Nico Wilmes
Los Amigos Tulum
View from the Top

Creating Profitable, Sustainable Development

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:56

Q: Why did Los Amigos Tulum settle on the Tulum tourism area for its business operations?

A: When we arrived in Tulum, we recognized the area’s growth potential. There also were no developments focused on sustainability. Although there are efforts across the country to increase the use of renewable energy, there is still a lack of focus on sustainable development, which is what areas like Tulum need, especially given its natural beauty. 
Los Amigos Tulum provides a sustainable development alternative. Our real-estate developments combine the use of sustainable technologies, such as water treatment plants and infrastructure to generate electricity through renewable sources that are natural to the area. For instance, we introduced an advanced wind system that can be integrated into our condominiums. This is a first for Mexico. Previously, this type of system could not be integrated into condominiums because they were too noisy for residential use. However, the new system imitates the sound of trees moving. 

Q: How does Los Amigos Tulum interact with governmental agencies to develop projects in harmony with the environment?

A: Many Mexican regions have experienced rapid growth and it is difficult for authorities to keep up, in particular with infrastructure projects. But developers need to stop depending on the government and offer sustainable products through the use of technology that makes a difference. At the end of the day, we are responsible for the product we offer to the market. 

Q: How is Los Amigos Tulum positioned in Tulum?

A: In six years, we have developed over 10 real estate projects in Tulum. We have experienced very rapid growth; the company started with just two people and we now have a large team that comprises over 500 collaborators. We are all united and committed to making a positive impact and to contribute to a more sustainable Mexico. Part of our success comes from the fact that people are now much more conscious of the importance of having sustainable development. Sustainable development is a broad concept, it is not just about construction but how you interact with the people who surround you and with the region. Sustainable development is really an option for places that have great growth potential, which is why it is important to note that all the technology that we are using in Tulum can be used in other areas. 

Q: As developers of residential units, what opportunities can investors take advantage of to bolster their returns?

A: Most of our clients do not live in the unit they purchase. Most live elsewhere and obtain rental income from these units. Along the Riviera Maya and many other tourist destinations, there is a great deal of competition among big hotel chains, so there is a significant offering of accommodations. However, in Tulum, there are no international hotel chains operating, so small investors who buy a single unit can generate investment returns through rental income. 
In addition to designing, developing, constructing and selling the units, we can handle vacation rentals for our clients. We rent the units as if they were in a five-star hotel, with all the services and amenities they would find in a luxurious hotel. Although some owners prefer to handle the rental of the unit on their own, we recommend the rental be supported by a brand so it can be better positioned in the market. 
Q: What is Los Amigos Tulum’s strategy to design and construct sustainable real estate at a competitive price?

A: Clients who visit Tulum want luxurious services and to enjoy a unique and high-level experience. To deliver this, we need to invest in our developments and in the technology. For instance, our water treatment plants cost us around MX$110 million (US$5.8 million), including installation. But this is an investment; although sustainable development is more expensive, our clients are prepared to pay a little bit more for this. We do not sell cheap accommodations. We sell experiences in sustainable developments.