Renovation at Calle 51 in the Centro Histórico has been halted by the city. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — Personnel from the Municipal Directorate of Urban Development, with support from municipal police, halted demolition work at a house on Calle 51.

The facade at No. 468B, between 54 and 56 — already a stretch with more remodeled homes than vacant properties — was apparently of colonial origin with neoclassical details added in the early 20th century.

About a dozen men were demolishing facade on Good Friday, typically a day off for workers.

Aref Miguel Karam Espósitos, municipal director of urban development, said the work required city permits and permission from INAH, the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Work is suspended until further notice.

The owner faces fines and may be compelled to restore the previous facade. Neighbors who asked not to be identified told a Diario de Yucatán reporter that this was not the first house with historic value to be destroyed in the area. They named an “Omar Puente,” who is originally from Mexico City, as the contractor who flips old properties to sell to foreigners.

According to residents, the house on Calle 51 belonged to a man named Lizardo, who died several years ago, and apparently had no heirs. Puente seized the house with the help of a notary, the neighbors told Diario de Yucatán.