IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
Michael S. Smith isn’t the only billionaire making a bold, privately funded infrastructure play. Colombian banking mogul Jaime Gilinski Bacal and his partners have pumped more than $1 billion into turning a former U.S. Air Force base near the Panama Canal into a massive business-friendly city, which Forbes took in via chopper for our April 19, 2016, issue.
“Scanning the 4,450-acre expanse, Gilinski points out a university campus, hundreds of new homes, a basketball court, schools, parks and even an airport. Construction sites are everywhere: Here will be an amphitheater, there a golf course, here a shopping mall, there a hospital. It is the world’s most audacious real estate project, which started as nothing more than the harebrained idea of the man in the helicopter.”
Five years later, construction continues at Panama Pacifico, where 1,300 of a planned 30,000 homes have been built and companies including 3M, Dell and FedEx have already set up operations.