UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hotel Francis, Collapses

The Accor Hotel Francis – MGallery Collection on the corners of Calle Las Mercedes and Arzobispo Meriño, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo came crashing to the ground Saturday night around 10PM!

Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma
Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma

Thank goodness there were no people inside other than the watchman who escaped without harm when he heard the noise from the roof buckling seconds before the collapse. They had a feeling something was happening to the building a few days ago and they evacuated the guests to one of the other 2 hotels owned by the Accor Hotel chain in the Colonial Zone, Hostal Nicolas de Ovando and Mercure Comercial Santo Domingo.

The neighbors said they did not know what was happening when the earth shook, the electricity went out and they heard a giant crash. All in the area ran to the street to find the building down. The electricity was only out for about 15 minutes.

This building with its beautiful 16th century Spanish architecture dating back to colonial times is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has survived earthquakes and hurricanes but it could not hold on any longer. The renovation of the Colonial Zone was more than this historical building could take (like many of us living here as well).
(click on the images to see them full size)

Hotel Francais in the 1920´s
Hotel Francais in the 1920´s

Accor Hotel Francis front in 2013, a UNESCO site.
Accor Hotel Francis front in 2013, a UNESCO site.

Accor Hotel Francis interior patio
Accor Hotel Francis interior patio

Most of the locals think that this collapse was due to the construction and excavation work they have been doing in the renovation of the Colonial Zone (Renovada Ciudad Colonial – picture collection).

(click on the images to see them full size)

Renovada Ciudad Colonial - Construction in front of Hotel Francis before collapse
Renovada Ciudad Colonial – Construction in front of Hotel Francis before collapse

Emergency crews came fast to make sure the area was secure including the Defensa Civil (Civil Defense), the Bomberos (Firemen) and the Policía Nacional. Most of the area was roped of before the collapse due to the construction on Calle Las Mercedes and Arzobispo Meriño.

(click on the images to see them full size)

Hotel Francis collapse. You can see the hotel rooms and the picture on the wall
Hotel Francis collapse. You can see the hotel rooms and the picture on the wall

Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma
Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma

Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma
Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma

Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma - Press Conference
Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma – Press Conference

Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma - Firemen and Police watching
Accor Hotel Francis Collapse / Desploma – Firemen and Police watching

Video of the Press Conference.

Here is a video of the Hotel Francis before the collapse. “Hotel Frances Santo Domingo MGallery collection

This reminds me of the other disaster we had during the Renovation project “Renovada Ciudad Colonial – Disaster on Padre Billini




Renovada Ciudad Colonial – Map of Construction July

Etapa Actual de Obras Desvíos Julio 2014 / Current Stage of Construction Detours July 2014

The new roads open, closed and with limited access for July and beginning of August as the work continues for the Renovada Ciudad Colonial / Renovating the Colonial City.

Map Ciudad Colonial - Open, closed and limited access roads during the construction July and August 2014
Map Ciudad Colonial – Open, closed and limited access roads during the construction July and August 2014

July, 25, 2014 marks the 1 year anniversary of the day they started putting up the road signs and barriers to start the renovation work in the Colonial Zone.

I have made a slide show presentation of the work in progress, taking pictures almost everyday of the streets under construction in the Zona Colonial. “Renovada Ciudad Colonial – The progress of the renovation project in the Colonial City, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The signs went up on July 25, 2013 and the Official start was Aug. 2, 2013.”

I will keep adding pictures until the work on the first part is completed. Keep checking back to see the progress in pictures.

Pictures – Calle Restauracion at Calle Colon

The section of Calle Restauración to Calle Colón that runs along side Plaza España down to the old ship yards (las atarazanas in Spanish) in the Colonial Zone. It was one of the main streets where all the ships were loaded and unloaded at the Puerta de las Atarazanas of Santo Domingo.

Calle Restoracion looking up towards Plaza España
Calle Restoracion looking up towards Plaza España
Calle Restauración looking towards the  Avenida del Puerto, Zona Colonial
Calle Restauración looking towards the Avenida del Puerto, Zona Colonial
Calle Restoracion and Calle Colon, Puerte del Atarazanas at the entrance to the Plaza de Poesia
Calle Restoracion and Calle Colon, Puerte del Atarazanas at the entrance to the Plaza de Poesia

To see what the area looked like many years ago visit page 4 of the Old Pictures of Dominican Republic page.

For the exact location check the Map of the Colonial Zone around numbers 31 and 88

Colonial Zone Is Happy!!

Today is the official International Day of Happiness / Día Internacional de la Felicidad.

Our neighbor LoCalTV DO made this video filmed on the streets of the Zona Colonial from March 13 to 16, 2014.

All my neighbors and many of our visiting friends from the world are dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Watch and see if it makes you happy.

We Are Happy From Santo Domingo Colonial

The video even made the We Are Happy From web site listing all the Happy videos from all over the world.

December Events / Diciembre Eventos in the Zone 2013

What’s happening in the Zone and around Santo Domingo. I will add December events going on in the Zona Colonial as I find them. If there is more information I will link to the page on this site or other sites. If you have an announcement you want to ad please post in the comments or send me an email with the complete information and I will post it.
(Do you know how Dominicans celebrate Christmas / Navidad?)

December in Colonial Zone. Hostal Nicolás de Ovando  in lights.
December in Colonial Zone. Hostal Nicolás de Ovando in lights.

December in Colonial Zone. Hostal Nicolás de Ovando on Calle las Damas dressed in its Christmas finest.

December 1 Sunday
*La Biblioteca Libre / The Free Library in Plaza España, Zona Colonial is a platform for free exchange of books and ideas seeking to create an active space for discussion and recreation believe in freedom of expression. An all day event.

*Grupo Bonyé Live More information

December 4 Wednesday
*The Wizard Sessar at Pat’ E Palo, Plaza España, Zona Colonial at 8PM. No cover.

*Rando Camasta at Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño, Zona Colonial at 10PM RD$200 P/P

December 5 Thursday
*Josean Jacobo & Tumbao – Música de Jazz En la Calle del Conde / Jazz music in the Calle del Conde on the stairs of the Calle El Conde near Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial. Starting at 8PM every Thursday in December 2013 the free concerts are for all who enjoy good music.

*”Sabor a Son” in Lucia 203 Calle Hostos RD$500 (you have to consume a minimum of $500)

*Kany García at Hard Rock Cafe, Calle el Conde, Colonial Zone at 9PM
RD$1,500 P/P

December 6 Friday
*Fausto Rey will be at Lucia 203 on Calle Hostos, Colonial Zone with his concert “Nostalgia”.RD$1,000 p/p and can be purchased at TicketExpress

December 7 Saturday
*Noche Larga de Los Museos Navidad / Long Night of Museums for more information. There will be a concert with Jhonny Ventura and Maridalia Hernández.

*Chuchy Mullens at a Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño, Zona Colonial singing his songs at 10PM entrance is free

December 8 Sunday
*Reggae Sundays at La Espiral, Calle Jose Reyes – entrance RD$50

*Grupo Bonyé Live More information

December 10 Tuesday
*Starting today until January 8 Holiday Hours Start. This means that partying at bars, restaurants, and discos can continue for unlimited hours. Enjoy and be careful out there!

December 12 Thursday
*Carlito Estrada Quartet – Música de Jazz En la Calle del Conde / Jazz music in the Calle del Conde on the stairs of the Calle El Conde near Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial. Starting at 8PM every Thursday in December 2013 the free concerts are for all who enjoy good music.

December 13 Thursday
*Atabales de Yogo Yogo – Palos Festival at La Espiral, Calle Jose Reyes at 9PM.

*Toque Profundo at Centro Cultural de España, Calle Arzobispo Meriño and Arzobispo Portes at 9PM.

December 14 Saturday
*Pequeños Conciertos – Childrens Choir at the Plaza del Reloj / Sundial Plaza in front of Casa de Relales, Calle las Damas at 5:30PM

*Chuchy Mullens at a Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño, Zona Colonial singing his songs at 10PM entrance is free

*Xiomara Fortuna & Raul at Parada 77. More information Xiomara Fortuna & Raul

December 15 Sunday
*Children’s Choir Aguinaldo / Coro Aguinaldo Infantil. The Cchildren will board the Chu Chu Colonial at Parque Colon and ride around the Zona Colonial sharing their songs with all starting at 5PM.

*Reggae Sundays at La Espiral, Calle Jose Reyes – entrance RD$50

*Grupo Bonyé Live More information

December 17 Tuesday
*Sandy Gabriel and Pop Jazz Ensemble at Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño at 9PM. Tickets can be purchased in advance.

*Victor Manuel at the Hard Rock Café, Santo Domingo at 9PM

December 19 Thursday
*Joshy & 4 Jazz – Música de Jazz En la Calle del Conde / Jazz music in the Calle del Conde on the stairs of the Calle El Conde near Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial. Starting at 8PM every Thursday in December 2013 the free concerts are for all who enjoy good music.

December 21 Saturday
*Chuchy Mullens at Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño, Zona Colonial singing his songs at 10PM entrance is free

December 22 Sunday
*Reggae Sundays at La Espiral, Calle Jose Reyes – entrance RD$50

*Grupo Bonyé Live More information

*Children’s Choir Aguinaldo / Coro Aguinaldo Infantil. The Cchildren will board the Chu Chu Colonial at Parque Colon and ride around the Zona Colonial sharing their songs with all starting at 5PM.

December 24 Tuesday
*Midnight Mass/ La Misa del Gallo is celebrated at 10 pm in the Cathedral de Santa Maria, the Oldest Cathedral in the Americas in Parque Colon, Colonial Zone. on Christmas Eve/ Noche Buena

December 25 Wednesday
*Christmas Day Choral Concert at the Cathedral de Santa Mariastarting at 8PM. If you want to sit inside you better get there hours early. There will be giant screens set up outside for those who cannot get inside the oldest cathedral in the new world. The choir will be singing traditional religious Christmas songs.

December 26 Thursday
*Jordi Masalles Quartet – Música de Jazz En la Calle del Conde / Jazz music in the Calle del Conde on the stairs of the Calle El Conde near Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial. Starting at 8PM every Thursday in December 2013 the free concerts are for all who enjoy good music.

December 27 Friday
*Reggaeton by Tony Dize “La Melodía De La Calle” at the Hard Rock Café, Santo Domingo at 9PM. Tickets start at RD$1000

*Winter Wonderland @ Faces Atarazana #9, Zona Colonial – 9PM – RD$300 P/P

*Live Jazz @ La Briciola, Arz. Meriño, Colonial Zone – 8PM

*Pavel Núñez y Víctor Víctor “Por sí no llegamos al 31 de Dec” @ Lucia 203, Calle Hostos #203, Cuidad Colonial – 8:30PM – RD$1,000 P/P

December 28 Saturday
*The Dominican Comedians present their own special type of comedy “La Risoterapia en Navidad” at the Teatro Fiesta, Hotel Jaragua starting at 9:30PM

*Christmas Choir Concert @ Brilliante Navidad, Parque Iberoamericano. Ave Bolívar con Tiradentes 6PM

*Trio Mi Amorch @ LUCiA 203, Calle Hostos #203, Zona Colonial –
RD$400 P/P and RD$600 p/Couple

*Toque Profundo @ Casa Teatro, Arzobispo Portes #120 – 10PM –
RD$600 P/P

December 29 Saturday
*Chuchy Mullens at Casa de Teatro, Calle Arz. Meriño, Zona Colonial singing his songs at 10PM entrance is free

*Reggae Sundays at La Espiral, Calle Jose Reyes – entrance RD$50

*Grupo Bonyé Live More information

*Children’s Choir Aguinaldo @ Parque Colon on board Chu chú Colonial starting at 5PM

*Christmas Carol Concert @ Plaza España, Zona Colonial – 6PM

December 31 Tuesday
*Luces y sonido de Navidad Santo Domingo / Lights and Sounds of Christmas Santo Domingo. The big Año Nuevo / New Years Eve Concert and Celebration! More information “New Years Eve in Santo Domingo 2013-2014

*WHAT’S UP 2014 with 5 DJ’s @ Faces, Atarazana #9, Zona Colonial – Open Bar – RD$700 in advance and RD$1,000 at the door

*43nd Anniversary of the “Rally del Borracho”/ “Drunkard’s Rally” in Don Bosco. As always will be celebrated on December 31, 2012 until the rising of the sun on January 1, 2013. (more information about last years party and a map)

Rally del Borracho 12-31-2013
Rally del Borracho 12-31-2013

*New Year’s Mass/ la Misa de Año Nuevo December 31 at 11:00 pm in the Cathedral de Santa Maria

*New Years Metro of Santo Domingo Hours – Tuesday 31 – 6AM to 8PM and January 1, 2014 from 6AM to 10PM

Continuing Events
*Brillante Navidad – A brilliant Christmas light display at the Parque Iberoamerica on Avenida Bolivar and Tiradentes, Santo Domingo. There are over 27 million lights in 400 trees over a one-kilometer stretch. Be prepared for big traffic problems to see this amazing display of lights to brighten your holiday. Live entertainment is provided at night. Open December until January 7, 2014.

*Omisciesta – Art Exhibition – December 1 to 20 8:00 pm at Centro Cultural de España, Calles Meriño and Portes, Zona Colonial

All the events for December happening at Casa de Teatro.

Casa de Teatro, Zona Colonial December 2013 events
Casa de Teatro, Zona Colonial December 2013 events

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The Ciudad Colonial – A New Zone For Us All

They started the ball rolling for the remodeling and restoration of the Ciudad Colonial today. They had the Engineers that are taking care of this big project, Núcleo de Ingenieros/ Core of Engineers, S A, here for pictures and to put up their big banner announcing the project.

Update – I made a picture album with all the restoration pictures I have and will take in the Colonial Zone fixing-up process. Tu Nueva Ciudad Colonial – Renovada Ciudad Colonial. New pictures will be added often to show the process throughout the years.

Núcleo de Ingenieros put up the sign announcing the start of the renovation.
Núcleo de Ingenieros put up the sign announcing the start of the renovation.

Tu Nueva Ciudad Colonial / Your New Colonial City
Tu Renovada Ciudad Colonial Desde 2013

Remodeling and renewing the Colonial Zone
Remodeling and renewing the Colonial Zone

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Dominican Republic along with the Ministry of tourism of the Dominican Republic started the “Programa de Fomento al Turismo- Ciudad Colonial de Santo Domingo” “Program of Tourism Development – Colonial City of Santo Domingo”. This project will return the splendor and importance to our Zona Colonial area and the entire country.

The planned five-year project strives to contribute to the sustainability of Dominican Republics tourism industry and increase its competitiveness. They want to open new market niches that are not only for Sun and beaches but to promote tourism based on the richness and importance of the cultural and historical heritage of this history rich country.

The general objective of the program is to boost the competitiveness of the Dominican tourism sector giving it more diversity. To also generate more benefits for the local population not only in the coastal areas. They want to increase income and employment generated by tourism in the Ciudad Colonial of Santo Domingo through the development of tourist products of high competitive potential.

To achieve these objectives they have divided the renovation plan into three components. The development of tourism, local integration in tourism development and strengthening tourism management.

The first part of the project is for the streets Isabel la Catolíca and Arzobispo Meriño and all the streets connection the 2 streets. They want to put underground electric lines and clean up the look.

Work starting for the rejuvenation f the Colonial City starts here.
Work starting for the rejuvenation f the Colonial City starts here.

So, here we go. The Zona Colonial is going to get a face lift.

These are pictures from the start of the project this afternoon.

nucleo-de-ingenieros-have-arrived-in-colonial-zone-repairs-start-soon-02-7-25-2013

Engineers signing the documents and doing more discussing
Engineers signing the documents and doing more discussing

nucleo-de-ingenieros-have-arrived-in-colonial-zone-repairs-start-soon-06-7-25-2013

Engineers doing a lot of talking as the Horse and Buggy pass by on Calle Padre Billini
Engineers doing a lot of talking as the Horse and Buggy pass by on Calle Padre Billini

nucleo-de-ingenieros-have-arrived-in-colonial-zone-repairs-start-soon-08-7-25-2013

The web site with all the projects planned Tu Nueva Ciudad Colonial