Lifeafar (FARM) has laid groundwork for a one-stop shopping center for all major services catering to foreign visitors, residents and workers in Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city.
FARM has made initial investments towards the construction of a Global Express Business Center (GEBC), which would incorporate a vast multitude of unique services to foreign investors all under one roof in the city of Medellin, FARM founder Rich Holman told Colombia Reports.
The services range from airport transportation, travel insurance, money exchanges, and shipping centers, to legal advice, bilingual assistance, visa applications, and accounting.
According to Rich Holman, “To the best of our knowledge, there is nothing like this anywhere in the world.”
In March of this year, a 5,800 square foot building in Medellin’s El Poblado district was placed under contract by FARM with the assistance of a private investor. For FARM, the location is ideal as it is situated near the area’s two busiest streets, which hosts a number of international and local high-end businesses, as well as being close to one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, Lleras Park.
Rich Holman said that even though the city of Medellin officially has no knowledge of the plans for the GEBC, he would like to get in touch with the mayor’s office to see if they would want to be involved in the project as a means of promoting tourism.
“And why not?” says Holman, “the city is trying to be ongoing and progressive, and it fits in perfectly with the whole concept.”
To Holman, the services that the GEBC will supply are not just be for the sole benefit of Medellin — although there will be perks — but it will be a result of the innovation that Medellin provides.
Colombia’s second largest city was named the world’s most innovative city in March 2013, edging out Tel Aviv and New York in a competition sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and Citigroup. Since then the city has held the United Nations’ VII World Urban forum in April, increasing the international profile of the city as a hub for business even further.
As for future aspirations, the FARM founder said that he wants to reach-out to hotels in the area as a means of informing concierges of the GEBC’s services.
According to Holman, if a foreign visitor staying at a hotel in Medellin wants to know how to send a package to Canada, or how to find travel insurance, or wants to know where the nearest ATM is, “why not direct that person to a ‘Home Depot’” of services and information?
With the initial round of funding completed, a further $354,000 in the second round will be put to use towards architectural, engineering, permitting and legal purposes.
According to Rich Holman, once three rounds of funding are completed, the final closing on the building will take place in January of 2015 while the business center is projected to be operational by October the same year.
Once all funding is in, the total price to complete the GEBC will be $1.2 million.
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