Colonial Zone Redevelopment


On Vacation!
Sep 3, 2006
I have spent a fair share of time in the Zona Colonial, and it definintely has some charm. It also has some really nice old buildings- historic treasures, really- that look like they are about to fall down. A lot of streets are total ghost towns- no pedestrians, no lights, all the doors rolled down. you might see a stray dog or two. What I am wondering is this- Santo Domingo is building high rise apartments like crazy. Has the government or a big time developer ever thought to modernize and clean up the ZC? How charming would it be to have a nice upgraded loft in one of those 400 year old buildings? Imagine a whole bunch of nice shops- like outlet stores, etc. that could attract the cruise ship crowd. The closest comparison is Old San Juan. The buildings there are really well kept, there is a bustling, busy nightlife, tons of shops, and there is an energy about the place. I think the ZC could be and even surpass San Juan if some serious captial was placed into the area. Or of course you can go the total gringo route and build a new baseball stadium near by. If it can improve Detroit, it can work here !


Well-known member
Dec 9, 2002
It's happening, but slowly. Property prices are getting higher and Dominicans and foreigners are buying colonial ruins and renovating them nicely. The streets around the cathedral are in best shape, and on some, like Hostos, the electricity cables are now underground which makes a huge difference.

UNESCO is involved - they are funding and advising on the process, They are also ensuring that locals are not pushed out by the rising property prices by buying old buildings and converting them into low-cost housing where local residents are given priority.

It is still a far cry from its Havana and San Juan counterparts, but it'll get there some day. I hope that as well as all the focus on colonial architecture something will be done to preserve and restore the art deco in parts of the zone and in Ciudad Nueva. My sister in law bought a ruin on one of the higher up areas and converted it into a three storey townhouse with a huge roof terrace and underground garage, it is on the market for less than US$200k - not sure if they've sold it yet, but it seems like a good price to me.


Feb 3, 2002
This area was "developing" quickly as the night life there was becoming awesome with all the little bars, cafes, etc...and it was definitely becoming the IN place to live...then Mr. Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez along with Franklin Almeyda killed the night life (rumor has it that since he lives there he couldn't sleep well with the bars open late night after night, so he "asked" Leonel to pass a decree for bars to close at 12:00 AM).


Oct 18, 2004
Like most things in the DR, the process of redeveloping ZC will take place over time, and it will probably be done by the private sector with little or no government action or finance. The DR government could really provide leadership here, and make this happen at a faster pace, but I'm not sure that that will happen. I can well imagine, however, a ZC where the historical buildings are restored and converted to appropriate residential and commercial use, and the area evolving as the OP suggests. I am delighted to here that there are people who are already in the process of redeveloping the ZC. I cannot wait to see what the future holds!