With its streets lined with luxury car dealer showrooms, designer boutiques, high-end restaurants and contemporary art galleries, wealthy Polanco has its finger firmly on the pulse of what is ritzy and fashionable.
“There’s always a new restaurant, jewelry shop or clothing store opening up in the district,” said Alejandra Romo, of Sotheby’s International Realty in Mexico City. “Polanco is a happening place and it is getting more internationally known.”
The Polanco neighborhood lies north of the city’s largest and most iconic park, the Chapultepec, and is bordered by the four major roads: Avenida Ejercito Nacional to the north, Paseo de la Reforma to the south, Circuito Interior to the east and Avenida Campos Eliseos to the west.
The average price of an older one-bedroom condo is between around 6 million and 7.5 million Mexican pesos (US$300,000-US$400,000), according to local agents.
A two-bedroom condo in an older building costs about MXN 15.2 million (US$800,000) Ms. Romo said. “The most expensive condos sell for between MXN 76 million and MXN 95 million (US$4 million and US$5 million). These properties will have three to four bedrooms and are located in buildings of a modern construction.”
Villas designed in baroque Californian style, also known as Spanish colonial revival, command a premium. Houses extending to 2,000 square meters can sell for as much as MXN 570 million (US$30 million) but most cost between MXN 380 million and (US$20 million) and MXN 570 million (US$30 million).
“They are highly sought-after and rarely come onto the market,” Ms. Romo said. “Instead of selling, many people rent them as commercial spaces. Many boutiques and stores are housed in former villas.”
She added: “A three-to-four-bedroom house of this type can rent for MXN 13,000 to MXN 28,500 (US$7,000 to US$15,000) a month, depending on the condition and history of the building. A regular three-bedroom home would rent for MXN 15,200 to MXN 17,000 (USD$8,000 to USD$9,000).”
Streets are lined with condo buildings, but there are also a number of houses. Spacious detached homes, or villas, often come with large landscaped gardens, outdoor pools and driveways.
New deluxe condos are being built in the district. Tower Geneva is a new, high-end condo development which has been selling well; 20% of the homes at the 36-story, 281-home building have sold off plan. Part of Polarea, a mixed-use development located in Nuevo Polanco, the building offers a range of high-end amenities including a business center and a gym.
What makes it unique?
This upscale and polished part of town is a playground for the rich and famous in Mexico City. “Polanco is the place to shop, eat, party and be seen,” Ms. Romo said. “The city’s most prominent people spend most of their time here.”
“It has attractive colonial architecture, beautiful parks and a high concentration of posh shops and great restaurants—all of which make it an attractive place in which to live and work,” said Bruno Bourlon of Best Realty Mexico.
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It is compact, walkable and well-connected, which gives it an attractive, small-community feel. There is a Metro station, and the downtown area of Mexico City is a 15-minute drive away or 10 minutes by Metro.
There is an abundance of green spaces, too, which are ideal for escaping the hectic pace of city life. Polanco borders the city’s largest and most impressive park, Chapultepec, which spans 1,700 acres and includes a castle, lakes and forests.
Another attractive neighborhood green space is Lincoln Park, which is home to a reflecting pool and bike path and is surrounded by restaurants, upscale shops and beautiful mansions.
Polanco is also an art gallery hotspot. Located on the district’s Plaza Carso is one of two museum buildings that make up the Museo Soumaya, a 66,000-piece art collection owned by the Mexican billionaire business magnate Carlos Slim.
An impressive bow tie-shaped, aluminium-clad structure, it houses the main part of the collection which spans 30 centuries and includes works by Picasso and Dali.
A distinctive saw-toothed roofed building, the David Chipperfield Architects-designed Museo Jumex presents a wide range of contemporary art exhibitions. A major survey of the work of Andy Warhol will be on view at the museum this year from June 1 to September 17.
There’s also the Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros, a museum that’s dedicated to the work of the Mexican mural artist David Alfaro Siqueiros
Polanco’s streets are lined with expensive jewelry boutiques and upscale clothing shops that have helped it earn its nickname as the Beverly Hills of Mexico City.
Said to be the most expensive shopping street in Latin America, Avenida Presidente Masaryk is where the wealthy head for some retail therapy.
Sometimes called the Mexican Champs-Elysees, it is lined with designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Bulgari, along with many luxury car dealership showrooms, including Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
Plaza Carso shopping center, located close to the Museo Soumaya, has a Saks Fifth Avenue store. Hermes can be found on Anatole France, a road just off America Park, a European-style public park.
A popular destination is Antara Fashion Hall, an upscale open-air shopping center which boasts international brands such as Zara, Pepe Jeans, Thomas Pink, Emporio Armani and Burberry.
The Polanco area is home to three restaurants which have been included in World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, compiled by the British magazine Restaurant. They are: Quintonil, which serves contemporary Mexican cuisine in a modern, light-filled space, decorated with potted plants and pale wood-clad walls; Pujol, a fine-dining restaurant which serves modern Mexican cuisine; and Biko, a Basque restaurant which specializes in techno-emotional cuisine.
Housed in a country house with 17th century origins, the Hacienda de los Morales serves Mexican classics in a setting evoking the colonial era of Mexico.
The area has some great schools, too. The College of Mexico, an institute of higher education for students aged 18 and over, and the Greengates British-style international school, a privately owned co-ed day school for ages 3 to 19, are highly rated.
Who lives there?
Wealthy families, socialites, politicians, media types, business people, young professionals, expats–the area attracts all types.
It is a diverse place and includes Jewish, Spanish, German and Lebanese communities.
There are embassies and lots of international companies based in and around the Polanco area, according to Mr. Bourlon. “Lots of people who work at these companies live in the neighborhood because they can easily walk to work.”
The offices of transnational companies, such as Nestle and the U.S. toy manufacturing company Mattel, as well as Coca-Cola, are based in the district.
“It’s a great spot for young people because the area is full of buzzing bars and nightclubs and restaurants. Families like it too, because it is central and everything is on the doorstep, including good schools,” Ms. Romo said.
Former residents include Maria Felix, one of Mexico’s biggest film stars who is often referred to as Mexico’s Marilyn Monroe; Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the billionaire owner of TV Azteca; and “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and her husband Jose ‘Pepe’ Baston.
“It is the best place to invest in the city,” said Mr. Bourlon. “Property prices and rents are rising because demand for properties in the area is on the increase. We are seeing many more wealthy local and overseas people renting and buying in Polanco. Its reputation as a great place to live, work and play is becoming more internationally known.”
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