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Tres Santos Project Starts this Summer

Date Published:

Tres Santos is a multimillion-dollar, 1,000-acre community planned for the historical Todos Santos fishing village north of Cabo San Lucas. The project is set to start construction this summer with completion of the first phase scheduled for fall 2016.

The first phase will include 96 residential units throughout Tres Santos (1,635 homes will eventually be built), and one boutique hotel planned for the Beach Village section of the project.

The Tres Santos community “will embrace local art, culture, agriculture and natural beauty in a meaningful way,” according to developer Jimmy Mulvihill, chairman of Mexico-based MIRA Cos. and founding partner of Denver-based Black Creek Capital.

The pedestrian-friendly community will offer a town farm centered on organic gardening, a beach area, a hillside residential development with several boutique hotels, residential units, farm-to-table restaurants, arts and crafts galleries, a specialty market and an international research and education center for Colorado State University.

Mulvihill envisions Tres Santos as “the ultimate escape for those seeking a wellness getaway and a holistic lifestyle. Today’s travelers and home buyers are increasingly looking to visit and live in communities that offer a sense of place, that are inclusive and walkable and promote a healthy and low-stress lifestyle,” he said.

However not everyone is thrilled at the prospect of another large scale development in the Baja.

In an email addressed to CSU administration, Susana Mahieux, a co-founder of an environmental board and a Todos Santos local, wrote on behalf of residents and raised many concerns about the environmental and economic impacts of the housing development along with CSU’s involvement with the project.

“It is hard to understand how, through your participation, you can support this project, especially given that your course outline includes water conservation, sustainable development and general ecological balance. Tres Santos will negate every principle you propose to teach,” Mahieux wrote.

Leticia Maldonado, a CSU graduate and president of the CSU Latin American Students and Scholars Organization, was sent by CSU to Todos Santos to gather community input earlier this year.

Maldonado said she was surprised by the negative feedback she received from the community and the involvement of MIRA. Maldonado left a meeting with the developers feeling disheartened by their plans.

“I was very disappointed by the type of language that was used,” Maldonado said. “It was clear that there was no cultural competence. I was the only woman of color in a room full of white people talking about the needs of this town and it was really concerning because it didn’t really seem like the people understood what the concerns of the town actually were.”

Along with meeting the housing developers, Maldonado also met with local researchers and professors from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, who were very critical of CSU and the school’s involvement with the potentially damaging housing project.

“There was clear opposition to the project. They said as an institution of higher education, ‘You should know better.’ These companies come and they exploit and extract resources from the town, especially water,” Maldonado said. “They said, ‘You are educators, too, why aren’t you taking this seriously?”

Even without the housing project, Todos Santos already faces severe water problems, according to John McNerney, a resident of Todos Santos and member of the local group that sent the email to CSU administration.

“The idea that they are going to teach us about sustainability is kind of a joke,” McNerney said.

Local delegate Arturo Martinez Villalobos has now added his thoughts to the debate.

The official confirmed that he held meetings "with people of Tres Santos",  and assured that he had made them see the sense of the fears local people have of it becoming another resort Los Cabos style.

"I told them the development was welcome, but it had to be sustainable development, development that harmonized with the people […] not another Cabo San Lucas [...] They [MIRA Companies] have some permissions [Profepa], but we will be vigilant that things are done right."

Some locals have already made complaints of damage to mangroves in the Punta Lobos area.

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