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"RIO DE JANEIRO — The views were heart-stopping: the famous beaches of Ipanema, the imposing Sugar Loaf Mountain, the choppy blue Atlantic. The downside of the property that Andreas Wielend wanted was that it was in one of Rio's notorious favelas, the violent slums clinging to the city's picturesque hillsides.

But as Rio de Janeiro remakes itself for soccer's 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, several intrepid companies, a score of city agencies and even a few foreigners are wandering into the city's once-forbidden favelas in search of opportunities. Wielend, a 33-year-old Austrian telecommunications engineer, reasoned that the advantages outweighed the shortcomings.

So, two years ago, he paid $10,000 for a spacious house 1,000 feet up in the Vidigal favela and opened a little hotel, which has been a hit not just with young American and European travelers but also with locals, who venture up from the glittering city below for rollicking parties.

"I saw how close it is to everything, and there's the beach and the view. And for me it was all this and that it was becoming a normal neighborhood," Wielend said. "The favelas are definitely changing now."

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