Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Altozano Facelift

tree meridians

    As you can see in these two photos,  the main avenues up here in Altozano are getting spruced up.

Quite a few people have written to me lamenting about the construction up here destroying the forests.


Golf Altozano 034However,  the area where Altozano is being built was mainly pastures.   If there were forests here,  they were destroyed decades,  if not centuries ago.     The only area that I would call wooded is where the golf course is being built.


This google satellite photo below shows some of the wooded areas that hopefully will be somewhat protected from growth in the future.   It will also give some of you that are not so familiar with Morelia an idea of just how close some of these projects are to one another.  

The wooded area between the labels Paseo Morelia and Jesus del Monte is the Valle del Rio Chiquito reserve.  The yellow line is Camelinas Blvd (aka Libremiento)

google overview

The dark woods in the lower right hand corner are the beginnings of the forested areas that include the small towns of San Miguel, San Jose de los Torres,  Rio Bello, Ichaqueo,  Tumbisca.   This area is the main watershed for Morelia.

The little finger that juts out to the upper left of the red circle is the Loma de Santa Maria hillside at the southern part of the city. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Highway to MLM airport revisited


Airport Highway 6-08 004

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I took a ride out towards Charo to see how the construction was coming along on the new toll road to Morelia's airport,  and extending to connect to the Mexico City-Guadalajara autopista.   To see how it looked last February,  click here

The construction workers that I spoke with told me it will be open by the middle of July,  and I tend to believe them.   There is still work to be done,   mainly cosmetic on the access ramps,  painting,  rock falling areas,  and toll booths.   I was able to drive it all the way from its start near Ciudad Industrial out to the Mexico city toll road.  Here are a few observations:

It is a two lane highway,  but has large shoulders,  very similar to the toll highway to Lazaro Cardenas and Ixtapa.    Those who are not familiar with these Mexican autopistas can get a chuckle by visiting Mickey Dick's peeks at Highway Lunacy .


Airport Highway 6-08 016







Airport Highway 6-08 017

(click on photos to enlarge)

(above) Here is the start,  the bridge over the DF-Guadalajara toll road (right).  30 kilometers from Avenida Camelinas at the Charo exit.  In the photo at the left,  you can see the toll booth being built in the distant,  those only going to the airport will just pay one toll,  but if you are heading to Chilangolandia or Tapatiaville,  double whammy on the tolls.  What?  You were thinking the owners (guess who) were building this highway for the common good?


Airport Highway 6-08 013


After a short jaunt of 4.5 KMs,  you pass the runway to MLM (above).   The control tower can be seen in the distance,  this old passenger jet must of got lost in the fog a few years back.


Airport Highway 6-08 011

For those of you who ever had the thrill of driving or riding in a bus from Mexico City to Morelia before the toll road opened,  you will be happy to note,  that once again,  you will pass the sleepy little town of Charo.   When I was dating my better half,  and taking the all nighter on ETN bus lines from Acapulco to Morelia.   I  remember seeing the steeple on the main church at Charo,  thinking,  yahoo,  I am almost there.


Airport Highway 6-08 014

  I don't know about these distances,  I guess they could be accurate.  If so,  we are only 2 hours away from both Guadalajara y Mexico city,    This sign is directly across from the runway at MLM.   It seems that we are getting closer and closer to Mexico city.   First they re-routed traffic so we no longer have to traverse Toluca,  now we can hook up to the Autopista Guad-Mexico well east of Lake Cuitzeo.  

Although a sign near the first toll booth read 50 kms to Morelia.    I measured  30 kilometers to Camelinas....if it is 20 kilometers from Camelinas to the historic center of Morelia,  I'll eat my sombrero.     Sometimes I think tequila plays a part in these sign postings.  (sign in photo says 245 kms to Mexico,  and 230 km to Guadalajara)


Airport Highway 6-08 020

(above)  At about 23 kms from where we started,  is the second toll and the exit for Bosques at Ciudad Tres Marias.      In the photo you can see the corporate office of Posadas de Mexico.    We are only about 7 kms from Camelinas avenue here.


Airport Highway 6-08 018

Airport Highway 6-08 006

These are 2 of the more scenic vistas along the way,  Ciudad Industrial,  and the new sewerage treatment plant.  (Editor's note:  sarcasm intended)



With the exception of the above,  this entrance from the airport should make for a much better first impression of Morelia and Michoacan.    Let's face it,  coming in to Morelia from the north on the old road was not showing off our city's best angle.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bosques Altozano, June 2008

Below is the course layout.   I walked the first 5 holes,  then over to holes number 10 and 11.   They are hoping to have 9 holes open sometime this summer.   A few of the holes were ready to play,  although the grass could use a little more maturation time.  I am excited about how the layout is coming along,  I think it will be a fun,  fair course,  unlike some other,  more acclaimed courses in the area.  

golf layout




















Come on along as we walk through some of the holes.   Keep in mind,  these photos were taken  3 weeks ago in May,  the driest time of the year here in Morelia.   It has been raining fairly steady  for the last 3-4 days,   so things are looking much greener up here already.

Hole # 1,  Par 4,  390 yards from the blue tees.

You will want to aim your drive towards the large tree in the middle of the fairway.   It is fairly open and forgiving,  which is good seeing as it is Hole Numero Uno!

Golf Altozano 004

This photo below shows the landing area for your drive.   You would play a high iron over the stream,  into a small green surrounded by bunkers.

Golf Altozano 005

 Hole # 2,  Par 5,  533 yards from the blue tees.

This hole is straight up hill,   making it very challenging to go for the green in two.   Below is looking back at the tee area.

Golf Altozano 008

Assuming a straight long drive,  below is the view of your second shot will look like,   bunkers are strategically placed on both sides of the fairway.

Golf Altozano 009

Behind the second green,  looking back to drive's landing area. (below).   In the distance is Jesus del Monte.   This hole is up pretty high,  and I can see it getting pretty windy up here at times.

Golf Altozano 010

Hole # 3,   Par 4,  466 yards from the blue tees.

What goes up,  must come down.  Having hiked up number 2,  now it is straight downhill with the wind at your back.   At an altitude of well over 7000 ft.,  hackers like me should have fun letting it all hang out on this drive.   Aim for the lake,  with a fade,  and you could easily reach 300 yards off the tee.  The building just past the lake will be the provisional clubhouse.   The Altozano towers can be seen in the distance.

Golf Altozano 012

Your second shot (below) is also straight downhill.  The fairway on this hole was still a ways from having mature grass ready for play.

Golf Altozano 013

Hole # 4,   Par 4,  380 yards from the blue tees.

We have crossed under the perimeter road,  and are entering the flatter,  more wooded section of the course.   This is a short dog-leg left,  slightly downhill. 

Golf Altozano 017

If you are still with me,  reading this,  you must be a golfer.   Below is the 4th green.   We are coming into the area where 4-5 holes are very close to one another.   You are either finishing up on 18, or moving onto holes number 5 & 6.  (see course layout above)

Golf Altozano 021

  Hole # 18,   Par 5,  571 yards from the blue tees.

As you walk off the 4th green,  you come into the HUB of the Bosques Altozano course.   The photo below shows the 18th green,  you would be hitting your 3rd shot over the pond.    This would also be a great vantage point for watching a tournament,  as you can enjoy watching play on 4 or 5 different holes from here,  as well as being in a nice shaded grove of eucalyptus trees.

Golf Altozano 024

 Hole # 10,   Par 4,  443 yards from the blues

Holes 10 and 11 will probably be included in the first 9 holes to open this summer.   Here we are looking over the recently topdressed green at No. 10.   It is a dogleg left.

Golf Altozano 030

Hole # 11,   Par 4,  427 yards from the blues

Tees at 11,  a slight dogleg right.   That's my tour for now,  can't wait to try out my neighborhood course in a few weeks,  come on down,  you won't be disappointed !!

 Golf Altozano 029

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Mauling of Monarcas

No,  I am not going to rake on the poor Divison 1 professional soccer team we have here in Morelia.    Rather I will stay with the theme of the MALLS that plan to be springing up over Monarch Mountain.

The hummingbirds up here are buzzing about the potential land purchase of a plot of land near the Jefferson High School and La Bandera memorial park by Grupo Acosta Verde .   I guess I will have a Soriana's supermarket nearby at some point.

Now,  on to the visuals.   Here are three floor plans for the first phase of the large mall here in Monarch Mountain,  known as Paseo Morelia.

Starting from left to right,  bottom to top,  here are the floor plans:

The Liverpool anchor store will be two floors,  this plan shows the first floor (Planta baja).   Liverpool will be closest to the access road connecting the Juan Pablo II traffic circle (see previous posts) to the access road to Morelia,  yet to be determined as to tunnel or bridge.



Below is the main floor (Planta primer nivel) with the Liverpool store's second floor.  On the far end is the other anchor store Sears.  You would enter Sears first floor from this level.



Below is the second floor (planta 2do nivel) which shows the Cinemex movie theaters,  which will overlay the Zara store above,  and the second floor of sears,  with Playtime over the Coppel store.



These three floor plans represent the first stage of the project,  below is a partial list of the stores that have commited to the mall's first phase:

HARD ROCK CAFE (almost a done deal), ZARA, BERSHKA,

First phase of the peripheral area of Paseo Morelia,  corporations commited include:



Below is the view that you will have of Morelia from the Mansion Restaurant and the Fiesta Inn hotel.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Plaza Las Americas Mall, Morelia - Phase I

las americas phases

The first phase of Plaza Las Americas mall opened this week, featuring the Cinepolis VIP cinemas. Surprisingly, even though the corporate headquarters of Cinepolis are based here in Morelia, it took awhile for the VIP cinemas to arrive here.

The color-coded overlays above show the future expansion plans for the mall. Eventually all of the outdoor parking and some of the homes in the area will be replaced by the mall. It will even surround the nearby Financial tower.


Photo above shows the plaza from the inside, with the new cinemas on the 3rd floor.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bosque Altozano, update

As promised from my previous post, here are some photos of two of what look to be challenging holes here. The first is a long dog-leg left, where you need to drive over the pond. I think this will be a par 5 hole. Photo taken 3/2008

Projects ene 2008 015

This hole below is very scenic, appears to be a long par 4. Keep in mind that these photos were taken during the driest time of the year here. The first good rainstorm took place last Sunday. They will have 9 holes ready to play this year. What month? Let's just say I have heard conflicting reports.

Projects ene 2008 016

The "Valle de Altozano" awakens


Over the past 3 years, this gated community, listed on Altozano's master plan as the Valle de Altozano, has laid silent. Walls were in place, cemented streets and services installed, but no housing....Photo taken in Sept 2005



Now, as seen in the photo below taken 3 weeks ago, a flurry of building has begun.

Projects ene 2008 005

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ciudad Tres Marias - LPGA Tournament 2008


The annual LPGA golf tourname



The annual LPGA tournament was held last weekend here in Tres Marias. The #1 woman's golfer in the world and native born Tapatia, Lorena Ochoa, took home the first place trophy.

I took my daughter out on Saturday to fight the crowds. Not that she is a golf enthusiast, only that she is a teenager, and wants to be around the "in" crowd. It is funny, when you are in the bleachers or near the greens, most of the people don't have a clue what is going on. One lady politely asked me as we watched two Korean golfers approach the 18th green, "How do they know which ball is theirs?" It wasn't as if they both had landed in the trap next to one another. There was a good 40 meters seperating the two balls.

I was surprised to see many older Americans working as crowd silencers, I assume they are imported from the Lake Chapala rest home....err, retirement community. If they live in Morelia, I must be living a sheltered life here.

Admittedly, I have not spent a lot of time on Tres Marias. The photo above shows its present state (only much greener as it was taken in last summer during the rains). This slight is mainly due to the fact that I have the Altozano in my backyard. Personally, if I were to buy a place in Morelia in either of the two, my heart would go to Altozano.

My friend, David, a retired school teacher from California, has built a beautiful home there. However, there is much more greenery and beauty up there on Monarch Mountain, and you are immersed in what truly makes Mexico special, the people. Somehow I get the impression that Tres Marias is trying too hard to be an exclusive entity. I wish both projects well. The two are both competitors and lovers at the same time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Paseo Morelia update


The above drawing will give you an idea of some of the companies that have signed on with Grupo GICSA that will form this large mall.

Most of the names you will recognize, Wal-Mart, Sears, Liverpool, Carl Jrs., Sanborn;s etc. Play City, Johnny Rockets, Italiannis Restaurant are some of the lesser known establishments. Any idea why it is Cinemex and not Cinepolis movie theaters here ? I have been told close to 70% of the major locales have been reserved.

Below is an outline of the stores layered over a recent photo of the construction site. As you can see, there is still a ways to go, but they are working on it 24/7. My teenage kids are more anxious than I regarding its completion, small town life is just too dull for them!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Place your bets !!

If I were a betting man, this is the access road I would bet the ranchito on. The white line in the photo is the second proposal of access to the Paseo Morelia mall and the rest of Altozano. This will require a "Megapuente", a bridge of some sort, which is shown in the two white arches which will span the Rio Chiquito .

This makes much more sense to me, as the access will be from the McDonald's on Camelinas near the Plaza Morelia. The Megatunnel which I have described in previous posts, although it may be more unique and possibly more asthetic to the eye, is too controversial in this town. Plus its access to Camelinas is at the Sanson Flores intersection, which is only one stoplight away from the present access road at "La Paloma" intersection.

Of course, all of this now is a giant political football. Without getting too political, the players here are very high profile at this moment in Mexico. Felipe Calderon, Morelia's native son, and present President of the Republic, is more than ready to fork over the pesos to make this project a success. Standing in the way, is the newly elected Governor of Michoacan, whom is from the opposition party. Will funds forked over from the Federal Government, be used to buoy the opposition's losing presidential candidate? I understand his real initials are MALO , but somehow Andres became his first name, not Manuel, after he had the epiphany of politics in his blood.

Alas,, politics aside, two access roads to this area will happen this year. Too many interests are at stake for it not to happen. One will be the MegaPuente or MegaTunnel, and the other will be an access out to the Patzcuaro Highway.