SAN JUAN DEL SUR – Inspired by the 120-foot “Christ The Redeemer” statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro while visiting Brazil, Nicaraguan entrepreneur Erwin González set out seven years ago to build his own version of the Jesus statue on the bluffs he owns overlooking the bay of San Juan del Sur.
Today, González is just weeks away from completing his vision, as he prepares to tow piece-by-piece what will be the tallest structure in San Juan up to the top of the cliffs to the north of town.
If everything goes as planned, his 47-foot fiberglass “Jesús de la Misericordia” statue will be erected by the end of the year on top of the 28-foot-tall platform that is currently being finished on the cliff.
At night, the illuminated 76-foot-tall construction will be a “holy landmark” for boats coming into the bay.
“It has a 360-degree view and it will be illuminated at night, so it will be like a lighthouse for boats at sea,” said González, who is financing the $500,000 project with his own funds.
González owns Pacific Marlin, the real estate development in San Juan overlooking the NacascoloBay to the north and San Juan bay to the south, where a sea breeze rolls across his hillside development that houses a handful of luxurious homes and small ocean-view resorts. Ever since he bought the property seven years ago, he’s been wanting to erect something akin to the 77-year-old Redeemer statue in Rio, which in 2006 was declared a Catholic sanctuary.
But it wasn’t until González’s son, who was in the United States at the time, read an article in The Tico Times that his idea started to become a reality.
The story mentioned a 10-meter Christ statue overlooking the expansive Valle de El General in southern Costa Rica that was built by Costa Rican architect Francisco Ulloa (TT, Dec. 17, 2004). González got hold of the article and tracked down Ulloa, who lives in Cartago, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.
Since then he signed on Ulloa’s son, Max, who helped design the Costa Rican Christ statue. After the project was given the thumbs up by San Juan Mayor Eduardo Holmann, González has been busy leveling the windswept peak where his statue will soon be erected.
On a recent afternoon, The Nica Times found workers putting the finishing touches on the base where the Christ statue will stand. The base also includes a small basilica so ceremonies can be held beneath the Christ statue.
In a phone interview with The Nica Times, González could barely contain his enthusiasm for the project.
“You’ll be able to see it from Costa Rica,” he said of his 8-story high creation. “This will be a blessing for a beautiful place.”