Financed by 3,800 ordinary Colombians, the BD Bacatá was the world’s first crowdfunded skyscraper. Unfortunately, both the skyscraper and its financial backers have been left in limbo as Colombia’s tallest building waits for completion.
Great things were expected from the Bogotá Downtown Bacatá. Not only was it to become the tallest building in Colombia and the first skyscraper built in the country for 35 years, it was also going to be the world’s first crowdfunded skyscraper. Lofty goals indeed, but for now, at least, things are very much up in the air.
Construction began on the two towers of the BD Bacatá in 2011, with the whole project funded by around 3,800 regular Colombians. The planned building had basically been divided up into thousands of identical parts called FiDis (from “derecho fiduciario,” or “fiduciary right”). Ownership rights to the physical building were then sold, at a cost of $20,000 over two years, with a down payment of 10%. The crowdfunded project raised more than $170 million, and construction went ahead.
Six years later, everything was looking OK. The BD Bacatá was largely finished, including both towers, the tallest of which had 67 floors and a total height of 709 feet (216 m). This made the BD Bacatá the tallest building in Colombia, having surpassed the Torre Colpatria, also in Bogotá, which had previously held the record since 1979. Combined with the second tower (57 floors at 548 feet), the BD Bacatá featured 405 apartments, 117 offices, a shopping center with 32 stores, and a hotel with 364 rooms.
It was all looking good until 2018, when BD Promotores, the company in charge of the construction project, appeared to be on the verge of going broke. Venerando Lamelas, a Spanish real estate promoter and president of BD Promotores, began to reassure his investors that everything would work out fine in the end. In April 2018 he announced that apart from finishing the hotel and a few other small details, the BD Bacatá was almost finished.
As of February 2019, however, there are still many investors waiting to move in to their homes and businesses in Colombia’s tallest building. And if it takes much longer, the BD Bacatá won’t even have that record to cling to. A new skyscraper, Torres Atrio, is due to be completed in Bogotá in 2019. Once completed, the taller of its two towers will have a height of 879 feet, knocking the BD Bacatá into second place before it’s even finished.