No one disputes that the current U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is crowded, outdated and needs to be replaced. So four years ago the State Department bought a 15 acre plot in a former industrial district for $120 million.
But there was a catch: the site had housed a Colgate-Palmolive factory for decades, which left behind hazardous waste. Colgate has been cleaning the site but it’s been three and a half years and it’s still not ready for construction.
It is an embassy that was supposed to cost $577 million to build, but the construction estimate has gone up by one third — and the State Department hasn’t even broken ground yet.
“It’s a bit of a fiasco,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
Bloomberg – Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim put his Manhattan townhouse on the market for $80 million, almost double what he paid for the Fifth Avenue property in 2010. A deal at the asking price would be the most expensive ever for a townhouse in New York City.
RTCC – In an unprecedented move, the Mexican government has drawn up a strategy to clear slums at risk of climate change-induced natural disasters. To Maria Jose Veramendi, an attorney at environmental law group AIDA Americas, it is the first time climate change has been used to justify slum clearance.
News Au – Architects in Mexico City have come up with an ambitious solution to its strict building regulations and designed a massive 300 metre deep inverted skyscraper. Shaped like an upside down pyramid, the building will accommodate 5,000 people and offer retail, housing and cultural attractions with a huge glass ceiling above to provide natural light.
Bloomberg – Capital Reforma is part of a decade-long building spree that threatens to leave Mexico City with a large surplus of office space as the fall in oil prices undermines the economy. The new buildings, repaved streets and gardens have revitalized this historic financial district, bisected by Paseo de la Reforma. Now investors in the new real estate investment trusts that financed the towers face the prospect of higher vacancies and lower returns.
It is estimated that Mexico will reach 65 million Internet users this year. This is having a significant effect on the real estate market.
According to Lamudi’s research, 82 percent of consumers now use the Internet in their real estate search process, as they move away from traditional methods and turn to desktops and laptops, as well as mobile devices, to search for properties.
In the last quarter of 2014, the number of online real estate queries in Mexico grew by 25 percent from 2013, according to Google Analytics.
This access is causing house-hunters to become more specific and analytical in their search for property. The ability to reduce time and optimize each search through the filtration of location, property type and price, is encouraging consumers to move online.
Globest – Officials from Equity International, a privately-held investor that helps build real estate companies outside the US, say they and several partners have closed a new investment in Grupo Acosta Verde, a family-owned developer, owner and manager of shopping centers in Mexico.
Sentido Comun – Homex, the housing construction firm that failed to pay debts two years ago, reached an agreement with the Institute of National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit), the agency that grants Mexico’s highest number of mortgages, to re-engage in mortgage finance programs.
Sentido Comun – Fiber Terrafina has completed the sale of $101 million in reserves of land and industrial buildings as part of its strategy to recycle its capital. The company will use most of the proceeds for the payment of debt.
Sentido Comun – Grupo Empresarial Angeles, the health, finance, communications and tourism business conglomerate of the Vazquez Rana family, said its subsidiary Real Group Tourism, or TSO, will invest $220 million to open four new hotels in Mexico in the next two years.
Sentido Comun – Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, or OMA, announced the opening of its first warehouse at Monterrey International Airport as part of an alliance with Vynmsa Real Estate Development.
Bloomberg – The first Mexican homebuilder to offer new shares since 2004 is testing investor appetite for an industry that imploded in $2.6 billion of defaults just two years ago. Servicios Corporativos Javer plans to raise as much as 3.5 billion pesos ($227 million) in an initial public offering after dodging the meltdown with a strategy of building housing developments in urban areas instead of far-flung suburbs.