The Puerto Rico Ports Authority began looking at alternatives about a month ago to build a mega-yacht marina in the Isla Grande sector of San Juan, agency Executive Director Anthony Maceira told this media outlet.
The proposal would entail attracting Europeans who own such vessels — usually spanning 100 feet or more — to come to Puerto Rico during the winter months, he said.
“In Europe, the mega-yacht industry is very important. But when it gets cold over there, they have to move somewhere,” Maceira said, noting the plans are in a very preliminary stage.
Part of what the Ports Authority is pursuing is capturing that market that “during certain months of the year will need a place to arrive, and where better than Puerto Rico?,” he said.
While the exact location for the would-be marina has yet to be determined, one of the possible locations is Isla Grande, where a reshuffling and redevelopment is currently underway in several locations.
One of the largest projects announced early last month is the $15 million investment by America Cruise Ferries to develop Piers 15 and 16 at the San Juan port, where it will dock its Ferries del Caribe operation, as this media outlet reported.
While the design phase could take as long as six months “because engineers and architects have their hands full right now with recovery work. But once the design is completed, it’s on to formalizing the lease contract, which would be established for up to 20 years,” Maceira said.
Caribbean Ferries currently operates from Panamerican Pier II in Isla Grande, from where they make three trips a week to the neighboring island nation, moving some 110,000 passengers and 13,000 passenger vehicles annually.
But the Ports Authority is also seeking to increase cruise ship traffic, so reserving the Panamerican Pier I and II facilities just for that type of traffic fits into the formula. Eventually, a third pier could be added, Maceira said.
Meanwhile, Maceira confirmed that Crowley will extend its footprint at the Isla Grande sector by an additional three acres, for $75,000. They will cover the cost of preparing the land located adjacent to where it currently has a container holding facility near the southern tip of the islet.
That agreement is not long-term, as “Crowley knows that this is the Convention Center District and that there are economic development projects planned that could be incompatible with their operation. If that space is needed for any of them, they would move,” Maceira said.