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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Hundreds of crumbling homes in Mérida’s downtown cause concern

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Structurally unsound structures, some of which have already collapsed, are a common sight in Mérida’s Centro. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Despite the skyrocketing values of property in Mérida’s Centro Histórico, hundreds of structures risk collapsing or have already done so. 

Currently, over 200 properties in Mérida’s Centro are severely structurally unstable,” says Christian Chan Estrella of Yucatán’s civil protection unit. 

Though some of these properties are in much worse condition than others, they are all potentially dangerous given the risk of collapse.

Experts warn that the longer the problem goes unaddressed the more difficult it will be to resolve, especially given recent issues in the city to do with flooding. 

Recent heavy rains in Mérida have led to heavy flooding in certain parts of town, which have added to the further deterioration of many structures. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Part of the problem to do with these crumbling properties has to do with the fact that the local government is seldom moved into action to force property owners to take action until it is too late. 

Earlier: Roof caves in at Fantasías Miguel in downtown Mérida

“We have to start making sure that the owners of these properties take responsibility, it can’t all be left up to the government,” said a state legislator, Ana Gabriela Aguilar Ruiz. 

The problem is further compounded by the difficulties associated with structural repairs to structures in Mérida’s historic center.

“The authorities say they want these homes fixed up and they are right. But as soon as you get started you have the INAH to deal with. Of course, there needs to be an oversight to protect cultural heritage, but their bureaucracy often makes it way more difficult than it need to be,” says a source close to Yucatán Magazine who himself works at the INAH. 

It is also the case that there is not much legal precedent in Yucatán for authorities to take over control of an abandoned property unless there has already been an accident  ⁠— though they have the legal powers to do so.

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