Howard Air Force Base has Been Transformed into Panama Pacifico
If you would like to see what the successful use of a former US military bases looks like make sure to stop by Panama Pacifico. This beautiful piece of Panama real estate once known as Howard Air Force Base was repatriated to the Republic of Panama on November 1st, 1999 as part of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. The former US military bases in the Panama Canal Zone have all been turned over to the government of Panama after almost a century in US posession. Panama Pacifico stands out as a resounding success.
Howard Air Force Base was the seat of American air power in Central and South America for over 50 years. The base was officially named Howard Air Force base July 10, 1941. I had the privilege of serving at Howard Air Force base in 1997 as part of a counter drug operation with US Navy Patrol Squadron Twenty-Six. Howard was used for humanitarian, joint nation exercises, search and rescue, logistics, counter drug operations and Panama Canal defense. Howard Air Force Base was the home of the now retired USAF 24th Wing. At any given time you could see fighter jets, tankers, cargo planes, patrol and medical evacuation aircraft. The base was an absolutely beautiful place to work.
Enter London & Regional Properties and banker Jaime Gilinski which formed London & Regional Panama (LRP). This group was chosen to develop the $705 Million Dollar project which began in 2007. London & Regional Panama were selected over 17 other development groups. The property is spread out over 3,450 acres of land. This makes Panama Pacifico one of the largest development projects in the world. The project will include the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone, residential and business space. Over half of the land will be kept in its natural state and the development will be built using sustainable building practices. The 8500 foot aircraft runway offers a huge opportunity to any company looking to make Panama Pacifico home.
The Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone will be an attractive economic zone for multi-national corporations. The zone will offer them attractive benefits such as legal, immigration and labor incentives. There will also be tax incentives for corporations to bring their jobs to Panama. The government has setup a special agency to help speed up applications for companies wishing to do business in Panama Pacifico. The government is hoping that the project will bring over 40,000 jobs to the country.
The residential community will boast a town center and multiple neighborhoods around the property. When the project is completed there will be over 20,000 homes. Schools are already opening in Panama Pacifico. The project boasts that it will be a master planned community. The town center will have the restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment. Luxury hotels are also planned for the community to accommodate the business travelers and vacationers.
Many companies are already moving into the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone. Some of the first companies to arrive were Dell computers, BASF, Caterpillar and 3M. So far over 130 companies have moved in and eight Fortune 500 companies. The companies are now employing over 4,800 people. Panama Pacifico is sure to bring a boost to the Panama economy. It is projected that the project will be worth more than $10 Billion Dollars by the time it is completed. That amount is equivalent to more than half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Panama is a hot bed of infrastructure projects. The Panama Canal expansion is underway which will allow Post-Panamax vessels to pass through the Panama Canal. This is another benefit of Panama Pacifico which is situated only a short distance from the Rodman Port on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. Tocumen International Airport is a short 40 minutes away.
London & Regional Panama have done a great job so far with this ambitious project called Panama Pacifico. I can’t wait to see what the old Howard Air Force Base looks like when it is completely transformed into the modern Panama Pacifico.