San Miguel is the main commercial area of La Paz, hosting the city’s most fashionable restaurants, designer shops and spas. It was however originally a race course, and its circular roads stand out in the otherwise grid system of La Zona Sur. San Miguel was first developed when, with backing from USAID, small one and two story cottage like houses were built on the terrain of the old hipodromo, and professionals from the centre of the city were encouraged to take out mortgages from the newly established Mutual La Primera building society to move to the area. Many of these bungalows have been transformed into fashionable cafes and boutiques with imaginative facades. In recent years, there has been an influx of wealth from the North of La Paz and El Alto, and the value of the land in this area has led to the development of high rise residential and office buildings, pictured above next to one of the original bungalows.