The Municipality of Guaynabo is setting aside $85 million to build a 200-room hotel adjacent to the Mario Quijote Morales Coliseum, Mayor Héctor O’Neill told this media outlet last week.
Two major hotel chains, Marriott and Holiday Inn Express, are competing to flag the property that will also house the town’s first casino, as well as retail space. O’Neill said the project should be ready by 2015.
“We’ll be awarding the winning bid this week, and it will either go to Marriott or Holiday Inn Express. We already have the developer in place, a stateside firm that has worked with these companies before to build their hotels,” O’Neill said. “The property should be ready in 30 to 32 months.”
The future hotel will be first large-scale one of its kind for the town that is also overseeing a massive $260 million redevelopment project in the city’s Amelia sector that, aside from drawing tourism activity to the waterfront area, also aims to mitigate the zone’s flooding and housing problems.
The Amelia Waterfront Project is a mixed-use complex that has been about 15 years in the making. Once finished — in about 10 years — the ambitious property spanning some 200 acress of land stretching to the shoreline and to the Cataño city limits will have some 380 social-interest homes, of which 200 have already been built.
The complex will also boast a 100 or 200-room hotel, an aquarium, an amphitheater, a boardwalk, recreational areas, kiosks for artisans, a fishing village, a boxing gym, a marina and ferry terminal to connect the area with the maritime terminal in Old San Juan and Hato Rey.The Amelia Waterfront Project
Regarding the housing component, O’Neill explained that the units will be divided into four townhouse-type projects to accommodate residents of nearby communities living on reclaimed land lacking appropriate infrastructure. In all, the Amelia Waterfront Project has required an investment of $15.1 million in infrastructure, he said.
“The project will have no walk-ups, because we have determined with the developers that that type of home is not what these residents need or want. It’s also more expensive to provide maintenance to these types of properties,” said O’Neill, of the project that is being developed with private investment as well as municipal funds.
According to the mayor, the Amelia Waterfront Project is part of the town’s planned tourism development and will be included in the Guaynabo tourism route that stretches from the rural-mountainous part of town anchored by La Marquesa Forest Park.