MIAMI, United States. – The López-Calleja Tower, designed to hold the tallest hotel in Cuba, could end up rising to lesser heights than planned, with fewer floors than initially anticipate. That’s what a CubaNet report published in January of this year revealed.
In spite of the criticism from the community of Cuban architects, the serious economic crisis facing the nation and even the recent and tragic explosion of an emblematic tourism facility in Havana, construction of what is also known as the K Tower is not stopping.
The Comprehensive Development of the Capital Group (Grupo para el Desarrollo Integral de la Capital, GDIC, by its Spanish acronym), the supreme authority regarding architectural standards, considers that the 42-story tower –which rises 475.72 feet above street level- does not meet current standards for that area of El Vedado.
Cuban experts believe that this Business Administration Group (GAESA, by its Spanish acronym) project represents an unnecessary expense and an urbanistic “intrusion”, an aberration.
In fact, there is a municipal regulation that prohibits buildings higher than 25 floors and
252.6 feet tall, at least in that area of Plaza de la Revolución municipality.
However, against the opinions of specialists and against the current regulations, between 2016 and 2018 this project was approved. According to testimony from members of the commission that rejected the construction of the building, “there was pressure applied, blackmail, plain corruption,” in order to convince the expert to approve the project.
Regardless, objections or no objections, the hotel is going up.
Torre López-Calleja: The Military decides
“Regulations exist but no one pays attention to them, least of all the military who decides and approves as they see fit,” stated Reynaldo Montiel, an architect and former professor at Instituto Superior Politécnico José Antonio Echeverría (ISPJAE, by its Spanish acronym), in Havana, and signatory of various independent petitions calling for the cancellation of the K Tower project.
For the time being, both 20-story towers are being built, at a cost of US$3,000 per standard guest room and US$5,000 per luxury suite, which represent the greater number of all the hotel rooms.
We are talking about figures that have never been seen in Cuba. They account for more than half of the investments in the island and in the rest of the Caribbean, a small “detail” that doesn’t seem to worry the higher ups at GAESA.
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