There is a growing trend of transforming old houses into offices and commercial spaces in Carrasco.
There are fewer residential houses surrounding Carrasco’s main street. Most buildings are retail stores, restaurants, banks, real estate companies and travel agencies. Many of these companies tend to pull away from the traditional commercial areas to situate themselves in a unique and exclusive surrounding as Carrasco is.
The exponential growth in the last couple of years of this fashion is due to several factors. One of them is the incorporation of banks and exchange companies because of the population moving east of Montevideo. Another factor is the search of working spaces of higher quality: peace, quiet and proximity to green areas. The inauguration of the Carrasco Hotel in the near future has, without a doubt, strengthened this tendency and has created an enormous expectation.
The “Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial” (urban planning) that depends from the municipality plans to limit the commercial growth in order to preserve the architectural structure of the area. In the midst of the increase of the commercial activity in the old part of the neighborhood, the Commission of Punta Gorda and Carrasco, that depend from the municipality, ensures that ” the transformation is controlled”, said the architect Beatriz Vellano, responsible of the commission. The idea is to continue with the same style characteristic of the neighborhood. This is reflected in the care that must be put into the façades of the properties and the billboards and placement of vehicles. Besides, to maintain “certain special quality” it is intended that only one company is set per parcel, commented Vellano.
Despite these restrictions, the companies which are settled there and also the activities that take place there maintain a profile relating to the sophistication and serenity of Carrasco. The interior of the houses maintain their original features. The fireplaces are very common, as well as gardens and swimming pools. It is common to see clothing stores that display their clothes above the fireplaces and offices that have a view to gardens or swimming pools.
In the beginning the companies that bet on this place were very few; one of the first ones to settle in a majestic house on Arocena Avenue was Reebok. Nowadays, there are innumerable brand names that are located not only on the main avenue but also on the nearby streets. This generated a strong change in the gastronomy, it is normal to see office attired people in business lunches, something that was not as usual. Some restaurants that are icons in the area are García, Café Misterio and Clyde’s and there are some new ones such as Benicio and Café Martinez, all are busy at lunch time.
It is interesting to see how different types of business structures were generated. One can choose from an important brand name on the main avenue or others on the next streets such as Saez, Divina Comedia, Otero, Costa Rica and Schroeder.
Another option is the transformation of one house in various offices and spaces. This is the case of the house where Caro Criado is, in front of the Hotel Carrasco or with the same concept in a house next to a famous ice cream shop, where the shop of Valeria Capurro is located.
It is possible to choose houses that are farther from the main street. This is the case of areas that are slowly becoming relevant such as the area surrounded by Mantua, Acapulco and Figari. Is on these streets where we find the exclusive hotel Le Biblo, set in a historical house in a corner and in the next corner the offices of Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate. Recently, the house of interior design De Arcos has also settled in the area. Slowly this area is transforming in another exclusive commercial area of offices and other businesses that look for quieter areas than Arocena so their clients can park comfortably and enjoy the serenity that defines the neighborhood.
Another option is to choose new buildings projected exclusively for first class offices. These buildings offer all sorts of services and different space sizes without having to incur in renovations or costly modifications. This is the case of Stella Park, on Otero Street, half a block from Arocena, in front of the Stella Maris Church. It features 24 hours surveillance, latest technologies, parking space and more. With a similar concept but at the end of Arocena Avenue we find the recently inaugurated Arocena Park. In these two options one can rent the office space and doesn’t worry about anything else.
All of this growth has made possible the creation of Centro de Comercios de Carrasco, a nonprofit organization that groups businesses with the objective of making unified decisions that create an impact on the businesses themselves and their clientele and also to participate and support projects that will improve the neighborhood. The two projects that are being worked on are pertaining to the Rostand street boardwalk.
Carrasco stopped being a place that was away from the city for vacationing and became one of the most distinguished commercial areas of Montevideo. Caldeyro Victorica Real Estate supports this initiative of “working green” far away from stress and the city noise. They offer exclusive properties for business use.
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