They transform the physiognomy of the city and convert old mansions into boutique hotels and restaurants that attract foreign tourists as investors and visitors…
MERIDA — In less than a decade, the face of the Historic Center of Mérida and Paseo de Montejo has changed, leaving behind its old appearance to become a more commercial space. The transformation of mansions from the henequen era through millions in investments has led the owners, many foreigners, to rescue the architectural heritage of the city.
The examples of successful rescues through major investments, which come from the private initiative, are hotels like Casa Lecanda and Rosas and Xocolate, the Santa Lucia park, among others located in the first square of the city, which were converted into boutique hotels and restaurants.
According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), in 2014 there were 501 properties at risk or in ruinous state, of 5 thousand 600 existing in the area of monuments. After state and municipal authorities exhorted their owners to work on their recovery, today only six maintain that category.
The delegate of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Yucatan, Eduardo López Calzada, said that during the 1970s and 1980s, Merida’s growth caused houses to be built in other areas such as Colonia México or Itzimná, which was believed to solve needs, but they did not. During that time the laws for the construction of new buildings weren’t that strict, and as a result we can appreciate the loss of the architectural heritage of Merida in several zones of the Historic Center.
The businessman Carol Kolozs Fischer, owner of Rosas and Xocolate boutique hotel, says that the recovery of the historic area occurs as part of a phenomenon that takes place in Merida, where tourism acquires an importance that it lacked during the time of growth of the city.
Currently, the historical heritage of Merida becomes “the most important tourist product of Yucatan”, since the city is an important complement for archeological sites such as Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, and the other attractions of the entity, recognizing that the majority of tourists spend the night in the capital.
The park of Santa Lucia is a sample of that recovery of the historic spaces of the city, to become an attraction for tourists and Merida inhabitants; among other projects that are part of the recovery of the Historic Center are the bars and cultural centers such as La Negrita, The Mezcalería Foundation, La Rendija and Colibrí, among others, which give an artistic and jovial life to that part of Merida, where we can already count more than 16 boutique-style hotels that offer their rooms to a tourism of high purchasing power.
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