Local Redevelopment Authority for Roosevelt Roads, known as LRA for short, announced Sunday that four entities to move on to the final round of the process to choose a master developer for the former naval base in Ceiba.
The four entities were selected among a group of eight, which filed a statement of qualifications last month for evaluation by the LRA board. At that time, the LRA received credentials form different countries, including the United States, Europe, Latin America and Puerto Rico.
Malu Blázquez-Arsuaga, executive director of the LRA said the Authority published a Request for Proposals on Aug. 29 targeted exclusively at the four entities that were pre-selected to participate in the last phase of the selection process for a master developer. The entities come from the U.S. mainland, Latin America and Puerto Rico.
“The four entities chosen by the selection committee have the experience, the financial resources and the conceptual vision of the redevelopment project that are consistent with the Master Plan and Land Use Plan of the LRA,” Blázquez-Arsuaga said.
“Each of these entities is interested in developing the totality of the nine zones that comprise the project at approximately 3,000 acres of land. As part of the RFP that was issued on August 29, 2014, these entities must now provide a more detailed proposal of their financial capabilities to initiate the development of Roosevelt Roads and elaborate more specific plans and timetables as to how and when they would be developing each of the nine zones of the master plan,” she said.
“Also, we will be evaluating their approach to community, environmental and economic sustainability for the project,” Blazquez-Arsuaga said.
The LRA has placed emphasis in ensuring that 20 percent of the housing developments that are undertaken will be dedicated to affordable housing, in providing employment opportunities to residents of the eastern region of Puerto Rico, particularly Ceiba and Naguabo, and requiring the inclusion of professionals and businesses from the local area, eastern region and Puerto Rico in the redevelopment project.
“The development of Roosevelt Roads is no longer a plan but rather a project that is being implemented as a hub of economic growth for the eastern region of Puerto Rico. It is one of our principal projects as part of our plan to drive the new economic transformation of Puerto Rico,” said Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó-Bagué. “The agility with which it is being steered will allow us to see further positive results in a matter of months.”
The four entities participating in the RFP have the due date of Nov. 21, 2014 to file their proposals. The LRA will later coordinate individual meetings with each of the four finalists to hear their presentations and, finally, the LRA will select a master developer by December 2014.
“After the lands and facilities were transferred to the LRA in May 2013, the LRA undertook a series of activities to spark life and community participation at our facilities, and to spur economic activity at Roosevelt Roads,” said Blázquez-Arsuaga.
For example, on May 15, 2013 the LRA established a new access plan to specific areas at Roosevelt Roads and the filming of the television series “Crossbones” took place beginning on September of that year, injecting more than $30 million to the economy of Puerto Rico.
Additionally, on May 13, 2014 the LRA issued an RFP for small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs. The LRA is currently preparing eight contracts for companies that will start operations by the last quarter of 2014.
“The LRA’s selection of the four entities that are moving on to the final round of the RFP process for master developers demonstrates that the redevelopment project is being driven at firm pace with activities that will benefit the economic and social fabric of the eastern region and Puerto Rico,” said Blázquez-Arsuaga.