Venezuelan officials and soldiers have started evicting thousands of residents living inside the half-completed Torre de David skyscraper in Caracas
The surprise move comes just days after it was announced Chinese banks were considering buying the state-owned city-centre landmark.
Last night (22 July) Venezuela’s national guard began evicting the building’s occupiers on a floor-by-floor basis.
Around three of the 22 floors inhabited inside the 45-storey tower were evacuated.
The removal of the squatters – who first entered the incomplete office tower in 2007 – is expected to be completed on Friday.
It is understood the tower’s estimated 2,000 families will be mainly relocated to Caracas’ Valles del Tuy suburb.
Venezuela’s minister for the transformation of greater Caracas, Ernesto Villegas said in a state television broadcast yesterday the move was ‘not an eviction’ but was a co-ordinated effort supported by residents.
According to the BBC, Villegas said it was necessary to vacate the building ‘before a final decision’ could be made about its future.
The relocation comes two years after Justin McGuirk, Urban-Think Tank and Iwan Baan won the Venice Biennale’s prestigious Golden Lion award for an installation focusing on occupation of the Torre de David – meaning Tower of David – skyscraper.
It is thought the building’s new owners may develop a business and financial centre on the site but it is unknown whether the existing structure – officialy known as the Centro Financiero Confinanzas – will be reused.
Construction of the downtown skyscraper stalled in 1994 following a banking crisis.
The building has no working elevators but is home to thousands of residents alongside small businesses, and is thought to be the world’s tallest slum.