Merida, Yucatan — The Centro property boom is official. INAH, the historic-protection agency, said renovations have more than doubled since 2017.
The Institute of Anthropology and History anticipates closing out the year issuing around 1,000 construction permits, compared with around 400 two years ago.
The director of the Yucatan INAH delegation, Eduardo López Calzada, explained that it’s mainly foreigners who ask for permits to renovate historic properties.
López noted that Merida’s “exponential growth” brings jobs and improves the city’s economy. Property owners are constructing vacation-rental properties as well as small hotels, restaurants and shops.
The properties may lose their historical authenticity when overhauled, but since some casonas have been decaying for more than 50 years, INAH has no choice but to allow it, he said.
Some renovation projects are carried out jointly with the City Council of Merida, which implemented the “Facade Rescue” program. The city supplies the labor and the homeowner supplies the paint and plaster under the program. The public-private partnership has far touched over 1,000 homes since beginning in 1995.