Back on January 7th of this year, I wrote the first piece about this stupendous lifestyle center (mall). Finally, yesterday was the day to see what all the conversations have been about.
Thankfully, someone else was driving away from Queretaro where we had been earlier. It was like trying to land a 747 in a big airport with all the twists and turns without, of course, good signage. But, with much screeching by those of us in the car, we made the correct turn at the SECOND turn and got there.
As the Brits would say, I was "gobsmacked". The size, the development and what will encompass the surrounding area was grand, to put in mildly.
Upon entering the open area, as it is NOT an enclosed mall, there was a Crate and Barrel the size of the one in the Galleria area of Houston! And as one goes farther in, a very high end store called Palacio de Herro.
One of the disappointing aspects was no directory of what is or where the stores are located. You have to walk the whole thing. Lots of VERY high end stores, but also stores such as Merrill shoes, Victoria's Secret, Forever 21 (my granddaughters would be thrilled), H&M which had some fantastic home decor items along with precious childrens'clothes at extremely reasonable prices. I was so surprised to see some of the brands there.
Liverpool has a huge anchor store at the exact opposite end from Herro Mexico. And, I spotted PF Chang's hidden in a side aisle that I missed when going the other way initially.
I headed over to see the design of the food court. One BIG food court with all the tables and chairs to be used for any and all of the establishments. At each end of the outdoor dining area were waterwalls. A very nice touch. BIG white sun umbrellas covered each table. It was very well designed. The food establishments were in a line. Little signage other then their logo. Well done.
Sitting there watching and waiting for my friends, I was astonished at several things. One was the number of uniformed men and women that were security people. No weapons, only walkie talkies. Many customers in business attire. Men in suits. Women in suits. Something not often seen in San Miguel.
It was impressive to imagine all the personnel that are employed in this center both in retail sales and ancillary positions. What a boon to the area.
Quite a few people in the center, but few with bags. In other words, a tourist attraction, mostly. I was among the bag less people. That doesn't mean that I won't return some day. I've already scouted out a few stores that I would like to explore but didn't yesterday.
I said to my friends as we left, you would never have seen this 15 or 20 years ago. With the change that NAFTA has wrought in this country, which has caused, to a large degree, the emergence of the middle class, I found it quite an interesting social study.
The facility is beautifully constructed with high end materials. It would have been a project that I would have been proud to have been involved in, if I were still doing that kind of work. I DO hope though that there is much more landscaping in the transitional spaces surrounding the parking lots and roadways to give a more destination feel as one arrives. Right now it is like landing in a big open field next to a highway.
I'm sure as time goes by, it will receive the big trees and landscaping needed. Work, they say, will continue until 2021 before all is completed!