The New Giant of Costa Rica: a 140-meter Office Building in the Heart of San José

    Scheduled to be opened this April

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    In the heart of San José, just to the north side of the National Stadium, a new giant 140 meters high became the tallest building in Costa Rica. It is the Leumi Business Center, which exceeded Tower 2 Paseo Colón by 39 meters. The latter, at 101 meters, held the title of being the highest in the Central American country since 2015, until Leumi Business Center arrived.

    The new giant, whose construction began in February 2019 and will be inaugurated in April, is a complex of 38 floors and four underground levels of mixed use. It will be dedicated to shops, offices, a hotel and six one-story apartments, each, valued at more than US $ 1 million.

    The four underground levels will constitute parking areas, as well as the floors that go from level two to level eight. The first floor will be dedicated to shops. The offices will be located from the ninth floor to the 16th floor, while the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel will be located from the 17th to the 31st floor.

    Finally, the floors that go from level 32 to 38 will be allocated to the six apartments, of which five are already sold and have a size of 650 square meters. The building will have a restaurant on the 18th floor, where the fitting out of the hotel lobby has already begun.

    A boom in vertical Eco-friendly constructions

    The company in charge of developing and erecting the building is Grupo Leumi. The value of the Leumi Business Center is about ¢ 11 billion (US $ 18.3 million), according to data provided by the Municipality of San José.

    Ignacio Esquivel, commercial director of Grupo Leumi, affirmed that the work consists of more than 40 thousand square meters and has sustainable technology for the conservation of the environment. “It has charging stations for electric vehicles, dry urinals, glass with Double-insulated Low-E technology, bicycle parking, and water recycling plant,” he explained.

    Esquivel added that the development responds to the demand and the rise of vertical construction in recent years, thereby raising national standards for this type of works.

    Tall buildings keep rising

    The new giant Leumi Business Center is part of the large vertical constructions that have emerged in recent years in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). Although the buildings in Costa Rica do not reach the sizes of large international buildings, in recent years the number of vertical works in the GAM has increased, each time with greater height.

    The first tall buildings corresponded to public institutions. The headquarters of the National Bank (BN) retained the title of tallest building in the country, with its 80 meters high between 1982 and 2012.

    The BN, in turn, was preceded by the annex building of the CCSS (completed in 1978) and the central buildings of the INS (1974), the ICE (1972) and the CCSS (1967). In 2012, a private building was ranked the tallest in the country for the first time. It is Tower 1 Paseo Colón, 97 meters high, which exceeded Tower 2, two years later.

    This is demonstrated by data from the ‘Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’, an international organization that recognizes the best urban innovations and tall buildings around the world. Currently, six buildings exceed the height of the BN: The Leumi Business Center, the two towers of Paseo Colón, URBN Escalante, Torre Universal and Nest Freses.

    A building like the Empire State Building in New York is 443 meters high, more than three times the height of the Leumi Business Center. The Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai measures 828 meters. The new giant in Costa will also be the highest in Central America, with the exception of Panama, a country with various skyscrapers that exceed 200 meters in height.

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