 30 floors and 108 apartments, as well as a social area, gym, pool, among other facilities.

The work, is 45% advanced,  Work was suspended  August 1 by the director of Works and Constructions, Antonio Docabo.

This led to  a group of workers  partially closing  Via Italia  calling for the reopening of the project,



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to People Power >>--> Building Permit Revoked After $30 Million Investment

This project never should have been permitted, imo. The Paitilla area is already overbuilt and the developers totally ignored shoreline setbacks, among other things.

Now it will likely sit unfinished for decades just like the building across the street from the Bistro in downtown Boquete, neither completed nor removed.

Edited by Keith Woolford
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25 minutes ago, Marcelyn said:

Anyone know why this building in downtown Boquete is neither completed nor removed?  I believe we could use the parking space, etc.

The construction infringes on the property of others and the public right of way.

To the best of my knowledge, the order to comply, which would require demolition, is still bouncing around in the court system.

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Panama: Legal Insecurity in the Construction Sector?

The construction workers' union is opposed to the revocation of a construction permit granted nearly two years ago to build a $30 million building in Panama City.

Friday, August 18, 2017

In the view of the construction companies union "... it is a contradiction that a construction permit approved approximately 22 months ago, for a work that is 45% complete, with an investment of $30 million to date, could be revoked, ignoring the rights legally acquired by its promoters.

...This action threatens the legal certainty needed to mitigate the risk assumed by national and foreign investors when investing in the country's progress, promoting economic growth, creating job opportunities for companies, generating jobs for professionals and workers, and contributing to the social, economic and material development of the Panamanian Nation."

From a statement issued by the Panamanian Chamber of Construction:

The Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC) expresses its concern and strongly protests the decision taken by the Third Circuit Court of Panama to order the revocation of an order contained in construction permit No. 869-2015, Works and Municipal Constructions of the District of Panama, which grants authorization for Constructora Bahía to build the Sea Point apartment building located in Paitilla, San Francisco.  

According to the arguments contained in Resolution No. 251-17 of August 11 of this year, the revocation of the construction permit is due to the fact that the building, which borders the Bay of Panama on the West side, is allegedly erected on the shore of a beach not subject to private appropriation.



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Bankers knock Paitilla project court ruling

The disputed Sea Point project

PAITILLA RESIDENTS  who  in early August were celebrating a citizen victory over uncontrolled development are now facing  challenges from Panama’s powerful banking industry.

On August 11,  Panama’s Third Circuit Court of Civil Matters ordered partial revocation of the construction permit granted by the Construction Department of the Municipality of Panama to Shoreline Properties, Inc. and to Constructora Bahía, S.A., for the construction of  The Sea Point apartment towers.

The decision followed  representations by attorney Harley Mitchell, on behalf of residents for protection against the project on the grounds that it violated urban norms and usurped shore of the sea belonging to the State.

Soon after union workers from the site staged street demonstrations  protesting the loss of jobs, and recently Newsroom received messages from residents  that indicated work appeared to have restarted

On September 8 The Panama BankingAssociation on behalf of its board of directors, chaired by Carlos Troetsch, issued a strongly worded statement  saying that the revocation of the permit puts at “risk” the legal security and the institutionality of  the country, two of the “most important” guarantees for banking investment.

The  broadside letter was delivered to the National Land Administration Authority (Anati), the Mayor of Panama, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the Construction and Construction Department of the Municipality of Panama, and the Ministries of Environment and the Presidency.

“We see with concern that this action (suspension of the work) puts at risk the confidence in the system and the future investment of banking in the country, since it does not have the legal certainty to grant the financing required, given the risk involved in ignoring the actions of the State, ”
says the letter.

It also states that the financial and banking system is the engine of the economy and requires clear rules
to provide development opportunities to the country.

In addition, the Banking Association argues that, thecSea Point project is endorsed by Anati, Ministry of Housing and Land Use Planning, The Maritime Authority of Panama, Ministry of Environment, Municipality of Panama, Directorate of Works and Constructions/

Residents of Paitilla and Panama’s mayor were quick to react to the bankers’ declaration.

Mayor José Isabel Blandón said that to not respect a judicial decision would be to undermine the legal security of the country.

“We have to respect the judicial decisions, whether we agree or not,” he argued.

Darío Vásquez Wolff, a resident of the community of Paitilla, emphasized that the letter of the Banking Association supports illegality.

“It is very unfortunate that an association with this national prestige is going to support  illegal action.

“They should not only listen to the information of the promoter of the work, “he said and added that what the association must do is require that  before providing funding ,banks ensure that projects comply with the law.



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Based on what I read in the article this could stop investors from engaging in future major projects.  It could also  bring a growing economy to a halt.  Governments don't create wealth or jobs, but they sure can stop them.  I hope this case moves to a higher court for review.  I'd also hate to see any bank failures, as they often domino.

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Bankers are friends of developers here. Sometimes they're even the same folks.

From what I understand the reason for revoking the building permit is for non-compliance with the issued permit and ignoring regulations governing adjacent oceanfront and parkland.


Edited by Keith Woolford
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