The 23-story Serrador building rises gracefully in downtown Rio de Janeiro, a rounded granite-and-glass art deco masterpiece that conjures the opulence of another era. Completed in 1944 and named for Spanish cinema-house promoter Francisco Serrador, it once held a luxury hotel with a nightclub that attracted a mix of Rio elites and visiting American movie stars.
The Serrador had fallen on hard times in recent decades, only to find a patron: Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista. In 2011, with Batista’s financial empire in full glory, he leased the luxuriously remodeled complex to house his alphabet soup of companies -– EBX, MMX, OGX, among them -- and provide him a penthouse view of the city befitting his status as one of the world’s richest men. His helipad sat just one flight up.