Hacienda, Ltd.

The "Before" shot.
The “Before” shot.

NEXT WEEK a construction project will begin here at the Hacienda.

We’ve had relatively minor construction projects in the past, but this will be far greater. We’re going to build a locale, which is what we Mexicans call storefronts.

Previous construction projects have included the carport for the Nissan, basically a concrete floor and a clay tile roof, much like what you see here, but smaller and behind the photographer, which was me. Another clay tile roof was built in what is now called the Garden Patio. It’s where most yard gear is kept, not visible here.

And then there was the stone and concrete that replaced the grass and dirt (mud) over a wide area just inside the entrance from the street. It’s called empedrado, and you see it here on the ground in the photo. I would like to remove all grass from the yard and replace it with empedrado. Maybe I will one day.

When we purchased the double lot that now houses the Hacienda, this portal in the photo was already in place. It was about the only thing here. We have used the left side to park the car, and the other side for not much of anything. That is going to change, big-time. That’s where the storefront will be.

The street runs parallel to the wall at the right. From the left brick column, next to the Honda, a wall will be built back to the rear wall. And from that same brick column, another wall will be constructed, going right, until it connects with the wall that runs parallel to the street.

All of which is to say that everything will be enclosed except where the Honda sits. On the far right, extending out from the roofed area, a half-bath will be built over a septic tank that will be dug.

On the roof of the bathroom will sit a large water tank that will be fed from the street.

The inside will be stuccoed. Fluorescent lighting and six wall plugs, plus switches will be installed. The floor will be covered with another level of cement and ceramic tile will be laid. Lovely interior paint will go all around.

According to the builder, this will take four to six weeks total.

The cost — labor and material — for all that I have mentioned (plus some other, piddling details around the Hacienda) will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000. When all is done, another $850, more or less, will be paid to purchase and install what’s called a cortina — a curtain — a wide steel door that slides down and up to provide a spacious entry from the street. Thousands of customers will flood through.

Customers for what? That’s a good question. I have no interest in renting it. Don’t need the money and dealing with tenants likely would be a headache. Maybe my child bride will open a pastry shop one day. The storefront will join the downtown Casita as an income source for her in the distant future after I die.

It’s an investment. We’re on the main drag of our neighborhood.

As the work progresses, I’ll post updates. It’ll be fun.

* * * *

(Note: I will be taking periodic photos of the work’s progress, and they will be posted in sequence right here.)

17 thoughts on “Hacienda, Ltd.

    1. Charles: Funny you should mention the sex motel next door. For years, we have thought a good business for the locale would be a sex shop. Oils, latex, incense, candles, whips, handcuffs, crotch-less panties, fur…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ah, the FUN of building a Mexican storefront. (We did 2 of them.) I remember them well. Do yourself a favor, Felipe, and let your bride handle most of it. Dealing with Mexican contractors and government officials/agencies for electricity and water can drive you mad. (It did for me anyway.)
    Can’t wait to see the photo updates though. 🙂 Take care



    1. Mike: When it comes to asking for prices, I let her do the asking. It is, as you note, wiser. It’s also wiser to not hire anyone who has ever been in the U.S. due to that skewing their notions of prices. And if they speak English, it’s even worse. We only hire folks who’ve kept on this side of the border.

      As for government officials and agencies, we’ll just be diverting from our current water supply here inside the Hacienda property. Electricity will one day be on a separate meter, but that won’t happen until we rent the place, which won’t likely be in my lifetime, or open our own business, which likely won’t happen in my lifetime either. Setting up the separate electric service is easy, just a matter of going to the electricity company. Even when we built the Hacienda 12 years ago, we never had any of the trouble you mention.


  2. You are a good husband, to provide income for your wife when you are no longer around. We have been trying to decide how much longer we will live, and if it makes sense to buy in Mexico.


    1. Bonnie: If I were to die at the age my father died, which is to say in just five more years, my wife would be 59 and so far in superlative health. Though she was a government civil engineer, that kind of job is now firmly in the past. She could not get it, and she wouldn’t want it anyway. We have investments that likely will tide her along fairly well, but I still worry, which is one reason we rarely travel. Travel is fun, but it’s totally burning money. We have two houses and the Mexico City apartment, all paid for. And now we’ll have this storefront.

      She has an incredible business sense, and loves business, which is good.


    2. PS: You’re trying to decide how much longer you’ll live? How does one do that, unless suicide is on the table? As for buying a house, I certainly recommend it. It’s fun.


  3. What?!? No pastry shop?!? As I was reading this post, I just assumed that a pastry shop was the next logical step in La Guapa Señora’s Imperio de Pan Dulce. It’s very hard to imagine why that isn’t the next step. She’s not even going to try?


    Kim G
    Boston, Ma
    Where the city would never allow such a thing. Pity.


    1. Kim: We live in a very “blue-collar” neighborhood, as you may recall. I doubt pastries would be a success here due to the necessary prices. What likely would be a hit, and what probably will happen in time, either from us or contracted out, is a low-end panadería that would focus primarily on basic bollos, which most everybody eats. Another possibility is a tortilla place, but there is already one three blocks down the street.


      1. Well, maybe you should run an Oxxo knockoff. Maybe you could call it Noxxo (“no oxxo,” pronounced just like “no, hombre”) just to be cute. Three thousand feet of overpriced junk food, drinks, cigarettes, and coffee seems to be a terrific business model.

        If you’re not even planning to use the space, why build it now?


        1. Kim: We’re doing it for the same reason we bought the downtown casita a few years ago: an investment. I hope it’s something that will come in handy for my wife in the future.

          Apart from that, it’s going to be fun building it. We’re going to install a copper sink in the john, and God knows what else.


          1. You know, Felipe, having given it a smidgen more thought, I think there are much more fun investments out there. Why not open a competitor to the hot sheets motel? And you could put the sex shop in the lobby. Now THAT would be a fun investment. Saludos.


            1. Kim: Were we to compete with the sex motel, we would lose. We have space only for two very small cribs, plus there would be just one shared bathroom, and it will have only a sink and toilet. No place to wash off completely after, well, you know. And we have been inside the sex motel next door. We sneaked up into one of the rooms when nobody was paying attention one day as the construction neared completion. It’s a very nice place, spacious, nice appointments.

              So, your idea won’t fly, but thanks anyway.


  4. I suggest a fabric store with a line of sewing machines. Material doesn’t go bad like food stuffs. And women always come back for more supplies.


    1. Señor Gill: That’s not a bad idea and, of course, non-perishables are always best. I think people who open flower shops have a death wish. We have, in addition to bread, thought of cold cuts. The locals are big on cold cuts and they have a pretty long shelf date.

      Interestingly, old-timey sewing machines, like the ones my grandmother used, the ones that you rock a pedal up and down with your feet to provide power, are still sold here. And they are new! I like old sewing machines, and we have an antique one sitting on a small table in our downstairs hallway.


      1. For a woman, fabric stores work. Ladies get hooked on sewing; it is like a drug to some of them.
        For a man, plumbing supplies and hardware stores are best. Plumbing fixtures never spoil. If they don’t sell, just keep marking them up to keep up with inflation.


        1. Señor Gill: An odd practice in Mexico is that many businesses jack up prices every January. Why? Because they’ve always done it. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with economics. The reason is just because it’s January. It’s very annoying.


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