Construction of the future tallest building in Latin America, the 300-meter-tall Torre Costanera in Santiago, Chile, is on hold “temporarily,” says the developer. The frame now is up 23 stories, reports the structural engineer.

Locally based Cencosud SA announced on Jan. 28 it was halting work on the 70-story concrete frame. Work had stopped earlier on the surrounding mixed-use Costanera Center. The developer cites the weak economy as the reason, saying the current work pace is not justifi ed if the development is not “profitable.”

Chilean job includes 300-m-tall tower
Rendering: Pelli Clarke Pelli
Chilean job includes 300-m-tall tower.
The frame is up 23 stories.
Photo: Rene Lagos Assoc.
The frame is up 23 stories.

The project employed 2,000 workers. Gabriele Lothholz, a Cencosud spokesperson, says the developer will have its general contractor, Salfa Corp., finish parts of the 128,000-sq-m complex gradually. “It is not as if the gate was closed as of last week,” says Lothholz.

The $600-million complex includes a low-rise retail mall at the base and three towers in addition to the 300-m tower. The skyscraper was designed by architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven, Conn. Alemparte Barreda y Assoc. is the local architect of record.

The concrete structure of the mall and underground parking levels is complete, says project structural engineer Rene Lagos, of the local fi rm that bears his name. The structure for the two 42-story towers is at the seventh floor.The structure for the 22-story tower has also reached the seventh floor.

“The project has stopped completely at these levels, and the owner announced this is only temporary,” says Lagos. “Construction will continue as soon as economic conditions make it possible.

” If finished, Torre Costanera would surpass Latin America’s tallest, Torre Mayor in Mexico City, by 70 m.