Grand Junction firm to proceed on Brazilian aquarium project

A Grand Junction-based company is expected to proceed with a massive aquarium project following the approval of a $105 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to the Brazilian state of Ceará.

International Concept Management will oversee the design and construction of the Acquario, a four-story complex located in Fortaleza that will house the largest facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

The project is only the latest for ICM and its sister company, Reynolds Polymer Technology.  The two Grand Junction-based firms have been involved in projects to construct aquariums and other attractions in more than 50 countries around the world.

“We are proud to be a partner with the state of Ceará in Brazil for this very prestigious and highly visible project,” said Roger Reynolds III, president and chief executive officer of ICM. “The involvement of the EX-IM Bank throughout this lengthy development process was instrumental in bringing the financing for this project together.”

Reynolds said the project will involve several hundred jobs in Colorado and more than 1,000 additional jobs in the U.S. through a network of subcontractors, suppliers and partners.

The Export-Import Bank estimated that at least 90 percent of the value of exported products and services financed by the loan will be provided by small businesses in the U.S.

The Acquario complex will include four floors housing 25 large tanks containing a total of about 3.9 million gallons of water and showcasing 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens. The complex also will include interactive exhibits, three movie theaters and an educational platform dedicated to the research and preservation of aquatic life along the Brazilian coastal regions.

When completed, Acquario will rank as the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world.

Fred Hochberg, president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank said the loan will support hundreds of small business jobs in a specialized industry. “The aquarium, which attests to the craftsmanship of American workers, will be a major tourist attraction in Brazil that will support jobs here at home,” Hochberg added.