"Take a good look at the buildings in the center," he warns: "You can see their long arms stretching out, trying to catch something. It's us they're trying to grab."
~ Antonio, Born to Die in Medellín











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Although Medellín is not renowned for its skyscrapers -- the tallest building, Torre Coltejer, is only 175 meters tall (with 39 floors) -- the city itself has well over a hundred high-rise buildings, both residential and commercial. Most of these high-rise buildings are located either in the city's commercial center or in the luxurious Poblado district, Medellín's richest area.


Downtown Medellín commercial district.

El Poblado's luxurious skyline.

Medellín's tallest building, Torre Coltejer, home of the city's largest locally based textile company.

"Levels of high-rise construction now surpass those of Los Angeles and New York combined (Hylton, Medellín's Makeover, 71)." Websites that index urban architecture such as emporis.com and skyscraperpage.com show a large percentage of these building projects completed within only the last few years.  One might wonder why the sudden boom in construction; however, in looking at the city's recent historical transformation from murder capital of the world to renewed capitalist paradise one finds a line of cocaine hundreds of miles long from the Andean coca plantations to the noses of American consumers.  In the early part of this decade much of the left-wing resistance that pressed insurgency into the streets of Medellín had been rooted out by joint paramilitary and state operations, thus creating an urban setting primed and ready for foreign capital investment and a burgeoning tourist industry.  This quite readily explains the emergence of luxury high-rise apartment complexes, many of which are rented out at daily, weekly and monthly rates to Medellín international visitors.  Wealthy districts (comunas) such as Poblado brag of their luxurious amenities and safe environments in the hopes of attracting tourists.  Residents in the hillsides communities look out daily upon the concentrated wealth being continually built up; in a way, it can be quite alluring with its promise of material prosperity and the chance to strike it big.  "You could be here!" it might be heard to say.