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Thursday, September 28, 2023

The end is in sight for Calle 47’s big dig

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Pavers have arrived and are ready to be installed in front of the boutique hotel Casa Lecanda on Calle 47. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Sometime in August, Mérida will have completed its gastronomic corridor, AKA culinary corridor and restaurant row linking the Remate with the future Parque La Plancha.

Mayor Renán Barrera Concha told the media that Calle 47’s beautified blocks will be inaugurated in August. The exact date hasn’t been announced.

The beautification project will highlight one of the city’s best concentration of restaurants that have emerged since Oliva Enoteca — one of Mérida’s best Italian restaurants — opened on a nondescript corner at Calle 54 about eight years ago. 

Pavers are being installed in front of Yakuza, the Japanese restaurant on Calle 47. The “foodie corridor” project is set to be completed sometime in August. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Construction — including the messy job of burying power lines and replacing water mains — is advancing “in due time and form,” he said. 

“Let’s say that the initial part was the most chaotic,” the mayor added.

Watch your step getting to Catrin on Calle 47. On Monday, June 19, pavements hadn’t quite reached this restaurant’s door. Photo. Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

The concept is to reduce traffic to one lane and remove street parking, providing a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Around 150 meters of new sidewalks are being built on both sides of the street. Surfacing work has already begun. 

The work was approved in early July 2022 after informal consultation with various constituents. Work began the following October, and by January, work ramped up, creating a virtual bombed-out war zone for four blocks. Power, water, and internet service have at various times been interrupted.

Restaurant owners have said they are trying to be patient while customer access to their front doors was inhibited. An upscale steakhouse, 130 Grados, tried to offer valet parking a block away on Calle 45 and 54. 

Because of road closures, a valet parking station is a block away from the restaurant it serves. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

The project also involves the renovation of about 130 facades facing the street. That work will be ongoing after the street is inaugurated.

Barrera Concha said that a “care office” was established for those who live in the area while 13 different contractors coordinate their work. 

The gastronomic corridor is funded by the city to the tune of nearly 70 million pesos (US$4 million), plus another 15 million pesos (US$878,000) from private sources. 

The mayor indicated that when work on Calle 47 is finished, construction begins on busy Calle 60, which intersects 47 and connects the Plaza Grande, Santa Ana Park and the hotel zone. 

A rendering shows Calle 47 and 58 under plans to create a gastronomic corridor connecting the Remate to La Plancha. Photo: Contributed

The beautification project along Calle 60 from Santa Ana Park to the Cathedral is due to be finished is before the December high season.

“Of course, we will be intervening in future projects in individual neighborhoods so that they are also connected to this great corridor … and connect with Mejorada, Santa Ana, Santiago, Santa Lucía, of course, San Sebastian and all the others,” the mayor told reporters at a press conference.

Mérida officials released renderings of the Calle 60 beautification project.

Barrera compared the project to a similar one in 2009 when the city buried unsightly power lines and installed cobblestones in the charming La Ermita neighborhood. The mayor was a councilor for Public Works at the time.  

He also cited the small neighborhood of Xcalachén, with its concentration of chicharra shops and an infusion of brightly painted murals, all as envisioned by city planners.

Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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