A private megaproject worth over 23 billion pesos, assisted by the Government of the Federal District (GFD) is being developed in the last remains of the southern district of the Pedregal of Mexico City. This happens in spite of a judicial warrant that prohibits the construction, as there allegedly are three owners fight for these 71 hectares.
Businessmen and co-proprietors are disputing the property of Los Encinos: 71 hectares in the south of Mexico City. This plot is meant to be become the so-called City of Knowledge, Campus Biometropolis (Ciudad del Conocimiento, Campus Biometrópolis), a megaproject of 23,256 million pesos. Nevertheless that the judicial warrant compels the Frisa Group to refrain from constructing on a land in dispute until it is resolved according to the law-and the Government of the Federal District (GFD) to suspend any type of authorization, license, permit or any other act that would have granted, or pretends to grant the Frisa Group the right to develop Biometropolis-, the project is not backed down, warns the city government.
A judicial resolution compels the Frisa Group and the Government of the Federal District from starting the construction of the City of Knowledge, Campus Biometropolis.
Nonetheless the latter, Felipe de Jesús Gutiérrez Gutiérrez, Secretary of Urban Development and Housing of the Federal District, informed that there no turning back in this project. The owners of the buildings hare evaluating the characteristics and the proper moment to do promote it, revealed after the announcement of the international forum The big urban Transformation, the Airport and the City, held on the past 7th of September.
In an interview to Contralínea indicates: “My declaration was simply in the sense that we are dealing with private project, and as far as I am aware, the promoters remain with the paperwork, but not as a project that is financed nor promoted by the city government.
He adds that “[he] knows that there are some definition, for example in the Secretariat of the Environment, for whom this area was declared at its environmental value for the presence of lava caves, an agreement with the [National Autonomous] University [of Mexico], but it is not a public project, it is not from the city government. My statement was simply in the sense that we have knowledge that the owners have [the project] active”.
Since it was presented in 2008, during the Science and Innovation Week, the private megaproject remains on hold. Businessmen and co-proprietors are disputing the ownership on that land where they pretend to build the City of Knowledge, Campus Biometropolis.
The propriety of Los Encino of 71 hectares is located south of Mexico City, in the Municipality of Tlalpan. It lies contiguously to the headquarters of Television Azteca, the Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences, the National Pedagogic University, the publishing house Fondo de Cultura Económica (Fund of Economic Culture), the Colegio de México, the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, and the residential unit of Emilio Portes Gil, usually known as Pemex.
Due to its location it has a high commercial value and it is constantly under siege. “In the area the square meter is sold at 30 thousand pesos”, it is said.
Nonetheless that the judicial venue has not defined yet who the legitimate owner is, the city government recognizes the Frisa Group as the sole owner of the building.
-Are you aware that the land is under dispute?-the Secretary of Urban Development of the Capital City is being asked in an interview.
-I suppose it is. I suppose. There are series of documents that certify the current owners, but I understand that there is a historic controversial background, of which the city government is not involved.
The historical controversy
The judicial warrant under the file TUA 353/2010 compels the head the government of the Federal District to suspend any type of endorsement, license, permits or any other type of acts that have been granted or could be granted to Frisa, Inmobiliaria Frisa, SA, or any successor in law of it, may it be a natural or juridical person, to develop Biometropolis.
The document also orders the Frisa Group to refrain from constructing on the land under dispute until it is resolved as the law refers. In the event of non-compliance with the aforementioned suspension, a penalization of up to 120 days of minimal wage applied in the city.
The ruling, ratified on the 6th of March 2013 derives from the case of the restitution of the property promoted by the Agricultural Community of Magdalena Contreras before the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal.
According to Carlos Elías Butrón, historical assessor and attorney of the Community, in the Codex of Techiloyan, dated in 1532, authenticated by the authorities of the General Archive of the Nation, asserts that the 1,799 co-proprietors registered are the legitimate owners of the 71 hectares that make up Los Encinos.
Besides of the Community, José Ángel Romero Morales; Cosme and Alberto Torrado, Victor González Avelar and the Operating Company of Bosques de San Nicolás, represented by Victor González Avelar and Héctor Sánchez Palacio, keep up a fight in the courts against the Frisa Group for the property of Los Encinos.
Romero Morales filed a lawsuit before the Attorney General’s Office of the Federal District in 2012 against the real estate company El Encino SA de CV, and against whom may result responsible for the offense of procedural fraud.
Romero Morales demands the restitution of the building with the plot 4145 and the area of 24 thousand square meters or the payment of its current value.
According to Romero Morales, Mrs. Adelina Rivera Torres, widow of Díaz, handed over the area of land under Trusteeship to the Banco Mercantil del Norte, Financial Group, Institución de Banca Múltiple (Multi-purpose Banking Institution) under the public deed No. 70387, dated on the 4th of July 1973.
In accordance with the denouncement of facts presented, by constituting the trusteeship the contracting parties located the lands in the Municipality of Gustavo A. Madero (where it is not), and when extinguishing the trusteeship they changed the location to now place it in the Municipality of Tlalpan, as it is mentioned in the notarial deed No. 111364, submitted to the Public Property Register on the 27th of July 2001.
“The Real Estate Company El Encino, SA de CV, willfully attributes itself the property of the land without showing any public document, adducing that the latter is part of another land of major extension, with a total area of 93,399 square meters and 71 square decimeters.” (sic)
That operation was endorsed before the notary No. 116 of the Federal District Ignacio Morales Lechuga, denounces Romero Morales, who was Attorney General of the Republic and Ambassador of Mexico to France during the former government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
As can be read in the denouncement of facts, the alleged responsible ones of the fraud are the attorneys in fact of the real estate company El Encino SA de CV, Luis Javier Zepeda Vázquez, Edgar Porras Hernández and Enrique Zepeda Trujillo, who accused in a lawsuit Romero Morales of the dispossession of the land referred in 1990.
Given the fact that Romero certified the property of the building on the 14th of December 1990 he was declared free, as there was a lack of the proof of the offense accused.
Victor González Avelar, as the legal representative of the real estate company Estrella del Pedregal, SA de CV, sued in 2011 the real estate company Inmobiliaria El Encino in a regular civil proceeding.
Throughout the document presented to the High Court of Justice of the Federal District, González Avelar requested to be declared and confirmed by the judicial resolution and firm sentence that Inmobiliaria Estrella del Pedregal is the sole owner and titleholder of the property of the building located at Periférico Sur No. 4111, with an extension of 24 thousand square meters, and that the absolute nullity of the public Deed No. 111364 shall be declared, dated on the 12th of June 2001.
In the deed González Avelar affirms that he bought Grupo Cav, SA de CV (then a property of José Ángel Romero, who himself bought the property to Compañía Explotadora de Bosques de San Nicolás and throughout a positive prescription judgement that settled the acquisition), and claims to rely on the Public Deed No. 58,658 dated on the 7th of May 1991, that accounts him as the legitimate owner.
Thereby he demands the payment of a monthly rent calculated since that date of presentation of the lawsuit and until he has received the material possession.
By giving the reason the 10th Civil Chamber of the High Court of Justice of the Federal District to the brothers Rivera Torres, González Avelar requested an amparo lawsuit against the sentence passed No. 786/2011/3, and on the 15th of November 2012 the judicial protection was granted.
This fact leaves groundless the sentence claimed by González Avelar and compels the judicial authorities to revise the grievances denounced at first.
One owner, for the GFD
-Who does the Government of the Federal District recognizes as an owner?
-There are documents that define in those previous proceedings made who the owners are, who certified their property at that moment. But if they have a dispute on this topic it is an issue between third parties, between private individuals.
-Are you going to take any position with regard to this dispute?
-No, we won’t take any position. It is a matter between private individuals. The government does not intervene in it.
On the 1st of December 2009 the capital city government, as well as Salvador Río de la Loza Castillo, Carlos Allegre Bobolla and the Gaspar Brothers, Alberto and Alejandro Rivera Torres Prado signed an agreement to develop the project of protection and ecological safeguard, as well as the creation of the Campus of Biometropolis.
Despite that in the document the Frisa Group is not mentioned, throughout the Gazette dated on the same day, this company has been awarded “the development and implementation” (sic) of Biometropolis.
“With this decision we are acting with great social and environmental responsibility”, assured Gaspar Rivera Torres Pardo, president of Frisa on the 1st of December 2009, after the ceremony where the signing of the document was held.
The FrisaGroup is a real estate conglomerate dedicated to the commercial, industrial, housing and tourism sector. Among its project are the Shopping Mall Mundo E and Magnocentro, located at Satélite and Interlomas respectively, in the State of Mexico, and 33 other shopping malls.
Elva Mendoza, @elva_contra
(Translated by: Axel Plasa)
Contralínea 458 / del 12 al 18 de Octurbe 2015
Mexico City: The Biometropolis Project is revived despite dispute over landownership