While Casco Viejo sits in the midst of modern Panama City, it is still isolated on 3 sides by water. This grants it spectacular views. From modern Punta Paitilla and Punta Pacifica on one side, to the Causeway and islands of Amador on the other, there is nothing but water. The view is simply stunning. Our job as restoration contractors in Casco Viejo is to preserve this space for your enjoyment.
Because Casco Viejo was chosen as a world cultural heritage site, restorations are strictly controlled. This means that the facades of the buildings need to maintain the old world Spanish architecture that is loved the world over.
Rich in history
The small district of Panama City known officially as San Felipe and referred to as Casco Antiguo or Casco Viejo, is rich in history and is now regarded as a national treasure. It was originally built around 1673, by the Spanish garrison, the Catholic Church and the settlers, after privateer Henry Morgan sacked the original site of Panama City (Panama Viejo). Next, the area housed the French officials during their attempt to construct the Panama Canal; what was left behind was a unique, culturally diverse neighborhood with buildings featuring a charming mix of Spanish colonial and French provincial architectures.
With the passage of Law 9 of August 27, 1997, special restoration incentives were delineated. Coincidentally, UNESCO chose Casco Viejo as one of its 46 historic areas in the same year. Local and international investors liked the offer, and slowly but surely new life has become evident among the narrow, balconied streets.
The incentives apply to San Felipe, along with parts of neighboring Santa Ana, Salsipuedes and Terraplén. Under the law, buildings are classified as historical structures and the approval granted for restoration depends on the architectural characteristics of each individual building.
The law seeks to accelerate the restoration process by providing incentives such as: preferential mortgage rates for investment into restoration projects, no tax on rental revenue generated in Casco Viejo, no property tax for the first 30 years; no Transfer of Title tax and no importation tax.
Stringent guidelines for restoration contractors in Casco Viejo
Stringent guidelines for restoration have been set by the Directorate of Heritage of the National Institute of Culture (INAC).
Blueprints must be drawn by a licensed architectural entity and submitted to INAC, which judges the architectural merit and period compatibility. Once approved, the plans move on to the municipality, which studies infrastructure, such as electricity and plumbing.
The approval process usually takes less than three months. Although when the actual time for drawing up plans is added, the final approval average reaches approximately six months.
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