In downtown Caracas, 2500 people live in an abandoned 45-story skyscraper

The Centro Financiero Confinanzas (a.k.a. "the David Tower," named after its investor David Brillembourg) stands half-complete in downtown Caracas and is Venezuela's third largest skyscraper.

After the Venezuelan banking industry went belly up in 1994, construction was halted indefinitely, and ownership of the unfinished David Tower reverted to the government. Since then, 2500 squatters have moved into the tower's lower 28 stories, exchanging long, arduous walks, a lack of guardrails, and DIY sanitation for a place to live. Residents of the David Tower have carved out a unique urban ecosystem — electricity, retail, recreation centers, and building security are some of the skyscraper's amenities. Notes The New York Times:

In downtown Caracas, 2500 people live in an abandoned 45-story skyscraper

A beauty salon operates on one floor. On another, an unlicensed dentist applies the brightly colored braces that are the rage in Caracas street fashion. Almost every floor has a small bodega.

Julieth Tilano, 26, lives inside a small shop on the seventh floor with her husband and in-laws. They sell everything from plantains to Pepsi and Belmont cigarettes. Her husband, Humberto Hidalgo, 23, has a side business in which he charges children from the skyscraper 50 cents per half-hour to play PlayStation games on the four television sets in the family's living room.

"There's opportunity in this tower," said Mr. Hidalgo, who immigrated here last year from Valledupar, Colombia.

For another massive abandoned skyscraper, see the Sathorn Unique in Bangkok, Thailand.

[Via Inhabitat]