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Group tries to stop Coppel store

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

As they did in the McDonald’s case, the Protege San Miguel group—which has the goal of preserving the tangible heritage of the Historic Center—called upon Mayor Mauricio Trejo, representatives of Coppel (a store under construction located on calle Codo) andthe National Institute of Anthropology and History, represented by Arturo Balandrano, for an explanation as to why they granted the permits for the construction and opening of the store.

Edgar Bautista, head of the Urban Development Department, attended to the meeting as representative of Mayor Mauricio Trejo. He mentioned that the city council granted the permits for the Coppel store located on Insurgentes in July 2010 and in 2012 the company started the process to get permits to open a department store on calle Codo. “And they fulfilled all the requirements,” he said. Bautista also made it clear that the company wanted to open a bigger store to both display and store furniture, but the city council only authorized the construction of 1,300 square meters and restricted the use to the display of furniture, with all purchases being brought in from Celaya to the customers.

Napoleón Negrete, legal representative of Protege San Miguel, said that there are several federal, state and local regulations that protect the historic center against this kind of construction as well as franchises. He said that after San Miguel was named a World Heritage City, the ICOMOS recommended the preservation of the historic center as a residential zone and said that it should not be saturated with stores. The ICOMOS also recommended stores that were relevant to the main activities of the city. Negrete also commented that the historic center should be preserved as a pedestrian zone.

The legal representative of the group said that they are against the construction and opening of the store in this area because it will negatively impact small businesses and in addition it will generate traffic in the area.

Protege San Miguel asked the INAH and the representative of the local government to cancel the opening of the store; the group also asked for more participation by the INAH and the extension of the area considered the Historic Center. They also proposed the construction of a cultural center on the site where the Coppel store is being built.

Arturo Balandrano explained that the INAH is in charge of preserving the integrity of the archeological zones and the architecture constructed before the 19th century. He made it clear that the building on Codo dated from the 20th century and besides, he said, the construction is not located within the Historic Monuments zone. Balandrano remarked that the INAH only recommended to Coppel to respect the architecture and colors of the area, and not construct a building higher than five meters.

Finally, Balandrano offered Protege San Miguel the opportunity to hold a meeting with the representatives of Coppel, the local authorities and the group in order to agree the best use of the area under construction.

In response to former mayor Lucy Núñez, who said that there had probably not been any environmental and traffic impact studies,  Edgar Bautista assured that the studies exist and that they can be consulted in the Urban Development Department.

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