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A nearly $11M investment funds reconstruction of Baños de Coamo Hotel

A $3.9 million allocation from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) is being invested for the reconstruction of the Hotel Baños de Coamo in Puerto Rico after the lodging facility suffered substantial damage during the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi; Land Authority Executive Director Dalcia Lebrón; the executive director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3), Manuel Laboy; Coamo Mayor Juan Carlos García Padilla; and other officials made the announcement Tuesday at the hotel.

“Los Baños de Coamo is a natural spa that has been visited by residents and visitors for decades due to its natural healing waters,” the governor said. 

The governor stressed that, for his administration and the municipality of Coamo, it is essential to restore the hotel after the damages inflicted by Hurricane Maria.

The project will include improvements to various areas of the hotel complex, comprising four buildings with 48 guest units, gazebos and a central courtyard. Other works include retrofitting the electrical and plumbing infrastructure, making structural improvements to the buildings, and installing new air conditioning systems and windows.

“Aimed at making the facilities more resilient to future natural disasters, mitigation measures will be included,” Pierluisi assured. “Improvements to the roofs, to make them more resilient to hurricane-force winds, and wind retrofitting will also be incorporated.”

Of the $3.9 million allocated, the Lands Authority has already received $899,000 from the Working Capital Advance (WCA) program, which has enabled work to begin. 

“The remodeling of Hotel Baños de Coamo will have a significant impact on local tourism and the economy of the entire region,” the governor said. “We will ensure that this inn regains its splendor and honors this natural phenomenon that we are so proud of, where thousands of people come to enjoy the thermal waters and learn about the history and culture of Puerto Rico.”

Lebrón said the second phase of the hotel’s reconstruction will involve a $7 million private investment from Coamo Springs Investment LLC. The first phase should be completed by August 2024, and the second phase should be finished by the end of 2025.

“The reconstruction and modernization of our infrastructure is the foundation for the future of Puerto Rico,” the governor said. “Los Baños de Coamo is a natural spa that has been visited by residents and visitors for centuries due to its healing thermal waters. That is why, for our administration, as well as for the Municipality of Coamo and all the communities around it, it is essential to rebuild, modernize and preserve the hotel in this important historical and tourist site, amid the damages it suffered after Hurricane Maria.”

The historic lodging, which began operations in the mid-19th century, currently has three buildings with 36 rooms. After the construction of an additional building, the guest unit count will increase to 48.

Mitigation measures will be implemented as part of the funding allocation, making the roofs, windows, doors, fences and air conditioning systems resistant to hurricane-force winds, and installing storm shutters.

Lebrón added that the “investment, in addition to generating significant economic activity in the region, will bring back a natural tourist attraction that, together with the thermal water facilities in the municipality of Coamo, provides a unique offering in Puerto Rico.”

“The thermal pools of Los Baños de Coamo present a potential for internal and external tourism development that will benefit the region and Puerto Rico as a whole,” Lebrón added.

The Land Authority will be able to request another 25% advance through the WCA as the project progresses.

Meanwhile, FEMA’s deputy disaster recovery coordinator, Andrés García-Martinó, said the “start of the works to rebuild Hotel Los Baños de Coamo is undoubtedly great news for the people of Coamo and its visitors.” 

“The agency celebrates this milestone as another achievement in the reconstruction process of Puerto Rico,” García-Martinó said. “With nearly $81.4 million for over 170 projects aimed at the recovery of the municipality, our team will continue supporting Coamo until they complete their last project.”

In 2015, the Land Authority acquired the property and signed a lease and development contract with the Municipality of Coamo. However, after the damages caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the municipality allowed the agency to consider other proposals for the development of the reconstruction works.

Author Details
Author Details
Maria Miranda is an investigative reporter and editor with 20 years of experience in Puerto Rico’s English-language newspapers. In that capacity, she has worked on long-term projects and has covered breaking news under strict deadlines. She is proficient at mining data from public databases and interviewing people (both public figures and private sector individuals). She is also a translator, and has edited and translated an economy book on Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. She worked as an interpreter for FEMA during the recent recovery efforts of Hurricane María and earned her FEMA badge.

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