Headshot ThierryNamed Porto Maravilha, project covers a 5 mi square meters area and is intended to thorough restructuring of the port area

The Avenues Presidente Vargas, Rodrigues Alves, Rio Branco and Francisco Bicalho are the borders of a near future postcard of Rio de Janeiro and Latin America: the Porto Maravilha (Wonder Port). Works of the first phase — construction of new lines of water, sewage and drainage for the Avenues Barão de Tefé and Venezuela, urban development of Morro da Conceição and renovation of Jardins Suspensos do Valongo (Hanging Gardens of Valongo) — are already concluded.

Expected to be finished in 2016, the second phase is currently in progress: it was already demolished the Elevado da Perimetral and created the lane Binário do Porto; roads totaling 70 km are being urbanized and implementation of a new standard of quality for urban service, such as selective waste collection and efficient and economical street lighting. “Porto Maravilha is real already”, states Thierry Botto, general manager of Agency Leasing in Rio de Janeiro who, during visit to C&W headquarters in São Paulo (SP), gave the following interview: Check it out!

 

What the reason for building Porto Maravilha?
This project follows a global trend of renovation. This happened in Barcelona, Spain, where the restructuring of the port was due to 1992 Olympic Games, as well as the London canals, that were cleaned and recovered for the last Olympics, in 2012. Puerto Madero, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is another good example. In Rio de Janeiro, the port area has a land potential large enough to serve even the real estate market, which remained stalled for decades. Porto Maravilha is near downtown, and will receive the offices buildings of Rio, in contrast to São Paulo, where everything is quite scattered.

Is it a positive idea to be a business center?
Yes, as it is efficient. Porto Maravilha will be the pivotal center of the city, for the inhabitants, bus lines and urban rail lines, due to the closeness to Central do Brasil. It will be commutable with the Light Rail Vehicle (LRV), and the metro. It is also near the national airport, about 10 or 15 minutes away. You can go there on foot! I have never seen that in any other country. Mobility is significant and the access will be easier and faster.

And what about the local infrastructure? 
This is the major distinction of the Port. Downtown of Rio, with small lands and narrow streets, does not allow further growth. Several companies scattered over four or five old buildings because Rio de Janeiro, between the 1960’s and mid 2000, remained somewhat frozen in time. Therefore, larger companies with many employees are the first ones to take an interest on the new center, to gather the whole staff in a modern, safe and environmentally efficient building. This improves productivity of the employees — as they commute less —, provides higher effectiveness for the daily work and more savings at the end of the month. This change will also allow more comfort and convenience, as car spaces will be made available — a weak point in the old part of the city —, gyms, mini shoppings, convenience stores, etc, and these are very positive, even to attract and to keep the top talents in the company. And everything without paying more than they pay today.

How many square meters will be made available at Porto Maravilha?
Currently, the municipality of Rio de Janeiro occupies 6,300,000 square meters. São Paulo is twice this size. To compare, Paris, which has the same population as the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro — 12 million people — ranges 52,000,000 square meters. Therefore, investment potential is real, but not immediate. This will take some years. I believe that, until 2020, Porto Maravilha will offer about 1 million square meters to the sector, with iconic buildings, designed by top architects. There will be hotels, terraces, commercial buildings, malls and much more. It is worth mentioning the cultural aspect, with museums, and the public walking area in the pier. We are also planning a local hospital. It will be the larger complex, including accommodation, built in Rio de Janeiro.

 And the other downtown buildings, that are likely to lose their renters?
They will be urged to reinvent. Some will have much trouble doing this, as they are shared by many owners. They may take longer to reach a consensus and invest heavily in old buildings that need upgrading. I hope these smaller entrepreneurs attract new rising businesses. In no time they will want better quality locations.

And what about Cidade Nova district?
It is located in the other side of Presidente Vargas Avenue; it is a small district that growth a lot in recent years. It is an area of important occupants, however, with the same issues I have mentioned before. But I believe that downtown, Cidade Nova and Porto Maravilha will unite their efforts and, as a group, bring Rio de Janeiro to another level of the national and Latin America real estate sector.