Thor Urbana is one of Mexico’s leading real estate investment and development companies. It specializes in mixed-use projects with projects in Metepec, Merida, Mexico City and Guadalajara. It is currently developing over 10 million square feet across the country, including the Town Square Metepec mixed-use development. Mexico Infrastructure & Sustainability Review sat down with Jimmy Arakanji, Founder and CEO of Thor Urbana to talk secondary cities.
Q: What is the role and responsibility commercial real estate developers have in transforming Mexico’s secondary cities?
A: Developers have a considerable responsibility in detonating investment in secondary cities through the creation of valuable real estate projects. Ultimately, developers have a direct impact on the urban landscape of a city or neighborhood through what they construct. We have the ability to develop world-class projects that will not only boost the aesthetics of an area but also its economic activity. Thor Urbana wants to continue developing spaces that have a positive impact on their surroundings. The type of real estate investments that we are making generate employment and boost economic development, but what we really want to achieve is the creation of a project that society can truly benefit from. The types of projects we are creating go beyond serving a mere commercial purpose but actually aim to create spaces within the community that promote social interaction and wellbeing among clients without them necessarily having to purchase an item.
City squares or Zocalos, were traditionally the meeting point of communities throughout Latin America and we want our projects to serve the same purpose for the new generations. Many countries, including Mexico, have strayed away from spending time in their city squares due to insecurity. By providing secure environments, we can give back a sense of community and strengthen the social tissue. As a private company, we must provide returns to our investors and by investing in these inclusive spaces we are able to generate win-win situations where our tenants are able to retain customers longer and continue attracting new ones. We are developing projects with these characteristics in Metepec, Merida, Guadalajara, Cancun, San Luis Potosi and Tijuana and look to continue doing so within new booming cities.
Q: Why did Thor Urbana decide to construct Town Square Metepec and what have been the challenges it has faced to build a project of this magnitude in that area?
A: Our value proposition brings with it a variety of entertainment and restaurant options. A great example is Town Square Metepec. The Toluca Valley has more than 3 million people and there was no project that offered the type of experience, lifestyle and tenant mix that we’re offering in our project. Most of the residents of Metepec had to travel to Santa Fe to find these kinds of amenities. This project will break the traditional paradigm and will give Metepec a new city center for social interaction.
Almost all real estate projects are accompanied with social, environmental and economic implications that developers must solve and there will always be groups that are in favor or opposition of its construction. That is the law of real estate development all over the world. Thor Urbana wants to be the best neighbor possible and acts responsibly to improve the quality of life of the area and bring a new value proposition that did not exist before. We investigate and run focus groups to ensure that the project is of the expected quality and that it will have a positive impact on its surroundings.
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