Ruins are still common in Merida’s historic center. Photo: Sipse

Merida, Yucatan — Property owners trying to renovate historic homes are being promised a more streamlined approval process.

The Yucatan delegation of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has the power to approve or deny renovations and restorations in the historic center.

INAH delegate Eduardo López Calzada admits the process is slow and overly complicated. But the agency will speed up and simplify its methods, he said.

Mérida’s Centro Historico, the second-largest in Mexico, has about 4,000 buildings of varying ages and historic significance.

“We start from the methodological basis of always acting from the ‘diagnostic principle’ to grant authorizations to individuals for the benefit of real estate,” López Calzada told the Sipse news organization.

He indicated that last year, INAH approved 10 percent of the 4,000 applications the bureaucracy received.

López Calzada said that the main reason properties are allowed to fall into disrepair is that the property owners lack sufficient capital to finance renovations.

Real estate speculation and changes in land use and the environment are other factors in a historic building’s physical decline, he said.


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