Huge real estate opportunity in coastal cities

By ARQ. RICARDO ALVARADO – Architect – Project & Residential Construction Director at Senderos de Ciudad Mayakoba

Mexico’s sustained tourism growth in the last 12 years, particularly the second half of them, evidences the needs and challenges that have been faced in terms of urban development and housing in different coastal cities, particularly in those with an eminently tourist profile. It is a global trend and Mexico is no stranger to it.

The reasons are many, deriving mainly from the expansion of economic activities related to port and commercial development (in the Pacific area), oil extraction (in the Gulf of Mexico) and, of course, tourism development. On the latter, we have Mazatlan, Los Cabos, Acapulco and Huatulco in the Pacific; Tampico and Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico; and in the Caribbean, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Merida can be included in this last group, due to its relative proximity to the sea by the town of Progreso, and Campeche, which is turning back again towards tourism.

On the other hand, a strong ideology emerged in the 1960s – transforming into an actual trend later on – oriented towards the search to improve the quality of life and the health of the family, leading this to the preference for locations with richer environmental surroundings, promoting the moving of populations to new centers with better urban planning.

Studies by the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Geographical Investigations, Bulletin 40) show how this almost explosive evolution has come to be in the two Mexican coasts. Suffice it to mention that between the years 1900 and 1995, the Pacific coasts went from hosting four population centers to eighty-three; while in the Atlantic (including the Caribbean), growth went from five population centers to ninety-five, several of them becoming large cities, such as Merida and Cancun (with populations ranging from 500,000 to less than one million). Today, both cities are large, with more than one million inhabitants, or very close already.

The impressive urban and real estate development occurring in the Yucatan Peninsula is not fortuitous. We can describe it as a development axis that begins in Merida, to which Campeche is being incorporated. To the south, it goes along the coast of Quintana Roo, getting to Tulum, and going on to continue in Costa Maya, ending in Chetumal’s border with Belize. In terms of tourism, the Yucatan Peninsula is the great power of the Caribbean, since it competes with other countries and with the tourist giant that is Florida and its emblematic Miami.

This region has become increasingly attractive for Mexicans all over the country, who are finding employment and a better quality of life here. Families arriving here are even achieving one of the greatest goals a family can dream of: to have a home of their own, whether they purchase it with their own resources or through credit, or build their own house in one of the many real estate developments.

Opportunities are vast, although they do represent a challenge for state and local governments in terms of planning, promotion and regulation of urban development, including electrical, water and, particularly, sanitary infrastructure, aligned with environmental preservation and protection.

National businessmen and real estate developers have faced this challenge with an unwavering will, aimed at covering the demand of all socioeconomic segments with multiple products, as well as through constantly-evolving environmental and urban planning, a sustainable development that benefits us all.

Where will your money produce the most value?

By RAÚL LOPEZ G. – Director at SOC Peninsula – Financial Advisors

Saving is essential if we are to achieve financial ease in the future and meet short- and medium-term goals, be it a trip or big business, projects that always start with good savings. It is also possible to allocate the money to investment funds destined to pay for our children’s universities, or create generational wealth by investing in real estate, where added value and producing cash flow are main characteristics. The question is, if we know that saving can help us and give us the financial ease we aspire to, why do not we save for that purpose?

Saving is a habit that can only be achieved through discipline (setting aside a percentage of our monthly income), planning (being able to foresee the future to a reasonable extent) and responsibility (claiming ownership on the wellbeing of our people). Saving is something we have to learn and practice day by day, identifying family or personal priorities, and knowing what results will all those resources for which we work constantly give us at the end of the day. Some of those resources will be spent exclusively on leisure and that is fine, but do you believe it is only for the here and now that we work? What about the future? What can we do to multiply the part that we save, and then make investing decisions?

Oftentimes we think that we can make the best decisions alone, but nobody is an expert in everything. When it comes to caring for and maximizing money, we must choose a professional, specialized financial advisor to guide us on what is best for us and our lifestyle, taking into account whether we have children or not, and given the case, their ages, so as to plan tuition payments; as well as if we have a house of our own or are looking for it. Did you know that the bank can lend you up to 90% of the value of a property and, if its location is good, you can market it for vacation rentals, so the tenants practically pay the mortgage, while the property grows in added value and generates cash flow? If we seek financial freedom and not having to be stuck in an office all our lives, we must start investing and planning for the future, creating wealth through real estate in high added value areas, such as the Riviera Maya. We must keep in mind that professional advice is vital for our savings to increase and multiply.

Investment advice

If you already decided to invest in real estate, consider the following:

  • Which is the city or area of greatest growth and demand in the country?
  • Approach the experts if you need mortgage credit, so that they not only process the credit but also act as advisors, identifying your financial profile in order to facilitate the credit with the best conditions for you.
  • Hire a real estate professional agency who really knows the market and can get you excellent investment options.

We wrap this up with the following quote by Robert Kiyosaki: “Do today what you want for your tomorrows”.

 

Property Acquisition in Mexico

Acquiring real estate in Mexico as a foreign investor has become more secure, efficient and transparent in the last 20 years. International property acquisition has increased dramatically – in recent years even at a much faster pace – due to the growth opportunities in attractive local markets such as the Mexican Caribbean, particularly the Riviera Maya.

Nowadays, Mexican laws regarding foreign investment allow greater flexibility, freedom and legal security in terms of granting property rights to potential international buyers in search of residential properties in Mexico. However, real estate laws, rules and regulations are quite different from those in other countries, especially in the United States. Buyers looking for a place to live, to vacation or to retire must become acquainted with the basic legal requirements to acquire property in Mexican territory. Hence, it is highly recommended that, early on in their search, investors seek knowledgeable and experienced real estate counsel.

The following are some important points to take into account when buying property in Mexico as a foreign investor:

  • Start building your team of local property experts in Mexico early on: an established real estate broker and a title company such as Secure Title Riviera Maya who will provide you with a real estate attorney.
  • Request from the possible seller a full copy of the title deed. Initially, this helps in verifying that whoever is selling has actual legal ownership on the property.
  • Conduct a Title Research in order to verify the legal standing of the title.
  • Open an Escrow Account.
  • Have the title company draft all the important documents, in both English and Spanish, such as the Initial Offer, Promissory Contract, Escrow Agreement, Purchase & Sale Agreement, among others. This helps all parties engaged to fully understand all the terms and conditions of the acquisition.

 

México is a beautiful and charming country, an excellent place to enjoy life at its fullest. Enjoying what this country has to offer as a foreigner investor is a wise decision. Hence, your security and peace of mind at the time of acquiring property are of utmost importance. Do not jeopardize your piece of paradise, and enjoy your new property while building your family wealth. Always consider protecting your investment.

It’s good fishing, in troubled waters

By EDUARDO HERNÁNDEZ OCHOA – Director of Market Intelligence, Ciudad Mayakoba

Who would have thought that Riviera Maya would become a tourist destination for celebrities and influencers, as well as a handful of developers and real estate investors from several countries?

Today’s story is simple: a paradisal destination in the Mexican Caribbean is discovered by nature lovers and, in a heartbeat, the word has spread all over the planet.

Social networks were accomplices of all those who wanted to shout to the world the wonder they had discovered. Something new, spectacular, worthy to be seen and experienced. A must in the bucket list of nationals and foreigners who have dreamed of a better quality of life surrounded by nature. Some have made the dream come true at the cost of many sacrifices, others already had made this destination their home, and many others came for a few weeks and decided to stay.

But behind this beautiful story in which different cultures come together, innumerable situations have arisen that resulted in fear, resentment, political confrontations (national and international), apparent irregularities, competition, voracity, unbridled urban development and, of course, great opportunities!

The main factor that creates these opportunities is the constant and high flow of tourists in the region, both national and foreign. That, my readers, is called fresh money. To this, add the percentage of the world population with cash surpluses – that in traditional investment would generate returns of less than 5% – who have visited or heard of the destination and, with a feel of rush, seek to invest in it and not be left out. That cocktail, spiced with attractive architectural projects, innovative housing models, eco-technologies, nature, and more, offers the opportunity to participate in the bonanza of the Mexican Caribbean.

The fact that there is a large number of projects from new developers and competitors, allows buyers to negotiate attractive discounts and financing plans on units ranging from <40m2 studios to luxury penthouses that can be rented when not being used. The latter is one of the main sales engines of finished units, with a ROI promise ranging from 8% to over 14% (after maintenance fees and commissions of income management companies, that range from 15% to 30%), this besides the added value that buyers trust to obtain.

Options are as many as their creativity and level of entrepreneurship allows to investors, from joining a group of investors to develop a new real estate project that can be residential, hotel-type, hotel or fractional condos; acquiring one or more land lots to develop them or to contribute to an experienced developer; buying units for rent; up to investing in a new hotel or in various businesses related to tourism and real estate. And why not? Innovating in real estate models that today have still not made their debut appearance in the region and that the diversity of the potential client profiles allows to create successfully.

Developers are already tapping on the force of young investors who are looking to be part of the destination and get a decent return on their investment; of the so-called anti-resort millennials that prefer to stay in apartments; of families with young children who want to see them grow in a more natural, inclusive and healthy space; of big-capital investors as partners in an initial fund or in the sale of several units as a whole; and of course, of all those who, either because of their job or because they are trying to find a better quality of life, have moved to this region and are now looking for a home to live.

The developers of planned communities have also taken advantage of this great opportunity to create a well-planned, safe destination, with a high percentage of green and preservation areas, and with high quality standards in which other developers and investors are also building attractive projects and models of life.

And this is how a sui generis mixture of events and cultures is creating great profit in the Riviera Maya.

Fishing time!

marina-condos-puerto-cancun

MARINA CONDOS & CANAL HOMES

GREATEST EXCLUSIVITY IN PUERTO CANCUN

The Marina Condos and Canal Homes complex is part of the Marina District in Puerto Cancun, a comprehensive community strategically located between the hotel zone and the city’s downtown, a short distance from everywhere. This complex will house a tower with 112 condominiums and 15 canal homes, and will have direct access to Marina Town Center, the most modern shopping center in the destination.

This development was specially designed for lovers of sailing and the nautical lifestyle. It is located in front of the main dock of our marina, which has the capacity to receive 125 vessels of up to 175 feet in length.

With its 30 docking positions and direct access to the Caribbean Sea, this branch of the marina is destined to be the center of Cancun’s nautical community. In turn, the adjoining shopping center will provide residents with more than 120 options in gastronomy, entertainment and shopping.

A public walker that will run over half a mile in front of the navigation channels and the dock, interconnecting several of its main projects and creating a beautiful path for the community’s pedestrians and runners, will be another main attraction of Marina District.

 

Marina Canal Homes

This housing complex will consist of 15 canal homes aligned in front of the marina, offering the option of living with the comfort and independence only houses are known for, but with the opportunity of enjoying luxury amenities in a safe environment.

Each canal home is to be three floors, with approximately 340 m2 of construction and with the possibility of having a private dock right in front, and parking space. Two different typologies alternated one next to the other will offer the perfect environment to enjoy life in front of the marina.

 

Marina Condos

A 20-story tower holding 112 luxury condos and four exclusive penthouses, with spectacular views to the Caribbean Sea, the hotel zone skyline, the Nichupte lagoon and the mangrove swamp. This luxury tower offers units in options with one, two and three bedrooms and living areas ranging from 70 to 170 m2. The most comfortably luxurious option: four exclusive, 340 m2, four-bedroom penthouses with unparalleled 180-degrees views.

 

Leisure amenities

The meeting point for all residents will be an open terrace with recreational pool, pool for adults, bar, sundeck, outdoor multipurpose area, paddle court, fully equipped gym and playground for kids.

The return of traditional marketing

By Teo González

In this era when we have impressive smart phones, social media all around us and Google can answer almost all our questions, talking about traditional marketing may sound anachronistic and romantic. Still, there are two major feats that we must analyze in marketing, which, although always evolving, does have immutable rules, as well described by Al Ries and Jack Tout in their book. Although practically none of the cases dealt with in the book remain relevant today, I would still like to point out why traditional marketing is valued differently in the real estate sector than in the case of other products or services.

First, there is the issue of segmentation. Today, we know that investors and buyers of real estate in Riviera Maya are people over 35, national or foreign, as well as a small local segment that seeks to invest or to buy a better property than the previous one they owned. This segment is mainly made up of generation Xers, who were not born with the Internet, regularly read newspapers, buy specialized magazines, watch movies and series frequently, listen to the radio, still watch television and have the purchasing power to travel. Unlike millennials, people belonging to this generation are true to their brands, are not very susceptible to change, value quality over quantity and hold prices in second place. What does all this say to us? Basically, that for this market segment’s purchasing decisions, traditional media still have a specific weight, especially when dealing with an investment of the kind that is made once or twice in life, as in the case of acquiring real estate property.

Of course, these people are aware of the technology, so there must be a digital strategy as well, including a good website, SEM and SEO strategies, as well as presence in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Instagram and LinkedIn. However, seeing a large billboard or listening to a radio spot, for example, continues to have great impact on the perception of a brand; if that were not true, why would Xcaret have more than 100 billboards on the Cancun-Tulum highway, or why would the magazines found on airplanes be saturated with advertisements for real estate products from all over the country.

Putting aside traditional media and focusing solely on digital campaigns would mean losing a timing enhancer, and that in the end is what any media campaign should do: sell in the shortest possible time, optimizing the investment. In that sense, traditional media helps the broker to position the brand in the mind of the general public. But each product remains unique, and so for your campaign you should analyze the strategies, matching both traditional and digital approaches, so that they complement each other; as well as correctly segmenting the target audience. Let’s not leave traditional media out, since we keep consuming them and they do work.

GRUPO CUMBRES, A REAL ESTATE PHENOMENON

Eduardo Martínez, General Director at Grupo Cumbres, talked to us about the impact that the group has had on the modernization of the city of Cancun, mainly through the development of comprehensive concepts, both residential and commercial, able to provide a high-standard, community lifestyle.

 

  1. What is the philosophy of Grupo Cumbres?

Grupo Cumbres is focused on residential/mixed development, with avant-garde, functional and high-quality construction projects, always prioritizing sustainable development in environmental balance. We present comprehensive concepts that meet the needs of people, offering the highest quality of life, security and commitment to the community, generating a framework of coexistence among neighbors that results in added value. That is our philosophy, our passion.

 

  1. What are the factors that make Grupo Cumbres an outstanding company and different from its competitors?

There is a strong commitment on the part of our company’s employees, who feel and know themselves part of a large family; everyone has a sense of belonging and feel great pride in being members of the group, meaning that everybody gives their best and every area makes extraordinary efforts. It’s worth mentioning how fortunate we are to have among the members of our board and technical committee Mr. Moisés El-Mann Arazi – founding member of the company and Fibra Uno – who contributes his innovative vision and ideas, as well as Eduardo Martínez Ferraez – founding member of the company and local businessman – who contributes his inexhaustible dedication and energy. These factors make the company and its collaborators a unit and a nucleus, moving forward in the same direction and always seeking innovation, demanding the best from themselves.

 

  1. More than 10 years after launching Residencial Cumbres to the market, what has been its impact in terms of urban development in the city?

It has certainly been a turning point in the market, setting the pace in the modernization of the city, through an urbanization that follows the highest quality standards.

In these past 10 years, owners have built the house of their dreams in Residencial Cumbres, where more than 1,000 families already live and more than 5,000 people interact daily.

Likewise, we have also created a safe way for families to coexist, achieving interaction and integration between their owners and a pleasant way of living, fostering new experiences every day. Living in Residencial Cumbres is overall an experience!

 

  1. What can you tell us about the Group’s most recent project, Río Residencial? What is it that sets it apart?

Río Residencial is a new project that benefits greatly from our past learning experiences derived from previous residential developments. Hence, it has more amenities, such as a clubhouse, paddle and multipurpose courts, gorgeous fountains and water mirrors, an infinity bicycle path, children’s playgrounds and a picnic area. Thus, it has more leisure and recreation areas for a smaller population, complying with a construction regulation that has been improved and updated according to the requests and tastes of future owners.

 

  1. What are the Group’s future projects?

At Grupo Cumbres we love what we do, so our dedication has led to success in every project. Naturally, we will continue to innovate; we will announce our next project in due course.

 

  1. We are witnessing an accelerated development that is taking place in the south polygon area, in Cancun. Is there a market for all these developments or is there risk of a real estate bubble?

In no way do we think that there is a real estate bubble or a risk of creating one. The other way around, we are certain that Quintana Roo, and naturally Cancun, are blessed with opportunities for everybody. We see the annual growth of the city and the state in double digits. Almost 10,000 new hotel rooms are being built in Cancun and the continental zone of Isla Mujeres, as well as another 10,000 in Riviera Maya, all in all 20,000 keys, which speaks of the great growth in the state. Remember that we are the sixth most visited country in the world, and Quintana Roo alone contributes 25% of the total tourism activity in Mexico.

All of this generates great opportunity for jobs, professional growth and migration of qualified people, who will continue to demand top-quality places and life experiences. Without a doubt, we are one of the best alternatives to satisfy that need.

 

AMPI-INFORMA Revista Living Terra

Low-impact sustainable projects will boost south Quintana Roo´s economy

By: Mexican association of Realtors (AMPI)

T

he first Real Estate Forum was held mid-March 2018 at Chetumal´s International Business Center; under the title “Low Impact Tourism Perspectives for Real Estate Development in South Quintana Roo”. Inaugurated by the state´s governor, Carlos Joaquín González, the mail goal of the forum was to contribute in fostering the economic development of the southern part of the state in sustainable ways, by means of low-impact tourism activity.

To this end, keynote sessions and a work panel were offered within the forum´s three days, wherein efforts were directed towards the design of a strategy to mitigate the inequality between north and south Quintana Roo. Productive diversification and the boosting of real estate development in the south region were focused on, expected to result from the creation of strategic tourism integration projects and the prioritization of legal certainty, openness of information, and fighting corruption in real estate transactions carried out within state territory. All of this taking into account the possibility of a solid, attractive and competitive supply of projects targeted at high purchasing power, sustainable, and low-impact tourism, benefitting from the area´s natural and cultural wealth. These are some of the topics addressed in the forum: “Strategies of the Quintana Roo Government to Boost the Tourism Real Estate Development in Southern Municipalities”, “Public Policy in Treasury Matters to Promote Real Estate Investment in  South Quintana Roo”, “Trascending Real Estate Paradigms”, “Project to Boost Regional Tourism Development”, “Matters of Law and the Development of Real Estate Tourism Activities”, Types of Real Estate Development”, and “The Importance of Professional Realtors or the Professionalization of Real Estate Agents”.

This initiative was set in motion by the Mexican Association of Realtors (AMPI) and Caribe Maya Chetumal, working together with Grand Costa Maya Trust, in the hope that it becomes the first of many efforts aimed at boosting tourism activity in the state´s southern region.

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PUERTO-CANCÚN-Revista-Living-Terra

Puerto Cancún renewing the city

By: Revista Living Terra | Foto Guillaume Donon

U

ndoubtedly, one real estate project that has played a greater role in the current configuration of Cancun is Puerto Cancun. Besides connecting the city center with the sea, its multi-product, high-level supply has contributed to a major boost in the area’s development.

Guillaume Donon, Puerto Cancun’s Managing Director, talked to us about the roots of this pushing project, going deep on its reach and the transformative power that has followed its development all along.

  1. What are the most important changes that Puerto Cancun has gone through since its inception, already over 25 years ago?

Ever since Cancun’s concept was designed by Fonatur back in the 70’s, Puerto Cancun was thought of as the most important marina of this destination, opening the city to the sea and allowing tourists to arrive by cruise. In this regard, its main goal has already been fulfilled. Now, since the beginning, there have been several prospect projects and investors, but the actual project on which our current development is based on dates from the late 90’s, that’s when the authorization was granted by the corresponding institutions. Paying close attention to the needs of a new generation has been fundamental, and this lead to one of the most noticeable updates: almost 25% of the territory originally allocated to construction has now been kept exclusively as natural reserve.

Urban expansion also presented other needs, requiring a master plan that would keep untouched all urban development densities, but under a rather vertical design (with up to 20 floors buildings) and more green zones.

On the other hand, even if 4288 hotel rooms were originally authorized, only about 800 will be actually built. That is an important decrease when it comes to this market.

  1. When can we expect the construction and development of Puerto Cancun to be completed?

Total surface of this community is 327 ha, and the total housing density is expected to reach over 5000 houses, apart from commercial buildings. This project’s urbanization was completed in 2005, and MIRA and other third-party developers have continued building and marketing properties since then. Taking into account the size of this community, the last brick is expected to be laid as far in the future as 8 or 10 years from now.

MIRA is currently developing over 2,152,782 square feet of built-up area with Marina Town Center, condos, houses and clubs, as well as 15 ha of single-family lots. Lots have also been sold to third-party developers, were hotels, residential and office buildings are currently being built.

MIRA’s main developments are Los Canales, Marina Town Center, Marina Condos & Canal Homes, Laguna I, Laguna II and Marina Residencial.

  1. How would you say has the development of Puerto Cancun impacted on the existing tourism and urban infrastructure?

Puerto Cancun has certainly contributed in raising the bar in competitiveness for this destination, thanks to its modern residential and tourism supply, focused on active lifestyles.

The entire complex was initially targeted at tourists. To the surprise of many, the domestic market was eager for property by the sea, and so over 90% of the single-family residential lots were bought by locals. South Puerto Cancun is currently dominated by a mix of these residents and second homes.

Puerto Cancun’s positioning and relevance has also been greatly aided by the mall, golfing, and the marina.

Marina Town Center is the first shopping mall facing the sea. Conceived and designed to offer an amazing experience for both tourists and locals, it’s become an open, pedestrian meeting place. Over 120 national and international brands have a home here, including fashion and entertainment brands, as well as a wide gastronomic offer sure to please everyone, and a movie theater.

La marina, in its turn, opens the city center to the sea. With capacity to receive up to 175 feet mega yachts (thus being the largest marina in the Mexican Caribbean), it contributes to the creation of a nautical route in the Caribbean that may reach the US east coast, once Cuba meets the required standards.

The professional 18-holes round golf course incorporates to a growing golf circuit in the region, attracting both amateur and professional players of high purchasing power.

Puerto Cancun will also host three hotels of approximately 800 rooms, targeted at different markets: Marriott Renaissance will target business and/or young travelers aiming at practicality and wishing to be in the middle of tourist and business activity centers; the other two hotels, located by the beach, will focus on luxury tourism.

Unquestionably, Puerto Cancun’s location is helping greatly in rescuing the city’s downtown, which is now receiving new investment, by means of restaurants, for the most part.

In this way, apart from enriching Cancun’s tourism supply, it also contributes to a greater integration of the city and the hotel district.

Guillaume Donon| General Manager of Puerto Cancun

Puerto Cancun’s complex is as of now expected to host 23 residential projects, each one unique, but all of them aiming at the common target of providing its residents a high-quality lifestyle. Some of these developments are still under construction, and so, the local supply is expected to be even richer.

These are some of Puerto Cancun’s residential developments*:

*Information provided by the developers. Grupo Ideas e Imágenes assumes no responsibility for the veracity and accuracy of the content.

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URBANISMO. El nuevo urbanismo comunidades integralmente planeadas. Revista Living Terra

New urbanism: planned communities

By: Arq. Ricardo Alvarado | PhD in Architecture Project & Residential Construction Director at Senderos de Ciudad Mayakoba

T

hroughout the 60’s, the accelerated growth of cities and urban design arising from the structuring of roads focused on cars as the main mean of personal mobility, resulted in the construction of cities based on what is known as “zoning”, or the development of zones in the use of city land: residential, business, recreational and urban services areas were separated in specialized or predominant-use “zones”.

The problems derived from this type of design disconnected the habitants from their work centers (oftentimes quite far from their homes) and resulted in the creation of social housing developments distant from the rest of the industrial, business and financial zones of the cities.

The reaction to this phenomenon came from a group of architects in the US, gathered under the Committee on Local Government of Sacramento, California. After studying the type of expansion that the cities were going through, they suggested different ideas to reshape urban spaces, focusing them on community and habitability.

In 1993, this group of architects held the first congress for New Urbanism and published the Charter of the New Urbanism, a document setting forth the principles and guidelines for the development of new urban sectors, widening this vision of development to the different regions, towns, municipalities and neighborhoods, reaching all the way to the streets and buildings that constitute themselves in actual cities.

This is verily a historic moment for urban development, one that poses the design of the city under novel guiding principles: a city that is diverse and encourages mixed uses, parks and green areas, preservation zones that connect with other neighborhoods; a city planned easier on walkers and better for public transportation, not only for drivers. And the most important innovation, a city that is sustainable.

On the other hand, gated communities have arisen as a great solution in matters of security. Neighborhoods in this model are built within perimeter walls with an access control post surveilled by an internal security team; also, the maintenance of the common and entertainment areas is shared among the residents.

Planned Communities: Tajamar, Puerto Cancun and Ciudad Mayakoba

Along the outskirts of large cities, such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and the metropolitan area of Mexico City and the State of Mexico, zoning’s influence can be seen in the suburbs, where projects resulted in tedious areas far from city services and culture. Likewise, this trend in urban design also influenced Fonatur’s entirely planned centers, particularly Cancun, where a stark separation between the hotel and urban zones is evident.

In Mexico, as in other countries, an alternative to this phenomenon was needed, something that would bring together the advantages of the New Urbanism and the security of gated communities. This solution came with the new Planned Communities.

In Cancun, the first project that implemented this was Malecon Cancun, renamed Tajamar afterwards. As a part of Fonatur’s Urban Planning and Design team, we committed ourselves to incorporate the principles of New Urbanism, and defined the assignation of lots and land use, as well as to three elements that set this project apart from any other in the country. First, two of them connect this sector with the city by means of a walkway: the access avenue in the center of the project that ends in the malecon facing Nichupte lagoon, and two public and easy-access urban spaces. Then, the third ruling element is an urban park exceeding 247 acres (over a million square meters), that serves as a transition zone from the city to the natural preservation area Manglares de Nichupté, which is over 11,119 acres (4,500 ha). It should also be noted that public spaces here are ready to serve walkers and people with special needs, as well as those using bicycles, skateboards and, of course, cars and public transportation. With the avenue, malecon, walkways, bikeways and wide sideways, the main character is naturally public space. Practically every lot is of mixed use, with business in the ground floor and up to four levels, then followed by offices and apartments that in some cases reach up to 20 levels. There are these mix-use lots, and also gated communities such as El Table, a key element in this sector.

Almost at the same time, in the year 2000, Puerto Cancun was planned and its development started. It came to be another project partaking of this trend in urban planning. Its maritime-tourist orientation, mixed with high-level residential housing, including gated communities and mixed-use groups of buildings with hotels, apartments, businesses and offices, make of Puerto Cancun “a city within the city”, as its slogan reads. Today, it remains a vibrant area wherein people live, buy and work in modern buildings of high architectural quality, where public spaces mingle with walkways, bikeways, roads, malecones, business and office areas, gated communities for different standards of living; all of this enriching the supply of the city and organizing its community under the concept of a master condo. In the spotlight of this project, we can find a 172-acres preservation area (70 ha), right in between the urban zone and the real estate project, granting this development with sustainability features.

Without a doubt, this model of development will remain successful. Projects such as Ciudad Mayakoba, wherein the city is given further extension and at the same time issues of security and privacy are solved by means of gated communities and mixed use commercial and business areas, have also implemented the concept of Planned Community. Vertical development projects dominate and, as it has been stated already, gated communities such as Senderos, which are part of this district and aim at supplying the demand for living spaces at basically all levels, from mid-level up to exclusive residential needs with golf course. All of it under a strict plan to protect native vegetation in the central park, the biological corridors and preservation areas that are at the core of the project. By these means, a balance is achieved between the proper use of land and adequate population density levels.

It is clear that the future of urban planning and design is closely linked to the ruling principles of habitability, community and sustainability. For current generations, these concepts should be ever-present in their day to day, as their decision-making processes when buying real estate are precisely based in the possibility to live in an environment that upholds these values, values that no one can deny are sure to provide a better life quality.

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