Against All Odds
Monterrey currently experiences an investment boom in real estate developments. Residential vertical developments, office buildings, shopping centers, mixed-use developments, state government buildings, a river walk, and a new soccer stadium are among the array of construction sites that have popped up in Monterrey’s urban landscape in recent years. It is estimated that in 2012 alone over 2 billion dollars were invested in different projects by foreign investors throughout Monterrey metropolitan area and especially in Valle Oriente, in the San Pedro municipality. The developments continue in 2013 much against the organized crime violence the city has lived in the last three years. Some local investors preferred to leave the city and moved to San Antonio or Houston while others have decided to stay and fight for the city’s future. Among the ones staying is Lorenzo Zambrano, the CEO of Cemex, the third world largest cement company and the biggest construction company. Those who wanted to leave and could dispose of $100, 000 to invest quickly had investor’s visas granted in the U.S.
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Monterrey Metropolitan Area Skyline
Monterrey and the municipality of San Pedro Garza García have long been México’s richest area based on per capita income. The Monterrey metropolitan area is home to local and foreign multinational companies. San Pedro is still today the richest city in all Latin America with a level of development equal or better than some European cities. It was there where Valle Oriente began to take shape during the 1990s. The area was reserved for houses on the one hand and office buildings and retail developments on the other hand but developers in the real estate market required separate permits; as a consequence only few mid to high rise buildings were built there. Among them are Torre Comercial América and the Avanlanz tower [formerly Dataflux]. It was in 2008 that San Pedro’s city council approved the change in the use of land to mixed-use for Valle Oriente and other neighborhoods, anticipating the development the sector would have with the measure.[i] Ever since the new regulation was approved, mid to high rise developments have multiplied especially in the form of vertical housing or condominiums and full mixed-use (retail, residential, office) buildings. No longer was Valle Oriente going to see one or two story houses on one side and office and retail developments on the other side. Valle Oriente runs along Lázaro Cárdenas Avenue and the extended area goes all the way east to Monterrey on the same street for about seven miles. The avenue was nicknamed Las Torres by local residents because tall power line towers ran along it; coincidentally, the site has truly become a place for towers.
Contrasting San Pedro, downtown Monterrey had mid rise buildings and mixed-use buildings all along. The tallest buildings were in the Monterrey municipality until the construction of Torre Comercial América and Avalanz Tower in Valle Oriente during the 1990s. Even so Monterrey itself had some mid rise developments built with Oficinas en el Parque in an area that stretches to Valle Poniente in the Santa Catarina municipality. Other mid rise vertical housing developments such as El Capitolio on top of a hill that connects Monterrey to Valle Oriente, and several hotels were built in the Galerías (San Jerónimo) area during the following years. But overall, developments in Monterrey started to decline in favor of Valle Oriente. It wasn’t until Paseo Santa Lucía (Monterrey’s river walk) materialized that the planning for new developments started as part of the renovation of the city’s infrastructure, particularly in downtown Monterrey.
Monterrey’s Current Investment Boom
The first development considered high rise to Mexico’s standards was built in downtown Monterrey sponsored by the state government and next to the river walk of Paseo Santa Lucía. Torre Ciudadana and Plaza Cívica are now the new headquarters of Nuevo León’s government. Paseo Santa Lucía along with museums and restaurants had already been planned to serve as a magnet to bring more tourists and investors to what it was until then a primarily industrial and commercial area.
The developments in the real estate market were triggered by different factors of which the most important are:
- Nuevo León state government developments in downtown Monterrey
- Local and foreign private investments in Valle Oriente
- These central areas running out of estates where to build housing developments
From that point on, the investors decided to go vertical and multiple developments added to the Skyline higher constructions.
Monterrey metropolitan area continues to be an attractive market for real estate developments and other industries along with parts of México such as México City, Guadalajara, Querétaro, and Puebla. According to the World Bank and financial news authors, the current situation constitutes a miracle as they call it the “Mexican Miracle”. The growth in the Mexican economy is expected to keep steady despite the challenges in security the nation faces and needed reforms in the energy and telecommunications sectors.[ii]
The following is a recount of the developments in the real estate market in the Monterrey metropolitan area that are already built or under construction. Mainly, developments that are 30 stories and/or 100 meters high were included on this list.[iii]
Internacional de Inversiones is building one of the most important developments in Valle Oriente. The VAO complex is a mixed-use area that includes these buildings: VAO Business Center, Liu Residences and by 2016 Koi Sky Residences. The complex wil have a helipad.
Koi Sky Residences, a mixed-use 67 story and 279.5 meters high skyscraper, will be destined for offices and luxury apartments. The developer will start its construction phase late 2013 and it will be completed in 2016. Koi will be the tallest building in México.
Updated 2018 – KOI, now Torre Banorte | Photo: © 2018 J.J. Del Mar
The Tallest Tower in Mexico
Internacional de Inversiones ( IDEI), the developer, has changed KOI’s design on more than one occasion, always aiming at the sky. It became news in recent weeks that the final height of the tower will only get to 279.5m which will make KOI the tallest skyscraper in Mexico by the time of its completion in 2016. IDEI, it seems, had all the intention to build above the 300m and have the tallest skyscraper of Latin America in the city.
Monterrey’s downtown answer to Valle Oriente is Pabellón M. It’s a 214m [spire / helipad] mixed-use building that will house offices, shopping center, a hotel, a convention center, and an executive club. It will have a helipad. A landmark auditorium for 4, 000 spectators will accompany the 50 story skyscraper.
PABELLÓN M – Proyectos Nueve
This Valle Oriente complex will be a mixed-use development with three towers and a shopping mall. Tower I, a 30 story and 130m high building, will host apartments. Tower II, 40 stories and 180m, will house luxury apartments. Tower III, now the highest one has been given a new look with a new design; hotel, offices, and spike included. The tower will now have a height of 210m at the top of the spike.
Torre Sofia + Arboleda
Located in the heart of San Pedro and in an area known as Arboleda, the complex will consist of several mid rise to high rise buildings amid a wooded area with public parks, shops, restaurants, and a private club. The complex will offer offices, villas and apartments. Torre Sofia, under construction, will be a 40 story and 160m high skyscraper destined for offices and luxury apartments. The parks in Arboleda are materializing, but the rest of the mid to high rise buildings are still in the planning stage. This is the case of the second highest tower of the complex, presumably called Torre Arboleda.
Located in Valle Oriente, Helicón Tower is a modern office building. The 155m high skyscraper was completed in 2012. The lower 14 levels are parking spaces, the next 20 floors are reserved for office space, and the top two floors are panoramic lounges.
Saqqara is another project by Internacional de Inversiones near Valle Oriente in San Pedro. It will consists of two towers that will house luxury apartments and other buildings for office space. The twin towers will be 150m and 38 stories high.
Club Sonoma Residencial
The membership private club counts with a 142m high tower, Torre Vento, and a second tower over 125m, Torre Alberi. The development will have other lower buildings like Torre Foresta. The club is located just off Valle Oriente on the hill known as Cerro del Mirador and in the municipality of Monterrey. This is a residential development with luxury apartments.
The building will be a 140m high tower with impressive architecture. It will house offices. Torre Altreca will be located in Monterrey’s San Jerónimo [Galerías] area. The office floors will have over 4m high ceilings. Altreca will count with a Penthouse at the top floor. The development will have plenty of parking space, 11 floors, 5 underground and 6 above ground level.
Lovft Tower + Vía Cordillera
This tower is located in Valle Poniente in Santa Catarina. The 133m high building offers apartments with a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding the city. The street known as El Aguacatal has other buildings planned ahead.
Vía Cordillera more than a mixed-use development is a small city in Valle Poniente in Santa Catarina. It will have retail centers, apartment and office buildings. The office buildings will be mid-rise towers.
Las Fridas will be two apartment towers 130m and 32 stories high. They will be located next to Oficinas en el Parque by La Unidad bridge.
It is a complex of luxury apartment buildings at the north edge of Valle Oriente and on top of the Loma Larga, a hill that divides Monterrey from San Pedro. Torre III is a 35 story-and-128m high building that looks higher from the Monterrey side of Loma Larga.
It is a mixed-use 125m high building located south of Monterrey. It offers apartments, office and retail spaces.
This is a mixed-use development located at Paseo Santa Lucía in Monterrey. It has apartments, offices, and retail space. The tallest building is 120m high. The project was completed recently.
LEVANA will be one more apartment building in San Pedro in the Club Camperstre sector. The tower will presumably be 118m high.
AVE Medical Center
AVE is a 115m tower that hosts medical offices. It is located in southwest Monterrey in an area of medical services known as Los Doctores.
IN will be an apartment tower 110m high in the area of Santa María, within Monterrey municipality.
Torre Tanarah was initially planned as an office building. Its construction took longer and the project was modified to be Hotel Tanarah. It was, at the maximum height of the spire, a 125m tower. It is located at the Tanarah shopping mall in San Pedro. After all, with the shopping mall, it is a mixed-use development.
LEVANT complex counts with two apartment towers 105m and 29 stories high. The complex will also have an office building 50m and 16 stories high. It will house a business center and retail spaces. This mixed-use development is located in the Cumbres area of Monterrey by the avenue that leads to La Unidad bridge.
Connexity is a mixed-use development located on the extended area of Valle Oriente in Monterrey. The highest building, Connexity Tower, is 105m tall. The complex offers retail spaces, offices, apartments, and a sky lounge.
El Legado will be a couple of office towers located in the Club Campestre area of San Pedro. The two towers will have a helipad and will reach 100m. This height will be at the top of the buildings, on top of the helipads. The complex will count with another tower around 85 or 90m high. The use of this third tower wiil be a residential apartment building. The developers are Equus 333.
Noble Morada will be an apartment tower located in Valle Oriente. It will be around 100 meters high.
Magma Towers are two apartment buildings in Valle Oriente with retail spaces on the lower floors, making them a mixed-use complex. Tower 1 is 100 metres high and Tower 2 85 meters high.
Estadio de Futbol Monterrey
The Liga MX professional soccer club C.F. Monterrey will have a new stadium. It will host 50,000 spectators. The state government will support the development by regenerating the zone with a project known as Gran Parque Río La Silla that connects several parks along La Silla river. It will be located in the Guadalupe municipality. It’s an ambitious project that was surrounded by controversy and protests from pro environment groups. The project is currently under construction and the stadium will open in 2014.
[ii] The World Bank
[iii] Developments that have been approved but for which no visual confirmation of its construction or no data was obtained from the developers’ websites were omitted from this article.
By J.J. Del Mar