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Just Cool

Tijuana starts work on modern, $36.5M box-like building

Cosmopolitan Skyline
Construction has started on a $40 million Tijuana building in the heart of the city’s downtown.
(Grupo Cosmopolitan)

The Cosmopolitan Skyline building in Tijuana will feature three unique box shapes containing 264 hotel rooms and around 4,000 square feet of commercial space

Work has begun on an ultramodern $36.5 million 25-story building in Tijuana’s main drag that is sure to stick out in the tourist-heavy area.

The mixed-use building, called Cosmopolitan Skyline, will be on Avenida Revolución a short walk from the historic Caesar’s restaurant. Plans for the building include 264 hotel rooms and 4,000 square feet of commercial space.

Cosmopolitan Skyline
Construction has started on a $40 million Tijuana building in the heart of the city’s downtown.
(Grupo Cosmopolitan)

It will be a departure for the street that mainly has three- to four-story buildings, and likely will attract attention for looking like three big boxes, or three different buildings, on top of each other.

Salomon Saul, 29, commercial director of developer Cosmopolitan Group said the project could revitalize Avenida Revolución, which remains the top place for tourists to walk up and down — even though it still has numerous dilapidated buildings. There’s even an empty lot across from the Cosmopolitan Skyline site where a building burned down.

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Most of Tijuana’s vertical growth over the past decade has been in its business district, around the Club Campestre golf course or close to the border. Saul said Cosmopolitan Group paid $3 million for the site because it has faith the Mexican city’s historic downtown will again be a major hub for foreigners like it was 100 years ago.

“Americans don’t want to go to Zona Río (business district) where you can see the same buildings you can see in any city in the world,” Saul said. “You want to come where Tijuana started, where the old buildings are.”

The demolition of an old three-story building on the site was approved by the city’s previous government. Approval of the project design and construction was given by the new government two months ago. Construction will start in January and is estimated to take 2 1/2 years.

One of the more unique design elements will be two different hotels in the building. Saul said they had considered buying two lots for both hotels but eventually decided to put them both in the same complex.

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Architect Gustavo Gualajara, 40, said the three box shapes are meant to make the building look friendly and approachable. He said a lot of the interior design will call back to different eras in Tijuana’s history.

“We wanted to show the simplicity of form,” he said of the box-like structure. “The movement creates a rhythm.”

Cosmopolitan Skyline plans call for three underground parking floors and a commercial area on the ground floor around the heavily trafficked corner at the intersection of Avenida Revolución and Calle Salvador Díaz Mirón. Above that will be three additional levels of parking. The Hotel Indigo will be the first hotel and a Holiday Inn will be on top of that.

Both hotels are brands of IHG, or InterContinental Hotels Group, with Hotel Indigo considered a more boutique experience. Saul anticipates the roughly 355-square-feet rooms at Hotel Indigo to go for $120 a night, and 645-square-feet suites to go for $200 a night. He said Holiday Inn’s 322-square-feet rooms will average around $85 a night and $150 a night for 430-square-feet suites.

The complex will have a gym, business center, meeting rooms and a bar on the 12th floor called the 20/20 Club. As part of Guadalajara’s efforts to connect the building to the past, he has attempted to link it to The Foreign Club, a 1920s era bar. Guadalajara found a 1923 advertisement for the bar in the San Diego Union that calls Tijuana the “Paris of North America,” and that phrase appears on the wall of the 20/20 rendering.

Cosmopolitan Group said they are paying 50 percent of the financing of the project with the rest coming from bank loans.

The business climate in Tijuana doesn’t always have the best reputation. A popular craft brewery about a mile from the Skyline site has been shuttered since early October after Baja California’s new governor, Jamie Bonilla, complained about noise.

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Bonilla’s brother lives across the street from the brewery, and the co-owner of the brewery said he never heard of any noise complaints until the city shut down the business. Bonilla contends the brewery lacks necessary permits, but the business disputes that.

Still, Saul said that a troubled business climate has not been his experience. He also credits Tijuana’s new mayor, Arturo González Cruz, with championing the Skyline project and helping the company work through the approval process.

Tijuana-based Cosmopolitan Group is heavily invested in the city with seven projects in different stages of construction.


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