The sudden expansion of Querétaro


From a city on the way to a metropolis; from agricultural to industrial vocation

In 1980, just five years before the 1985 earthquake ended up overflowing the capital’s migration to Querétaro, our city had ceased to be a territory surrounded by farmland and old haciendas, a town that was a simple passage between the old Tenochtitlán and the north of the country and had exchanged its agricultural vocation for the industrial one. Hand in hand with the arrival of new factories, the supply of housing and the occupation of formerly farmland, they began to distinguish a city that would never be the same again.

That 1980, in the second half of the 20th century, Querétaro had changed its population growth trend, which was lower than that of the rest of the country and had suffered, in a decade, a population increase of 148 percent, something totally unexpected for a society accustomed to peace and tranquility. At that time, Banamex had purchased the Jurica rural subdivision for 1.275 million pesos, with the additional intention of installing its national operations center there; Associated Civil Engineers, ICA, had developed, along with its industries, its eighty companies and its more than eighty thousand employees, an entire land purchase and urbanization project; and a company entirely from Querétaro: Casas Modernas de Querétaro, had built more than two thousand homes and put into operation almost twenty neighborhoods and subdivisions. In that year, 1980, thirteen million square meters of land were purchased with the purpose of allocating them to residential areas.

It was in the 1950s when Querétaro began its industrialization process, which had a significant boom in the following decade and reached greater expression in the 1970s. It is only worth mentioning that the 743 manufacturing industries that existed in the city in 1960, increased in number, by 1975, by more than 1,300, which represented an increase of 77 percent, while the rest of the country grew, in the same period, 17.2 percent. This phenomenon was necessarily linked to the transformation of farmland into new subdivisions, both residential, rural and popular in nature.

On the old highway to San Miguel de Allende (in the extension of what we know as Avenida Tecnológico) industries were installed that would mark the passage of the Querétaro of that time; “La Concordia”, textile factory; the El Fénix Mill, a flour mill; Singer, where sewing machines were made; Purina, animal food; and Nextlé, of a food nature, among others. With the construction of the Constitución Highway, the precursor of what we now call Avenida 5 de Febrero, the area began to be covered by the urban sprawl, and some of the traditional towns in the city’s surroundings were added to it, as was the case of Carrillo.

When this urban area of the city, in 1950, was 440 hectares, the real estate market, made up almost entirely of local investors, began the construction of various spaces for housing, taking advantage of the surrounding agricultural lands. This is how colonies such as Niño Héroes were born, in the west of the city, Cimatario, in the south, or Jardines de Querétaro, to the east. That decade also gave way to the appearance of the España and Casa Blanca colonies, in addition to the Country Club project, at the exit to Celaya and completely outside the city.

Some years later, in the mid-sixties of the last century, there was a massive takeover of ejidal lands, mainly in what is now known as Lomas de Casa Blanca, which had already had irregular settlements for years, the same as in San Pablo, Menchaca and Bolaños.

One of the fundamental companies for the urban development of Querétaro was, without a doubt, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados, the company known by its acronym ICA. The company, founded in 1947 and with Mr. Bernardo Quintana Arrioja as its leader, was not only responsible for the work on the new highway to Mexico and the founding of industrial parks, but also dedicated itself with special interest to real estate management, that only developed in the capital of Querétaro. ICA acquired a very large volume of land, formerly agricultural, and urbanized it. The data on this matter show that the company would have acquired something like 6 and a half million square meters of land in Querétaro for that purpose.

But despite its initial intention to build housing, ICA ended up establishing the sale of land as its main line of action in the matter, since it only built 28 houses in the various subdivisions that it offered since 1966.

Meanwhile, Juan José Torres Landa, who finished his term as governor of the neighboring state of Guanajuato in 1967, closed, barely a year later, the purchase of three million square meters of land from the former Jurica hacienda, property of the Urquiza family. The intention was, of course, to convert that important space near the Queretaro capital into a rural subdivision, but the property was encumbered with a decree of unaffectability. It took six years for the legal regularization and change of land use, and that was when Torres Landa formalized the sale of the project to Alberto Bustamante, of the company Incobusa.

In Jurica the idea of selling lots of 2,500 square meters was established, and to mobilize the market, 16 houses of 200 square meters were built; To these were added another eighty properties that were built after the purchase of the lots. Perhaps for this reason, among the people of Querétaro, the beardless people could be said to have hair in their beards like houses in Jurica: one here and another there.

At that time, almost in the middle of the seventies, a square meter in Jurica could sell for between 150 and 200 pesos. For four years, and with the Comercial Bustamante project and the Ocimex urbanization, the company purchased several adjacent properties, such as Mesón del Prado and Juriquilla, adding up to thirteen million square meters with lots of one thousand and 500 meters. squares.

After the possession of all this by the Liquidating Trust of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, Banamex acquired the property in 1980 and enriched the real estate project with the intention of establishing its corporate office in Jurica. The bank’s intention soon made an impact on Querétaro society, but just two years later, the President of the Republic, José López Portillo, announced in his last government report the nationalization of the bank. That Banamex plan, like many others, would have to be forgotten.

Later, the descendants of the former Guanajuato governor Juan José Torres Landa returned to their jurisdiction and returned the original idea to those lands, mainly in Juriquilla, where they developed an ambitious project that, sooner rather than later, achieved evident commercial success, transforming the northwestern area of Querétaro that, by then, had stopped being the quiet “inland” city it once was.

Source: Diario de Queretaro