Mérida, Yucatán — The state government has just bought four properties on 62nd Street between Avenida Colon and Cupules, and taxpayers are paying a premium.
Update: Renderings will be released to the public on Jan. 11. Initial drawings were criticized by local business leaders and architects, and improved concepts will be issued in their place.
Seventeen months earlier, the lots sold for MX$24,018,556. Officials paid Grupo Desarrollador Metrosur MX$49,344,853 to acquire 10,514 square meters, almost twice its assessed value, Diario de Yucatán’s investigative unit reported.
The administration of Gov. Rolando Zapata Bello also directly acquired four smaller lots on the same street for MX$9,750,000.
In total, the state government has purchased an area of 11,662 square meters for the new convention center, with 205 meters of frontage on Cale 62, from Avenida Cupules almost all the way to Colon.
The city’s main convention center right now is the Siglo XXI, which was built in 1997 nearly 7 km north of the hotel zone of the Fiesta Americana, Hyatt Regency and Holiday Inn. Although near new business-class hotels, the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya and a mall, visitors have to take a shuttle to visit the city’s historic sites.
Business leaders have said that connecting Mérida’s growing conference business to the downtown area would attract even more conference business. “We have an attractive historic center and Paseo de Montejo invites walking,” said Kolozs Fischer, owner of Rosas y Xocolate, in a meeting with government officials a year ago.
One year ago: Hotels lobby for hotel-zone conference center