By Lindsay Spratt, Sub Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO – The opening of a sixty-meter elevator providing access to the Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho communities is to open in March 2010. The elevator is to be built at the exit of the new subway station, General Osório, which will open in Ipanema on December 17.
The elevator will be equivalent in height to a 23-story building and will be connected by covered walkways to a smaller tower twenty meters high which will serve Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho.
The tower will also not only provide access to the favelas but is also expected to attract tourists. There will be a fifty square meter viewing platform at the top offering panoramic views over the neighborhoods and beaches of Copacabana, Arpoador and Ipanema. The platform will also offer shops and bars owned by Metrô Rio (Rio subway).
According to the State Transport Secretary, Júlio Lopes, access to the elevator will be free and will operate during the same hours as the subway. Access to the elevator will be from the first floor of a three-story building already in construction at the corners of Teixera de Melo and Barão de Ipanema streets. The two upper floors of the building will provide various services to the community, such as a unit for issuing identity cards and driving licences.
The cost of the elevator is expected to be R$40 Million and will be funded by the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômic e Social, (BNDES), National Bank of Economic and Social Development). It does not come under the government’s Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC, Growth Acceleration Program), responsible for the 56 new apartments which were installed in Pavão/Pavãozinho on August 18 of this year.
According to the Urbanism Municipal Secretary, who has yet to approve the project, the region was declared an “Area of Special Social Interest” under Law 3.688 in 2003. The height of the tower does not conform to the maximum height of 10.6 meters detailed in Law 322 of 1976, but should be approved because of the social benefits it would afford.
According to the State Construction Secretary, Luiz Fernando Pezão, the project was widely discussed with both the residents of the favela and those living in Ipanema near the new metro station site, and that everyone was in favor.
“We approved the project, even though it exceeds the limitations for the maximum building height. In the end, there are already four elevators on Alberto de Campos street which serve the communities on the hill. Now, other people will be benefited. Apart from this, it will also be very beautiful,” said the President of the Association of Ipanema Residents, Maria Amélia Fernandes Loureiro.
Approximately 28,000 people live in the Cantagalo and Pavão/Pavãozinho communities. The PAC has promised an investment of R$1 Billion in a series of projects to be completed in favelas such as these before 2010. Apart from the housing afforded to the Cantagalo and Pavãozinho communities, apartments were also inaugurated in the Complexo do Alemão (German Complex) and Manguinhos. A health center, sports center and further education units were also introduced in Manguinhos at the end of May this year.