Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Antea Lifestyle Center, Part 2 - Juriquilla, Mexico

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.
  Rumor has it that it is more expensive then Neiman Marcus.  Or as we refer to it in the USA, "needless markup".   It was not on my agenda to go into a store that I couldn't afford to buy anything.  However, those that I was with, went in, came out and exclaimed at the prices.  See, I saved time.
Turning to the right was this open area with kiosks on the first level with roof gardens.  As I was taking the four photos and only four that I took, a security guard approached me.  In Spanish he said something (yes I know what he said).  But, thinking if I played gringo, I would get to take more photos I responded, "No comprende Espanol".  Aaah, but he was prepared, because in perfect English and very mannerly he said please take no photos.  Oh my.  Of course I didn't.  You'll just have to check it out yourself.

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!  


Droelma said...

I would be really curious to find out if something very different is planned for Palacio de Hierro, because for the rest of Mexico it is an old and very established department store ( founded in 1885 I think and known under it's present name since 1891 ) at the level of maybe Macy's or Norstrom's ( my opinion ).
I have never seen anything there that comes close to the stuff NM sells. But one never knows what they have planned for this specific mall.
I personally don't shop at Palacio de Hierro, because approaching 70 I don't fit their target group customer profile, because I could never be " totalmente Palacio " ( their slogan ).,,,lol.
When I read "Antea Lifestyle Center ", I thought it might be a kind of spa-cum-spritual enlightenment/laser hair removal/hot stone massage etc facility, but must admit that Lifestyle Center sounds much more upscale than mall.

Steve Cotton said...

Palacio de Herro is always one of my favorite places to buy clothes wen I am in Mexico City. The prices do not strike me as astronomical -- or any more astronomical than the cost of most quality clothing in Mexico. Meaning that it is, at least 50% more expensive.

Babs said...

Steve and Droelma - Since I didn't go in Palacio de Hierro, I can't tell you what it compares to in the USA.
I did use to buy clothes and had a Neiman's credit card.
Guess I need to go back and check it out. My friends looked at a basic windbreaker, with the conversion would have been over $400USD. I can't imagine paying that in the USA or Mexico for clothes.....EVER, even when I HAD money.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, you're right. Mexican department store prices are astronomical. Even if you take out the 17% IVA, they are still ridiculous. At one point I tried to persuade the management of TJX Companies (TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and others) to open stores in Mexico, but they chose Poland instead. Go figure. They could have opened a dozen stores in Mexico, all within a day's drive of a Texas DC, and easily monitored.

One of the nice things about being a Gringo in Mexico is being able to buy clothes on trips back to the USA. And in my case, the only clothing I can find that fits me in Mexico anyway is short-sleeved shirts.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we've come to like the new Nordstrom rack, or "raque" as we prefer to think of it.

Droelma said...

I think when it comes to prices for clothing it depends very much what we think of as the base price and that has much to do with where we are from. For me, as a European and as someone who lived ten years plus in Tokyo before moving to Mexico City, prices for good quality basic ( maybe classic is the word ) clothing is definitely cheaper at PdH than in similar department stores of my experience.. I realized that after posting that PdH has a few departments ( " El Salón International "being one of them ) where they sell designer clothes and that is very expensive.
I accompanied a friend last month and she bought a four seasons jacket by a US brand which cost 800.- pesos and a pair of thin wool slacks that cost 750.-. I know many Mexicans could not afford such prices, but for the kind of quality these garments are, I think the price is still in the acceptable range.
Of course it does not come close to my winter coat I bought in the US which cost me after it was 50% off of 50% off and then something like another 50% off a whoping 17.- dollars. Only the US has those kinds of sales and prices. But unfortunately with the suitcase restrictions on planes, the price of plane tickets and now the horrendous $ exchange rate only a priviledged few can go for shopping trips in the US.

Babs said...

When I moved to San Miguel and the women took me to the Tianguis and said they bought used clothing there, I was horrfied. Fast forward 14 years and buying cashmeres from Chico's or Nordstroms or Lord and Taylor for 120 pesos, is how I shop. I bought a beautiful block colored coat two weeks ago for 300 pesos (with the exchange rate now about $21USD). I'm so spoiled with the brands and gorgeous clothes that I and my friends find, that I don't even shop in retail stores anymore escept to buy socks, and lingerie and shoes. Nor do I shop in the USA anymore either! I'm a convert, through and through.

Babs said...

Droelma, those prices don't seem expensive to me either, if of good quality. But, you're right, the sales in the US are the way to go.

Airfares from DF to Houston are so low, it is still a good deal...or many friends take the bus from SMA to either the border (ETN) or to Houston. The non-stop bus from SMA is $73USD each way! AND it is an adventure.......ha.

Retired Teacher said...

I don't know, I guess I am an "anti-snob snob", if that makes any sense. If some security guard told me that I couldn't a photo of a shopping mall, I would politely tell him that I'll leave and do my shopping at someplace that isn't so ridiculously pretentious.

Babs said...

Bill, believe it or not, this is a common practice for security purposes now. Not only in Mexico, but in the USA as well.......

I wasn't offended in the least, just disappointed.

Inside even grocery stores now, they ask you not to photograph.

Go figure!

jennifer rose said...

I just don't understand gringos who get upset over being told not to take photos. A shopping mall is private property, and its management has the right to make the rules. The same goes for visiting my house. No one is allowed to take photos here as well.

I still love Neiman's even thought it's not what it once was.

Droelma said...

It is obvious that there are still cheap fares to be had, but I still figure that if I add the fares, the hotel and the food I would have to buy a lot of clothes to still come out ahead.
I have also bought second hand clothes ( most are still " first " hand with the price tag still on ) ever since I came to Mexico and have put together a nice Talbot's wardrobe and am always on the lookout for Chaus and Liz Claiborne, because they have clothing lines for women like me ( ultra short, just under five feet, but with past-middle-age spread ).
We have a lot of very big tianguises ( I have no idea what the plural of tianguis is...lol ) with clothes exclusively and they are often sold for three pieces for ten pesos ( I often buy them just for the buttons ), ten pesos, or fifteen. Twenty five pesos is expensive here, but often it is worth it to spend that much. The Calvin Klein all wool flannel bathrobe I am wearing right now is one of those items.

Droelma said...

I have often thought that it would be nice to have a TJMaxx here, a Target and a.....darn it, I forgot the name.....it's the chain furniture store they have almost everywhere.
I would however fear that those stores would just sell crappy stuff and not like I know from TJMaxx in Minneapolis, good brand names at a deep discount, because things need to be washed, or have no box as an example.
This is what happened to Walmart here.
They just sell poor quality at exaggerated prices, because so many people seem to think that everything from the States is good. Just this weekend I saw really shabby " made in China " T-shirts for 298.- pesos. For that money I also could buy one at Palacio de Hierro of better quality.

Babs said...

Jennifer, indeed. I didn't get upset, was just disappointed. It is a lovely place.

It's not the first time that has happened and it won't be the last.

Retired Teacher said...

Jennifer Rose, but your home is not a commercial establishment open to the general public either. Yes, as private property, a shopping mall (or a museum or a church) has the right to prohibit photos, but I, as a customer, also have the right to take my business elsewhere.

Perhaps I just haven't been caught, but in the past year or so I have taken a number of photos of some upscale malls and department stores in Mexico... a few of which I have posted on my blog. It's not that I have any fascination with shopping malls... I certainly don't... but I wanted to break the stereotype that the entire country is mired in Third World poverty.

Marigold said...

Droelma, I think you're referring to Ikea.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Bill on the photography rule. And with every cell phone now containing a camera, it's completely ridiculous too. Right? Anyone can snap a photo with a cell phone and the dimwitted security guards aren't likely to notice.

So all they're really doing is preventing high-quality photos. And to what end exactly? Who knows?


Babs said...

Kim, I never thought about cellphones, since I don't have one. You're right everyone else could take photos.........and good ones nowadays with a cell phone. Ha.

YOU forgot to leave a tag line.

Something I look forward to with great joy