Polanco: A Ritzy, Park-Side District in Mexico City With Culture and Top Shopping Spots

The peaceful, residential Mexico City district of Polanco is packed with ritzy, fashionable spots for shopping, eating and seeing art.

The upper-class neighborhood is both multicultural and culture rich. It has global residents, upscale boutiques, contemporary art galleries and proximity to parks. It also has fine-dining spots and notable theaters.

Polanco lies between Mexico City’s financial district and fashionable residential areas and has leafy, elegant streets, expensive housing and a busy social scene—for residents, there’s always a cocktail event to attend and a new dining spot or bar to check out.

The Polanco neighborhood lies five miles west of the downtown area of Mexico City, just north of Chapultepec, Mexico City’s largest park.

The neighborhood is bordered by Avenida Mariano Escobedo to the east, Anillo Periferico to the west, Avenue Ejercito Nacional to the north, and Avenue Paseo de la Reforma to the south.

The most valuable areas are near to the Ruben Dario road, which runs along the edge of Chapultepec Park, and those near Lincoln Park, said Rodrigo Pérez del Toro, an associate at Mexico Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Price Range

The average price of an apartment in Polanco is US$1 million, said Manuel Díaz, director general of Coldwell Banker Invest in Mexico City, adding that the starting price for such a home is around $600,000. Luxury property prices are usually listed and agreed in U.S. dollars though some properties are negotiated in Mexican pesos even though their price is displayed in U.S. dollars.

Polanco has a number of Spanish Colonial Revival-style houses, which date from the 1920s to the 1940s. Some of them have been converted into high-end boutiques while others remain as homes and cost from between $3 million and $4 million, Mr. Díaz said.

Interior view of a three-bedroom apartment in a luxury new development in Polanco. The 256-square-meter home is currently listed for $2.37 million.

Housing Stock

Polanco single-family houses are located on leafy side streets on plots with an average size of 5,400 square feet and the interiors typically range from between 1,076 square feet and 2,100 square feet, Mr. Díaz said.

The majority of homes, though, are luxury apartments housed in high-rise complexes that feature communal amenities, including gyms, roof gardens, pools and elevators, Mr. Díaz.

New homes being built in the area are mainly high-end apartment complexes, Mr. Pérez del Toro said. “They offer location, big terraces, kitchens and social areas, which are important features for buyers.”

Contemporary architecture is crucial for the design of new developments, he added. “These new buildings attract the highest prices and feature a pool, gym, concierge, hotel services, business centers, pet area, bicycle bays, a library, playroom, restaurant/café and a spa.”

Mr. Pérez del Toro gives the example of Elysee Polanco on Campos Elíseos road – an apartment scheme that has a swimming pool with a drinks bar and rooftop views. It has two- to four-bedroom homes ranging from between 1,600 square feet and 3,800 square feet, with prices starting at more than $1 million.

Exterior rendering of Elysee Polanco on Campos Elíseos road.

What Makes It Unique

Polanco was developed in the early to mid-20th century as a neighborhood for the emerging middle classes of expats from Jewish, Lebanese and Spanish communities and was built to emulate the downtown areas of European cities of the time instead of a suburban-style design, Mr. Pérez del Toro said.

The area suffered in 1970s and 1980s as people moved out to the suburbs but by the end of the 1990s, Polanco had started to bloom as the restaurants, galleries, museums, bars, location and proximity to Chapultepec offered an unprecedented urban lifestyle to wealthy buyers, Mr. Pérez del Toro added.

It was an elegant, greenery-filled spot with culture in abundance and a great restaurant and bar scene. And despite Mexico’s crime security issues, Polanco is regarded as a very safe place to live, Mr. Diaz said.

Polanco residents have the luxury of Lincoln Park, a lovely lunch spot with bike paths, a reflecting pool, a weekly farmer’s market, and a statue of Martin Luther King. Meanwhile, Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s most iconic park, lies on its southern edge.

The park has 17,000 acres, with excellent jogging routes and a castle-housed national history museum and an anthropology museum, which are visitor hotspots. It also has a boat cinema on the lake where the pedalos are used as seating for the open-air theater.

Luxury Amenities

Polanco has Mexico’s top contemporary art galleries and museums, which hold some of the world’s best artworks.

The bow tie-shaped, aluminium-clad Soumaya museum on the district’s Plaza Carso is one of two art museum buildings funded by Mexican billionaire business magnate Carlos Slim. It was named after Slim’s late wife and houses the main part of his 66,000-piece art collection, which spans 3,000 years and includes works by Picasso and Dali.

The Avenida Presidente Masaryk, Polanco’s main street, has drawn comparisons to the world’s best shopping streets for its luxury retail offerings. It has shops by Cartier, Louis Viutton, Zegna, Gucci, Uterque, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chopard and others, along with Porsche and Mercedes-Benz car showrooms.

There is also great shopping at Antara Fashion Hall and the Palacio de Hierro malls while the Plaza Carso development has a Saks Fifth Avenue store.

Bars and restaurants are one of the main attractions in Polanco, Mr. Pérez del Toro said, adding that “it offers known names and local gastronomy and a diverse range of foods across a wide range of price points.”

Top spots include the renowned fine-dining restaurant Pujol, which serves modern Mexican cuisine with indigenous ingredients and has a signature mole dish. It is ranked No. 12 in the most current World’s 50 Best Restaurants, compiled by an organization that rates restaurants globally.

The contemporary farm-to-fork Mexican restaurant Quintonil is ranked No. 24 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and has a nine-course tasting menu with meat and seafood dishes created from sustainable food sources. Other dining highlights include Hacienda de los Morales, which is housed in a 17th-century farmhouse and serves Mexican classics.

Polanco also has a number of hotels by five-star hoteliers Hyatt Regency, W, JW Marriott, and Four Seasons.

For families with young children, Polanco’s proximity to the American School Foundation is a highlight. The independent co-ed institution for pupils aged 3 to 18 lies in the Las Americas neighborhood (3.5 miles away) and is recognized as one of the best schools in Mexico. Other top schools include the Lycée Franco-Mexicain (French Mexican school), which lies in Polanco and is one of the largest French lycées in the world, offering education for students at levels kindergarten to grade 12.

Who Lives There

Polanco is described as a cosmopolitan place with a diverse range of residents and mix of cultures, since it is home to the business headquarters for multinational companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestlé.

It has long-standing Jewish and Lebanese communities, Spanish and French residents and Mexicans from old-money families, as well as Japanese, Chinese and Argentinian expats, Mr. Díaz said.

International buyers are a growing market in Polanco because Mexico City has been recognized internationally for its amazing gastronomy, culture and weather in recent years, Mr Pérez del Toro said. “Buyers from Europe, such as England, France and Italy, as well as Canada and the U.S., are falling in love with the city and are deciding to invest in a first and second home.”

Polanco attracts a wide range of people, but its primary markets are wealthy empty nesters, families with young children, single people and couples, Mr. Pérez del Toro said.

Garden and terrace of a 872-square-meter ground level apartment in Polanco. The luxury residence is asking for $2.95 million.

Notable Residents

Mexican film actor and singer María Félix, who starred in Latin-American films in the 1940s and 1950s, lived in the neighborhood and her home still exists, which was built for her in the 1950s.

Agents were unable to provide names of current notable residents.

Outlook

The upscale market in Mexico City is more turbulent these days, Mr. Díaz said. “A decade ago, the seller used to define the price, but the power has shifted toward the buyer for the last two years,” he said. “Buyers are pushing for lower prices and the pandemic has exacerbated the trend. Properties are selling for between 10% and 15% under their asking prices.”

Buyers have also become more cautious in buying off-plan, Mr. Díaz continued. “They want to buy a property that is ready to go, not one that is ready in 16 months. I think confidence will build if the vaccine rollout continues successfully and things should become steadier now that Mexico has had its midterm elections in June 2021.”

Polanco prices are at their lowest in the past five years, Mr. Pérez del Toro said. “A buyer’s market has prevailed since 2017, and it takes an average of two years to sell a property in Polanco,” he said. “But the best properties with low market prices are selling every day, so my forecast is that the market will start recovering in 2022.”

Article Source: Mansion Global