Real Estate Immersion in Mexico

The Real Estate Study Tour to Mexico City has come to an end and it was a huge success! We had 7 full days of professional and cultural activities in which the group of 17 MBA students plus 2 representatives of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate learned about the nuances of the local market. Many things happened during the week so it is a good idea to recap!

Day 1: We all arrived at Oaxaca on the night of Saturday March 16th. Our hotel was beautiful and in line with the antique buildings of Oaxaca. After having a good night sleep we all met at breakfast and at 8 am we took a bus to Hierve el Agua. Our guide, Coco, offered us to make a 45 minute hike to see this amazing mineral formations and we all agree to do it. He did not mentioned that we had to go up and down about 400 steps! We enjoyed the beautiful view and headed to Casa Antigua for our first official local lunch. The food was great and brought us back to life. From there we took our bus to a local Palenque (place where Mezcal is made) and Coco explained the whole process of making this Oaxacan drink, and also tasted a little at the end of the tour.On our way back to Oaxaca City we stopped at Santa Maria de Tule where we saw the Tule Tree, the widest tree in the whole world. In the evening, after relaxing for about an hour, we went to the renowned restaurant Criollo (owned by the famous chef Enrique Olvera) and enjoyed a wonderful dinner in a very intimate setting.

Day 2: After a short 20 minute ride, our second day started at Monte Alban, a large pre-Columbian archaeological site. Our local guides explained the story of the ancient Zapotec culture and the latest advancements of the excavation. We were lucky and had a beautiful sunny day there. From there we head back to the city and had lunch at Azuzena Zapoteca, a restaurant owned by a couple that is renowned by their local artisan Alebrijes. After lunch Coco gave us a downtown city tour of Oaxaca were we all had time to but local Mezcal, hand crafts and coffee. Before heading to the airport we stopped by a small town called San Bartolo de Coyotepec that is known for the black clay pottery. From there we went to the airport and flew to CDMX.

Day 3: Our first day in Mexico City couldn’t have started in a better way. Francisco Andragnes, CBS alum, presented his company MetroBuildings, a multifamily developer, and told us all about his career path from CBS until now and gave an overview of the multifamily market in Mexico. We visited one of his development sites in the Polanco neighborhood and went through all the design details of various types of apartments. We had to eat a Lunch Box in the bus to be able to make on time to the next meeting due to the traffic in the city. We met with Thor Urbana, a retail-hospitality developer, where the ¨Jimmies¨ (Jimmy and Jaime, both CBS Alums) presented the company’s strategy and a few of their projects under development (one was an island in the Bahamas). The third meeting was with CBRE. Lyman Daniels, CBRE’s Director in Mexico, presenten in detail the Office, Industrial, Retail and Hospitality markets and trends.

Day 4: Early in the morning, and after a great breakfast in the hotel our bus dropped us in a luxury condo development site (almost ready) in Polanco. There, the team of Marhnos, explained all the analysis behind the project. We walked through a couple of the apartments and we wished we could own one. They were beautiful! after this meeting we met with Alexander Galewicz and Carlos Glender, both alums, and after they presented they career paths and the companies they founded we had a casual lunch where we all had the chance to ask questions and talk about how CBS helped them get to where they are. To close the day we visited the Morgan Stanley in far away neighborhood of Lomas de Santa Fe where Luis Brossier gave us a master class about FIBRAs (Mexican REITS).

Day 5: Today we visited a Tech/Real Estate (PropTech) company called Intelimetrica, which focuses their activities in Big Data and is disrupting the industry in Mexico. Mario, one of the Founders, gave an overview of their business model, strategy and their focus for the next year. After this we had time to mingle with some of Intelimetrica’s employees. Before lunch we headed to Castillo de Chapultepec for a short tour guided by our one and only Don Alfonso. For lunch we headed to Club de Industriales, a social club where real estate professionals gather. There, David O’Donnell (founder of the industrial real estate development company O’Donnell) invited us for lunch and walked us around the industrial real estate industry. To finish the day we visited the Anthropology museum, a must-see in CDMX.

Day 6: On out last company visit day we visited met with FIBRA Dahnos in one of their iconic mixed used projects called Toreo Parque Central. We walked through the mall, office space and event went up to the helipad. after we moved to the architecture office of Sordo Madeleno and we went through a couple of their iconic projects. Some of these where developed with Mexplorer, founded by Diego Baños CBS Alum, who walked us through his venture and future projects. To finish this day we had a late lunch at Entremar where we enjoyed a wonderful local meal and come “Carajillos”.

Day 7: On the last day of the trip, and to close up the intense and interesting week we visited Coyoacán and the central square of CDMX (Zócalo). In Coyoacán we went to Frida Kahlo’s house and Trotsky’s house where our guided gave us cultural context and taught us a bit more about Mexican history. We had a local lunch at La Calaca and then went to the Zócalo and walked through the Templo Mayor, city Cathedral and the government house. In the evening we had our farewell dinner in Casa Virginia. It was the BEST food of the trip and the best way to finish the week.

Valentina Pardo CBS’19

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