A severe economic depression struck Argentina in the second half of 1998 and the ensuing slide eventually lead to the 2001 economic collapse and the largest debt default in the history of the world. By 2003, much to the bewilderment of its citizens, the economy started to recover. On the heels of a rise in commodity prices, specifically soy beans (which Argentina is the world’s third largest producer), the country started its rise from the ashes and its GDP grew at 9% a year for 5 consecutive years.
Inexpensive labor, improving economic conditions, and a long-awaited opportunity for property owners to sell made for a construction boom. Sadly, many of the prestigious buildings that were the result of Argentina’s glorious past around the turn of the 19th century, were destroyed as current zoning codes allowed for taller buildings which meant more profit for developers. It was not until 2009 that the city instituted preservation laws which protected buildings constructed prior to 1942.