A luxury apartment building currently under construction in the upscale Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City will lose its two top floors because they violate land-use regulations.
The municipal government of Miguel Hidalgo — the borough where Polanco is located — ruled that the building’s fifth and sixth floors must be knocked down because the law only allows for a maximum of four in that area.
Four apartments spread over 770 square meters were in the process of construction and had already been sold by the developer, Terraforma, for a combined total of over US $4 million.
The area is one of the capital’s most exclusive with correspondingly high real estate prices.
The construction company didn’t comply with the order without first putting up a fight.
It tried claiming that the previous administration had granted permission for the project, asserting that it was no longer the owner of the planned apartments because they had already been sold and simply ignoring the order and carrying on with the construction.
“The sanction notices were removed but they went back to building and resorted to a very torturous strategy as they sold the apartments to good-faith purchasers. The owner came to the municipal offices and said that he was no longer the owner but rather the buyers were, which is absurd,” Miguel Hidalgo Mayor Xóchitl Gálvez commented.
After a legal process that lasted more than a year, the company finally conceded defeat and began the demolition process itself, which is expected to take about two months.
Money already paid for the apartments has been returned to the prospective buyers.
The mayor was on hand to witness the start of the demolition process and even donned a hard hat and picked up a sledgehammer herself to ensure that there would be no turning back.
Gálvez stated that the local government collaborated with a real estate development association, to which the developer belongs, to pressure the company to comply with the order and that it was a factor in avoiding further disputes in the matter.
The association recently signed a code of ethics document with the Mexico City government to avoid this kind of problem.
It’s the 11th time that construction projects in the borough have exceeded height restrictions and consequently been sanctioned with a demolition order during her term, Gálvez remarked, but none has been quite so costly to the developers as this one.
“It’s the most expensive demolition because it’s in an exclusive area. Each apartment costs just over a million dollars and the four add up to 4.2 million.”
She also commented that a similar fate could await an apartment block in the neighborhood of Escandón, which also violated building regulations.
However, even greater resistance is likely if demolition is ordered there as the building is already completed and the apartments in question are occupied.
Violation of building codes is a common problem faced by authorities across Mexico City.
Source: El Universal (sp)