• An architect's rendering of The Harbor, part of a larger Via Montejo mixed-use project in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — The name is in English, but fashion brands will be international.

The Harbor, which is the shopping mall portion of the giant Via Montejo project, will open in late October, its developers say.

It represents a new generation of mall that emphasizes entertainment and food, as did La Isla at Cabo Norte, which opened fewer than five miles away in April. Both claim to be the region’s largest mall, using different measures.

Ahead of its opening, Thor Urbana invited key people for a preview. Recently, a crew of social-media “influencers” — young women with thousands of followers on Instagram — wore hard hats while paying a visit.

After being greeted with cocktails and a gift bag, each were given a Hollywood “Walk-of-Fame”-style star to pose with and post online.

It was a good investment. Their smartphone photos were transmitted to their fans that day, with captions raving about The Harbor’s potential.

High-end commercial stores will include American sportswear retailer Under Armour and French cosmetics giant Séphora, said Enrique Morán, director of marketing of Thor Urbana, the project’s developer. Its anchor store will be a new Gran Chapur.

Other shops said to be included in the future mall are Miniso, a Japanese franchise selling home accessories, and Mexico-based ilò, which sells its bedding at Palacio de Hierro in Mexico City.

Kipling, a Belgian company that sells handbags and other accessories, and Bimba y Lola, a women’s fashion brand from Spain, are also reportedly signed with The Harbor.

The entire complex will also have residential and office space, and will dwarf the Galería mall down the road.

Thor Urbana chose Mérida for The Harbor because of its impressive growth rate.

He indicated that Merida is an attractive destination for real estate companies because it remains statistically the safest city in the country, which attracts migration of potential shoppers from other states.

“They demand commercial spaces that can satisfy the population, in design, fashion, household items and experiences, entertainment, enjoyment and leisure,” he said.

The Harbor includes 53,000 square meters of shopping and 128,000 square meters of total construction where Calle 60 North meets the periférico.

Thirty-five percent of the retail space will be set aside for restaurants. More than half of the entire parcel will be set aside for open space, including gardens and an artificial lake.

“The intention is to bring a space that is in a very well-located area,” Morán added, saying the project is more than about fashion brands. “The differentiation is to create projects that generate experiences, entertainment and activities, it is not to build a real estate space by itself, but a space of coexistence, with family, couples and friends to enjoy the day.”

The 5-billion-peso project has generated some 3,000 construction jobs, both direct and indirect. Once in operation, 600 direct and 700 indirect jobs could be attributed to the mall.


Lee Steele is the founding publisher of Yucatán Expat Life, which has been publishing news and information about the peninsula since 2012.