Jimmy Arakanji
Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Thor Urbana
View from the Top

Creating 21st Century Town Squares

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:53

Q: Why has Thor Urbana decided to focus on the Mexican commercial real estate market?
A: There continues to be a deficit in quality commercial spaces required to meet the demand of Mexico’s growing population. We continue to see great activity in the construction of commercial real estate and Thor Urbana wants to continue creating new retail and mixed-use projects that adapt to the needs of the 21st century market. We have noticed that modern society is no longer interested in the traditional commercial spaces as people now seek social, community and experiential spaces that add value to their everyday life
Thor Urbana has identified many cities that have the right combination of demographics and economic development for commercial development. Commercial real estate is continuing on an upswing and demand will only continue to grow. There are many new brands that want to penetrate the Mexican market through innovative projects such as the ones we are developing. We are leading commercial developers but we want to make sure that we continue to create truly unique projects that bring cities to life.
Q: What is the role 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. 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?
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 are 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.