Seen with the eyes of a girl, the entrance bridges to the former Sports City of La Boca -in Costanera Sur, Puerto Madero-, they had an extreme slope, a curvature that generated vertigo. Today, seen with the eyes of an adult, these two cantilevered structures only bring out a smile and many memories. Of the amusement park and its magic carpet, nothing remains. Of the Neptuno confectionery and the pools, only ruins. Traces of the grandiloquence of this property that had the ambition to become a sports, cultural and recreational center that was also going to house the largest football stadium in the world in those years, with capacity for 140,000 spectators.
Almost like a parable of Argentina, the mega project was wrecked. And in a short time there will not even be the remains of this kind of dystopian postcard that Clarion could see and tour this Thursday. Only the family photos, the chronicles of the time and the memory of those who visited and enjoyed this place will remain.
In the future, it is expected that this property will become in a large park, with towers and residential buildings, commercial premises, schools, offices and sanatorium, bars and restaurants. By the dimensions, practically a new neighborhood. In the Buenos Aires Legislature the law that will allow the rezoning of the land and building in height has just been approved, in first reading; Until now it was only possible to do work to be used for sports purposes. According to the agreement between the City and the IRSA company, owner of the land, of the total of 71 hectares of the property, 24.6 will be destined to real estate development and the other 47 to a public park.
The place was closed and inaccessible for 30 years, from the moment it was acquired by IRSA. In all these years, the owner of the largest private property in the City maintained the facilities in certain conditions: she took care of weeding, mowing the lawn, conducting pest control and betting private security on the perimeter.
The pool and diving boards of the former Sports City of Boca. One of the traces of an ambitious project that eventually collapsed. Photo: Andrés D´Elía.
Some of the buildings that remained standing were degraded and destroyed over time. For example, a grandstand that was planted as a kind of foundation stone for the mega football stadium. OR the salt water pools; one of them had a very curious physiognomy, it looked like a letter K. There was also nothing left of the tennis courts and the famous fish-shaped aquarium.
Better luck ran the ornamental waterfall pool, which despite neglect and the passage of time, maintains the structure of the trampolines and even the venecitas of the coating. The Rainbow Fountain, at the entrance, is another of the constructions that still survives: at night, multicolored lights were turned on and they marveled at their spectacle of dancing waters.
Among the memories that survive, a diagram of what was to be the project of the Sports City of Boca. Photo: Andrés D´Elía.
Sources from the Buenos Aires government and the company understand that, once the law is approved in second reading -the ruling party has allied votes to this time to get it approved-, the weeding of the property could immediately start and finally the demolition of these collapsed structures. Also the Neptuno confectionery. The conical roof remains, but not the cover, which is practically detached.
In the future, it is expected keep the original walkway that ran all the way around the property. Today you can even see the iron railings of those times. The company hopes to get them back.
One of the fountains that still stands, the Rodrigo Bueno neighborhood and behind Puerto Madero. The view from the former Sports City of Boca. Photo: Andrés D’Elía
The Sports City had been thought of as a sort of archipelago: there were islands with different uses – the stadium island, the fishermen’s island, the swimming pools, the drive-in, the micro-stadium – and they communicated through bridges. Most of the roads are preserved, as are the bridges. There is a private helipad on the island of the microstadium that should be discontinued as this project progresses.
The footbridges of the trails of the former Sports City of Boca could be restored and preserved. Photo: Andrés D’Elía
The property will have to the right, next to the Rodrigo Bueno neighborhood and separated by a stream, uses of public park. The front will be 300 meters wide -the distance that exists today between both entrance bridges- and almost 1,500 meters towards the front of the Río de la Plata. In that extreme part of the City, the river wind hits with fury against a kind of artificial cliff, a wall of stones and remains of work, which were used to make this landfill that won the river.
The new neighborhood proposed by the owners of the property will be located on the left side, in front of the Cinar (Argentine Naval Industrial Complex, where Tandanor also operates) and Enel, the largest thermoelectric plant in the country. The huge turbines and giant chimneys form a disturbing backdrop, because certainly these lands are located next to Demarchi Island, a purely port area. Well to the south end of the City.
The Neptuno confectionery, one of the vestiges of what was the Boca Sports City, on the Costanera Sur. Photo: Andrés D´Elía
It is expected that by the end of the year there may be a call for competition to design what will be the public park. Perhaps in the middle of 2022 the work will begin. According to the City and the owners, this is a project that will advance in stages and could require more than 10 years of works. And by the time it’s over, the trace of what was the Sports City of Boca will be lost forever.