Howard, which was formerly Howard Air Force Base is located on the west bank of the Panama Canal, just 15 minutes from Panama City.
Howard is a special economic area, with the passage of Law 41 in 2004, Panama created Panama Pacifico as a special economic zone (or ‘free zone’). Special benefits are granted to all companies relocating to the area including legal, customs, immigration and labor benefits, as well as specific fiscal incentives. For some business activities, this means freedom from fiscal taxes in Panama.
In the creation of Panama Pacifico, the government realized the opportunity to bring direct foreign investment into the country, and to create new jobs for Panamanians. For these reasons, the government and the Panamanian people welcome the development as a source of new commerce and economic generation.
Any type of business that is legal in Panama may locate to Panama Pacifico. However, Law 41 created special tax advantages for certain types of business activities particularly as it relates to fiscal incentives.
- A New Landmark for Overseas Business
- A totally new destination built on the site of the former Howard U.S. Air Force Base, Panama Pacifico’s size is impressive. At completion, this business center will encompass:
- 1,400 hectares, with nearly half of the land to remain in its natural state or to be devoted to new parks and open space
- 1 million square meters of commercial space
- 20,000 homes
- 40,000 new jobs
- Retail centers and hotels
- places of worship
- Parks, recreational amenities
- a championship golf course
Because of its history as an U.S. Air Force Base, electrical, water, telecommunication and road infrastructure already exists at Panama Pacifico. With existing infrastructure already in place, development can move forward without first having to create an infrastructure system.
In the future, existing infrastructure will be upgraded, as well as new infrastructure added, in order to accommodate the continued growth and development of the site.
Existing infrastructure and future plans include:
- The main supplier of electricity for Panama Pacifico is the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
- Existing peak demand at the site is 3.5 MVA, with a capacity of 29.0 MVA, which is estimated to meet electrical needs until 2014
- By 2015, there will be new transmission lines and two additional substations on the site
- All International Business Park offices will have eight hours of electricity back-up
- Potable water for Panama Pacifico currently comes from the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal, also serving Veracruz and Playa Bonita
- Existing combined demand is 2.5 MGD, with a capacity of 3.5 MGD, which is estimated to meet potable water needs until 2012
- A new water plant at Chorrera will begin operating in 2009 which will act as a back-up for the project´s water needs if the Miraflores Locks system should experience any issues
- ACP/IDAAN (the Panama Water Authority) can supply the future demand of the development, estimated at 20 MGD for 2046
- Existing pressure of the system serving Panama Pacifico at the Pan American Highway (the project’s north border) is 65 psi; minimum required by the Panama Water Authority (IDAAN) is 20 psi
- All International Business Park offices will have eight hours of water storage backup
Storm Water System
- Panama Pacifico has five rivers traversing the development: Venado, Farfan, Velasques, Castilla and Detal (In comparison, Panama City only has four.)
- With normal maintenance, the existing system will be improved with the construction of the roads to work throughout the life of the development
- All new projects in the development will discharge water to nearby creeks by design
- Existing fiber cables are from UFINET, CABLE & WIRELESS and ACP
- UFINET and CABLE & WIRELESS currently have facilities in place at Panama Pacifico, and are able to meet immediate business and residential needs
Waste Water Collection System
- With proper maintenance, the existing system can be utilized through 2011 to serve the Town Center commercial and residential
- A $1 million investment in upgrading existing waste water treatment system is currently underway
- The waste water treatment plant has a capacity of 1.5 MGD, with current volume at 0.30 MGD
- The International Business Park will have its own pumping station
- Pan America Corporate Center will have two pumping stations
- Kobbe Hills will have three pumping stations
- The Town Center will use waste water collection gravity lines
- Central access to the site is provided by Bruja Boulevard, which will be upgraded as part of the new backbone infrastructure for the community, becoming a two-lane, dual carriageway linking the Pan-American Highway from north to south.
- Bruja Boulevard provides a connection to the Veracruz Highway on the southeast boundary of the community. Once Calle Borinquen (the northern continuation of Bruja Boulevard, north of the community) is upgraded and re-opened to general traffic, Panama Pacifico will directly connect to the Centenary Bridge. This work is scheduled to begin in 2009.