The green, or living, wall at the Los Cabos convention center.

Built for G20 summit, center now in ruins

But it's not a white elephant yet, says state Tourism Secretary

Designed to host global leaders at a G20 summit held in 2012, the Los Cabos Convention Center in Baja California now lies forgotten and neglected, yet another testament to wasteful projects.

Back in 2011, then state governor Marcos Covarrubias had high hopes for the center, located in San José del Cabo, when he laid the first stone.

Four years on, despite an investment of 1.2 billion pesos (US $73 million) the center is a weatherbeaten ruin after being ravaged by Hurricane Odile last year.

The once proud building that hosted world leaders now sports shattered windows, gaping doorways, collapsed ceilings, peeling walls, broken flagpoles – and not a flag in sight.

A green wall with 2,000 square meters of indigenous plants, once dubbed the largest of its kind in the world and considered the center’s most attractive feature, is now overrun with rotting vegetation.

From the outset the project has been riddled with problems, not least of which have been the exorbitant cost and short amount of time – seven months – allocated to its construction.

As a result the three-story center – which boasts 10 rooms large enough to be used for exhibitions or conventions with a 6,400-person capacity – has scarcely been used since the G20 summit.

After months of uncertainty as to its completion, the company contracted to build the center, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados (ICA), delivered a partly unfinished version of the original planned building. Then in September 2014 Hurricane Odile struck, causing 50 million pesos worth of damage and delays to a tender put out for the facility’s completion.

It was originally thought it would be used for tourism conventions after the G20 meeting, but local travel businesses have been at a loss as to how to benefit from a dilapidated public building that shows no sign of ever being completed.

“There have been informal events held, for which access to the center has been granted free of charge, to give it a bit of life,” said Juan Carlos del Río, head of the Mexican Association of Travel Agents in Los Cabos. “But we have not been able to promote it because we do not know what is going to happen to it.”

However, state Tourism Secretary Genaro is optimistic that the center will be open for business again through a public-private partnership, and said last month that foreign investors have expressed interest in becoming involved.

He said the state does not wish to see it become a white elephant.

Source: El Universal (sp), BCS Noticias (sp)

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