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The Plaza Comercial Pino Suárez seems to undulate just south of Metro Pino Suarez. It can appear like a festival soundstage, or like a stacked pile of smaller street markets. The northern entrance, in fact, does often host musical events in the plaza caddy-corner from the Jardín San Miguel. It’s actually a giant marketplace, mostly for clothing, footwear, and fashion. On either side of the upper levels are a couple of terraces, including good places for coffee, but with seating shared among a few different smaller eateries.
Many of these commercial complexes were built, as is the case with Mexico City’s first markets, in an effort to clear the streets of informal vendors. This plaza is no exception. It came about in 1993 when the city built a few others, mostly in the Centro Histórico. At the time, many of the streets were impassable due to the puestos, and semi-permanent vendors, that bottlenecked traffic.
But the site of this plaza also makes it a monument. It’s not a point of pride that people are anxious to talk about, but it’s a point of great sorrow and loss.
Today, the Plaza Comercial Pino Suárez stands on the site of a former five-tower complex once known as the Pino Suárez Urban Complex (Conjunto Urbano Pino Suárez). The complex was built in 1970. Uncommon in Mexico City, it relied on steel frames to support five towers. These included three towers of 22 floors and two of 15. They shared three floors at the bottom and were integrated with the Metro station and a common commercial area. They were almost entirely occupied by government offices.
During the September 1985 earthquakes, one of the 22-floor towers collapsed on top of the shorter tower next to it. The resulting devastation caused many deaths and injuries. The three remaining towers all suffered irreparable damages. These were all demolished by the year’s end.
The debris had only recently been cleared when work began on the new Plaza Comercial Pino Suárez in 1993. Since then, it’s grown into the real anchor of something a fashion district in the center-south district of the Historic Center. It’s a more organized and sober experience than one might expect in the immediately surrounding plaza. It still gets crowded with people coming and going, buying and selling. Those who find an affinity for Mexican sizes will almost certainly appreciate the range of what’s available.
Don’t miss the other sites on the Plaza San Lucas, just east of the Plaza Comercial. These include the Santa María Magdelena Chapel and the original Chapel of San Lucas. And of course, the open sunken plaza of Metro Pino Suarez and the Temple of Ehécatl is visible from the front steps of the shopping center.