A new listing has tongues wagging. Las Sirenas, a highly polished three-bedroom rental on Calle 54, is going for nearly a million bucks. Are we testing the limits of the market here? It’s not that large, but it’s centrally located and expertly designed top to bottom, with a harmonious mixture of contemporary and rustic details. But it’s competing with lots of beautiful properties priced in the $350,000 range.
If you want to kick the tires, you can rent it first for an off-season rate of $1,900 USD a week. I’ve heard from more than one admirer, and I agree, that the design is a knockout, one of the more tasteful, comprehensive and cohesive. It was designed and rebuilt by architect Fernando Ancona, who designed the mall at Altabrisa and the mod Audi dealership. “…This luxurious casa has been carefully furnished in classic Mexican style with lovely pieces of antique furniture and works of art by local artists,” says Tierra Yucatan. He carved out extra rooms by bisecting part of the space horizontally. You’re left with lower ceilings, losing drama, but gaining intimate spaces and three en suite bedrooms — a tradeoff to consider.
I have come to like casas like this that have a front and rear property, creating a central courtyard. This exposes more rooms to light and air, and makes the pool area feel more private. It took a while for me to come around to the idea of having to go outside to travel from one room to another. I’m finally embracing the elements — after all, what am I moving here for if not to enjoy the sun and air?
Looking at the Google Street View, one sees Las Sirenas’ facade before a fairly recent overhaul. It wasn’t so bad before, but now look. What’s new: Some beautiful trim work (note the uplights embedded in the sidewalk), as well as a garage. Knowing I’ll be wanting one installed, I tend to notice which other properties manage to succeed in adding space for their car.
Homes in the million-dollar range aren’t new to the Centro, but usually they are hotels and hacienda-style properties. It’s fun to browse the top tier of Mérida real estate and scoff at what appears to be a wishful thinking on the part of the seller. This one seems different, though, and tests not just the marketplace but the power of good design.
(Update: Five months after this writing, I notice it’s now listed at $895,00.)