By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Conditions at Rio’s Vila Pan-Americana (Vila do Pan), the residential apartment complex in Barra da Tijuca originally built for the athletes of the 2007 Rio Pan-American Games, has deteriorated significantly, according to various news outlets.
Reports of sunken streets, huge craters, falling guardrails, cracked structures, and exposed sewer and gas pipes have become commonplace.
“The feeling is one of pure sadness and discouragement,” exclaimed a frustrated Aloízio Bravo, Director of the Vila do Pan Residents Association. “I don’t even invite visitors because I have no pedestrian entrance to my building. You have to pass through another condo to get here.”
The problems that have beset Vila do Pan apartment complex are a far cry from the project’s initial sales success. Opened in 2007, Vila do Pan, located at Avenue Ayrton Senna in Barra, consists of seventeen buildings and 1,480 apartments. The complex was built to house the 5,500 athletes competing in the 2007 Rio Pan-American Games.
Two years before the complex’s inauguration, in 2005, the apartments were sold to private individuals who would take over the units at the conclusion of the Pan-American Games. On the first day of sales, all 1,480 apartments were sold in less than ten hours.
The first sign of problems at the site can be traced all the way back to February 2007, only four months before the start of the Pan-American Games, when several surrounding streets gave way due to the weak soil. In the past ten years, the problems have only accumulated as more streets caved in leading to further infrastructure damage, such as pillars and walls collapsing.
“I arrived before the serious problems, but there were always small holes and dents,” said Bravo, who has lived at Vila do Pan since 2009. “The village has never been 100 percent.”
Rio City Hall’s previous administration had budgeted R$61.9 million to help make necessary infrastructure repairs but all the talk of improving the site stopped when former Mayor Eduardo Paes left office.
A representative from the office of the Municipal Secretary of Urban Planning, Infrastructure, and Housing told O Globo news that “the old administration left a debt of R$4 million for renovations already carried out on the site without cash to pay.”
According to the official, in addition to the R$4 million for work already done, another R$2 million would be needed to continue the renovations. The city did not disclose the name of the construction company responsible for the project but said that debt will be repaid only after an inquiry as to whether the city is paying fair market value for the project.
The official stressed that despite the city’s current economic crisis the Crivella administration has every intention to resume working on the site sometime in the latter half of 2017.
For the residents of the once sought-after apartment complex, that day can’t come soon enough. “The longer it takes to complete,” exclaimed Bravo, “the more work that needs to be done.”