As a consequence of the real estate “boom” in the Historic Center of Mérida, the Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) expects to close the year with around one thousand intervention permits granted, when last year, there were only 400.
The director of the INAH delegation, Eduardo López Calzada, explained that authorizations have been granted to both Yucatecan and foreign house owners, however, Expats are the ones that mostly ask for permits, especially for maintenance and restructuring not only of the facade, but of the entire building.
“There is an exponential growth in the city of Mérida, which obviously brings jobs and a better economic situation, but all this goes hand in hand with the acquisition and improvement of houses, so that’s why we’ve had such a significant number of applications,” Lopez Calzada explained.
Most of the permits are being requested by people who wish to rent their homes through digital hosting platforms such as Airbnb, but also to open new hotels, restaurants and shops.
In spite of the fact that many of these buildings, when intervened, lose their historical value. However, they acquire a commercial value, a situation that in some cases is necessary, because many of these houses in the historic center have been abandoned for more than 50 years, and so there’s no way to save them.
It should be remembered that in some cases, remodeling works in the Historic Center are carried out jointly by the owner and the City Council of Mérida, which since 1995 implemented the “Facade Rescue” program, which has saved over one thousand houses so far.
On the other hand, Lopez Calzada explained that not that many properties have been remodeled in the rest of the State, because there have been projects of greater magnitude, and these permits are in charge of the archeology area; however, it is estimated that an average 60 salvages are made throughout the state of Yucatán every year.
“The permits granted in other parts of the state vary in size, and are usually requested by construction companies to municipal govenrments. These spaces are dedicated to either housing, commerce or public areas,” the director of the INAH delegation, Eduardo López Calzada concluded.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom with information from INAH