Impact on Other Stations

A Growing Trend


When the Mexipuerto Ciudad Azteca station was under construction, the mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, became aware of the potential to improve the 47 CETRAMS located within Mexico City and reached out to PRODI. A few months later, he invited PRODI and other companies to participate in a public bidding to modernize four CETRAMS within the boundaries of Mexico City.

PRODI and IDEAL, again through COMURSA, won the right to redevelop the first CETRAM in Mexico City, El Rosario, which began construction in 2013. While other companies won the rights to other CETRAMs, PRODI and IDEAL were the only ones able to get their project successfully off the ground, in large part because they were the only group with relevant experience. After completing El Rosario, COMURSA moved on to a new CETRAM, Cuatro Caminos, located in the State of Mexico and one of the largest transfer stations in Latin America.

Under the subsequent mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera, the Mexico City government’s interest in improving CETRAMs through public-private partnerships further intensified, placing it at the top of its policy agenda. In 2014, the government re-launched its effort to modernize CETRAMs, putting an additional six of them up for bid for private companies to present re-development proposals: Constitución de 1917, Chapultepec, Martin Carrera, Tasqueña, Zaragoza, Observatorio, and Tacubaya.

As of 2017, construction had begun on only one project: Constitución de 1917. In addition to a shopping center, this project includes a children’s museum and a hotel. Other projects have not progressed, primarily due to various types of opposition. For example, the Chapultepec CETRAM, located in the heart of the Mexico City commercial center, was expected to include a 40-story office building. Activists and neighborhood organizations raised concerns about whether the city was getting enough in return for the perceived large gains to the private sector, arguing that the major real-estate project on public land would be accompanied by only minor improvements to the transportation system.

In the meantime, PRODI and IDEAL opened the first phase of Cuatro Caminos to the public in 2017. According to PRODI’s team, this project represents the latest evolution of the model pioneered in Ciudad Azteca and incorporates many of the lessons learned from previous experiences. According to Mr. Miguel, Cuatro Caminos features a design that has less parking, places greater emphasis on natural light and public spaces that improve the commuting experience, and technological and technical improvements aimed at making transfers more efficient. Additionally, the project is eventually expected to include rental housing, which would be a major step forward in integrating transportation and urban development in Mexico.

While improving transfer stations through PPPs has now become established practice in the MCMA, some wonder whether this model is excessively focused on commercial rents and the “travel and retail” model, neglecting opportunities to improve the public transportation system, public spaces, and housing provision. More broadly, the CETRAM projects to date have yet to explicitly leverage the potential to improve the wider neighborhoods within which they are located. As a result, their overall contribution to creating a more efficient and equitable metropolitan area remains limited.