Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Updates, Updates, Updates -- Lots O' News

You haven't heard from me for a little over 2 weeks, so I have LOTS of news bits to share with you!  Dig in and enjoy...

Firstly, I have been away on a quick trip to the U.S. for business.  I returned to Michigan, my home state, to freezing weather and rain.  (Another not-so-gentle reminder of why I love the warm PM weather!)  We stayed for a few nights in Traverse City, Michigan.  If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting Traverse City -- it is truly incredible and has been rated at the top of national lists for foodies and winos.  So, we had a great time and fit right in!  ;)

Then, I returned to have my laser eye surgery here in Cancun.  I had a PRK procedure performed at Perfect Vision in Cancun and couldn't be happier!  No more glasses or contacts for me!!  And I can see the alarm clock in the morning without searching for glasses!  The equipment is state-of-the-art, the Doctor is fantastic (and speaks perfect English), and the procedure was VERY reasonably priced.  Today is the first day (Day 4) where I am allowed to be viewing computer screens and such and my vision is doing great!  The Doctor is also a general ophthalmologist and treats all sorts of general eye problems, LASIK, Cataracts, etc. -- Just as an FYI.

Now on to Puerto Morelos News:

The Movies On The Beach Night has been officially moved to Monday Nights -- a less busy night for everyone, the town events -- making it an ideal night to curl up on the beach for a good flick.  The movies are playing at Manta Beach Bar (located between "Casitas Blancas" and "Ocean Homes" Condo Projects) .  The movies start promptly at 8 p.m., so be there at 7:30 to settle in and meet-and-greet.  The movies are in English, with Spanish subtitles.

This last weekend was a busy one in PM.  There was a big Fishing Tournament and the El Rey Polo Tournament!  Hopefully everyone had a great time!!  (I was resting with my eyes closed from my PRK.)

Here is a great video capturing the tournament from fellow Puerto Morelian, Jim Kaszynski:

On July 3, 2011 from 6 to 10:30 a.m.,  there will be the First Annual Puerto Morelos Triathlon!  5k of Running, 70k of cycling, & 3000m of swimming.  I am tired just thinking it.  Best of luck to all of the athletes.  I'll be there to cheer you on!  ;)

The Blog-O-Sphere has been hopping about the new immigration reforms that have been signed into law by President Calderon last week.  The official press release said the changes were spurred by the need to better accommodate the flow of  immigrants from south of Mexico's border.  However, bloggers are saying that due to the changes, there may be some effect the FM2/FM3 system.  Recently, there have been recent changes -- dare I say, IMPROVEMENTS -- to the system.  If further streamlining and improvements are coming down the pipeline, I say "Bring Them On!"  The moral of the story is that, so far, nothing that I can see has changed on the immigration's website.  So I'll be on the lookout for any forthcoming changes.

The changes in immigration has been accompanied by rumblings about a possible change to the laws regarding vehicles that have been imported with foreign plates.  As of today there are NO changes posted to the existing policy online that I can find.  The Aduana (Customs) Website still reads that vehicles with foreign plates, imported on temporary permits, can only be driven by the importer/their spouse/their parents/their children without the presence of the importer.  If the importer is present in the vehicle, it can be driven by any other licensed driver.  So no letting third parties drive your vehicles!  If they are pulled over, the authorities are within their rights to confiscate your vehicle without return!

The newest bit in the ongoing 'Puerto Morelos changing to an Alcaldia Drama', they have set a new date of June 18th.  Let's see what shakes out this time...

For those of you Puerto Morelians who wimp out and go home when the weather starts to bake (LOL -- I can hardly blame you!), this is wildfire season as the brush is at its driest just prior to our upcoming rainy season.  Fires have been particularly close this year -- you may have smelled/seen the smoke.

Here is a recent press release about the new menu concept, I recently mentioned at John Gray's Kitchen.  Recent reviews are good!  I have had their breakfast and lunch offerings and have to concur!

Recently, the Mexican Government reported an estimated 1 Billion Dollars in Touristic Development in Quintana Roo in the next 2 years.  This article sites that a portion of those investment dollars are going to be made by the Royal Resorts for a  new timeshare hotel in Puerto Morelos.  This project was slated to begin prior to the economic downturn, but seems to be back on track.  You can see its location here.

In other development news, the ASUR company -- who operates the Cancun Airport -- won the bid to build the Tulum Airport.  Then, a Mexican Court denied ASUR the right to operate as it violated monopoly laws as they would control all of the airports (they have others) in this area of Mexico.  So the Tulum Airport project has taken a few steps back...

On a transportation note, I have previously mentioned a possible train route in the Yucatan.  As an update:  The Mexican government is working on a strategic plan to link Mexico, via train, to Central America for the transport of goods.  The train route proposal is a part of the Mesoamerican Project -- a spinoff of President Fox's Puebla-Panama Plan.  The idea, as it relates on a peninsular level, would be to link the peninsula (Campeche, Merida, Valladolid, and the Cancun-Tulum Corridor) via train routes.  It would haul tourists by day and cargo by night.

The Passenger Ferry from Florida to Mexico also seems to be brewing.  This recent article in Travel Weekly interviews the potential operator. (You can skip down to the purple highlighted box at the bottom for the info about Mexico.)  Interestingly, the article mentions that the operator planned to have a website operational regarding Mexico service by the end of April, but I can't find said site.  If you find it, please let me know.

On a final news update, many of you have probably heard about the proposed Dragon Mart.  The Dragon Mart that currently exists in Dubai, is a gateway of Chinese goods to service the Middle East and North African Markets.  You can see aerial shots here, and it is pretty darn massive.  There have been numerous articles published regarding the project that is slated to be located on the highway between Cancun and Puerto Morelos.  Here is the press report released by Chinamex, the developer, regarding the project.  Be sure to check out the project rendering at the bottom -- HUGE!  The project is slated to cover 1.5 square kilometers of land and have 260,000 square meters/2,800,000 square feet of construction.  Groundbreaking is due to begin in 2011, with its opening by the end of 2012.

As a personal aside, if you have been following the story --  there are lots of projections being sprouted about the effects of the project.  Many are predicting real estate to sky rocket as a result.  While, given my profession, I certainly hope that this is very, very true many are basing this on the Dubai real estate market as an example.  Yes, Dubai real estate values did rise -- but there was a lot more going on in Dubai than the building of Dragon Mart.  So, I feel that a direct comparison really doesn't apply here.  Additionally, Dubai is now, post boom, plagued with a glut in inventory that can't be occupied.  They over-built / over-speculated on the boom.  So, I don't mean to be the rain on the parade -- but I am not holding my breath for a boom.

However, more conservatively, I do think that this project will solidify the need to move materials in and out.  So, hello "Train Project"!  I do think that given the number of Chinese required to run the facility, more flights from Asia will open.  Hello "More People & New Markets"!

The one thing that is really in my craw about this project, and why I was in the "never going to happen camp" when rumors of this project emerged is that Mexico, to date, has had really high tariffs on Chinese goods.  They have not wanted to their labor to have to compete with the Chinese.  So, they levied a 300 percent import tax on Chinese goods -- except on those products that Mexico didn't manufacture.  So, then why does Mexico now seek to open the largest Chinese wholesale market this hemisphere has seen.  I TOTALLY don't get this.  If someone has more insight on this, please share with a comment below.

Well, that's all from me.  Signing off from Puerto...

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Amber Pierce-Schulz is the Broker/Owner of Mayan Riviera Properties, specializing in Puerto Morelos Real Estate and Puerto Morelos Vacation Rentals. We are members of AMPI and Federally Certified Realtors.