Lima 2019 Commemorates Pan American Village Construction -- Photodesk

(ATR) Peru President Pedro Kuczynski and PanamSports leaders inaugurate construction of the Lima 2019 Pan Am Village.

(ATR) Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and leaders of PanamSports celebrate the beginning of construction at the Lima 2019 Pan American Village with a traditional Peruvian ceremony.

Two "shicra" stones were buried by President Kuczynski and PanamSports president Neven Ilic in the location where the Pan Am Games cauldron will be located in less than two years, symbolizing an ancient Peruvian tradition.

Shicras are stones used to protect homes from seismic activity, first used over 4,000 years ago by the ancient Norte Chico culture in Caral, Peru, according to a release by PanamSports. The region is prone to minor and sometimes major earthquakes due to its proximity to the Andes Mountains.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Lima had a minor earthquake at 3 a.m. ahead of the start of the second day of the IOC Session in Lima, jesting about it disrupting the sleep of the Olympic leaders gathered in Peru.

The Pan American Village will house 1,092 apartments in seven towers and is expected to be completed by February 2019, five months before athletes arrive in Lima. South American construction firm Besco-Besalco won the competitive tender on Sept. 4 with a budget of $114 million to complete the turnkey project.

"Lima 2019 will cement this city's place as a hub for culture, tourism and world-class sport," said President Kuczynski. "Most importantly, these Games will provide fresh opportunities for a new generation of Peruvians to live healthier, more active lifestyles."

PanamSports chief Ilic said he is thrilled that construction on the project is finally underway after doubts about its completion started to surface.

"The Athletes’ Village is a key part of the Lima 2019 project and we are delighted to see it is underway," Ilic said in a statement. "There is no time to lose, but through strong collaboration and hard work we have full confidence Lima 2019 will deliver an outstanding facility for the athletes of the Americas."

The Village will be given to the Ministry of Housing after the conclusion of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games on Sept. 1. The ministry will convert it into affordable housing and a legacy landmark for Lima 2019.

Click here for photos from the ceremony.

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Written by Kevin Nutley

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