Mariachi-ing in Mexico City

After a travel day to Mexico City, we hit the ground running with an all-day visit with Reichmann International and its head of Mexico, Rick Ricker. Mr. Ricker first moderated a panel on the state of the Mexican real estate market with executives from CBRE, HSBC, and FibraUNO. Topics included opportunities outside of Mexico City, ventures into new property types such as multifamily rental buildings, the state of the construction lending market, and the establishment of the Fibras (Mexico’s first REITs). From there, Mr. Ricker and his team gave us a tour of Torre Mayor, one of the most technologically advanced office buildings in Mexico City, which Reichmann International developed in 2003. Torre Mayor incorporates world-class shock absorbers to balance the movement of the building during earthquakes, a great problem for tall buildings in Mexico City due to its location within an earthquake-prone lakebed area.

View over Mexico City from the Helipad on Torre Mayor
View over Mexico City from the Helipad on Torre Mayor

Mr. Ricker also gave a tour of Torre Diana, an under-construction 33-story office building a few blocks from Torre Mayor, in the city’s Reforma District. Later in the afternoon, we returned to Torre Mayor, where we spoke with Mexplorer Capital and Grupo Sordo Madaleno, two firms which are collaborating to create the tallest office tower in Latin America. The group enjoyed speaking with Diego Baños Garcia ’13 from Mexplorer Capital about his firm’s focus on developing high-end retail and mixed-use projects throughout Mexico. Finally, Mr. Ricker concluded the evening by hosting a dinner for us and invited guests from the Mexican real estate industry. The dinner included games involving the Mexican economy and performances from a live Mariachi band!

We followed up the day with Reichmann International with a visit to Fibra Hotel Group, Mexico’s largest lodging Fibra (REIT). Fibra Hotel is focused on institutionalizing the Mexican hotel market and helping established brands such as Marriott increase their presence in Mexico. We then met with Thor Urbana Capital, a joint venture between Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities and Mexican developer GFa Grupo Inmobiliaro, that was founded by two Columbia Business School graduates, Jaime Fasja ’10 and Jimmy Arakanji ’11. Thor Urbana Capital has many high-end retail developments underway in Mexican resort destinations such as Playa del Carmen, and it is attempting to move the Mexican retail market away from the strata title model. Our final business visit was with Greystar, the prolific American multifamily developer and investor. Greystar emerged in the Mexican market in the last few years and has numerous multifamily rental properties in the Santa Fe submarket of Mexico City, and has plans to develop millions of square feet of multifamily properties in Mexico over the next decade.

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