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Gov’t closes sale of Comunidad Río Bayamón complex for $12M — half of asking price

The government of Puerto Rico has sold yet another property in its real estate portfolio, this time nearly 90 acres of land known as Comunidad Río Bayamón, this media outlet confirmed.

The property was listed for $25 million, but was sold for less than half of that, at $12 million, according to the information provided by real estate broker Christansen Commercial on its website.

The name of the buyer was not available as of press time, as the government is observing a local holiday and could not be reached for further transaction-related details.

The mixed-used property is separated into 19 individual parcels and located off State Road PR-177, next to the Jardines de Caparra Urban Train station. The development has infrastructure in place allowing for the construction of 2,888 Basic Living Units, 112,000 square feet of commercial space and 5,000 square feet of institutional-use space.

Investment in current infrastructure — including tennis courts and other recreational amenities — surpasses $80 million, according to the listing. The government was seeking $25 million for the property, which was appraised at $19.6 million last year.

The property is part of a portfolio of 15 real estate assets that were formerly under the now defunct Government Development Bank. The majority of the properties were acquired in exchange for a $150 million loan on Dec. 30, 2008, used by the central government to cover a portion of the FY2008-2009 deficit, according to the Fiscal Plan.

The Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority, or AAFAF as it is known for its initials in Spanish, has been aggressively clearing that portfolio, and so far has disposed of four properties at significant discounts.

Activity began in December 2017, when the government also sold the former “Codremar” property, located in San Juan, directly across from Paseo Caribe and next to the Club Naútico and Bahía Urbana on Fernández Juncos Avenue at the entrance to Old San Juan. It sold for $1.9 million, a significant discount from the $4.4 million appraisal value the government reported.

In May, it sold a commercial lot, known as the “former Sears property” in Hato Rey — held in the defunct Government Development Bank’s portfolio — for $11.6 million to a company created in March 2018 known as Puerta de San Juan, LLC. That company is presided by Jacobo Ortiz-Blanes, who also presides Las Brisas Property Management, which has an extensive list of commercial properties under management that includes Metro Office Park in Guaynabo, Monte Plaza and Monte Tower in Hato Rey, and the Caribe Building in San Juan.

Several attempts to reach the new property’s owners to confirm plans for the prime Hato Rey lot have been unsuccessful.

In October, another deal was closed for the five-acre lot formerly used as a parking facility for the Sagrado Corazón Urban Train station in Santurce, known as Parcel B, Santurce Sur Ward — located between Ponce de León and Muñoz Rivera Avenues.

It was listed for $6.5 million but was sold for $3.3 million. In 2017, the property had an appraisal value of $13.5 million, according to government records. The buyer was identified as Santurce Ambulatory Surgical Center Holding, a subsidiary of Puerto Rico ASC Holding, created in October 2018.

The incorporation documents for that company show that several of the people involved in the management of the new firm are familiar faces, namely Cyril L. Meduña, president and managing partner of Advent-Morro Equity Partners and Carlos Nido, film producer and Advent-Morro Equity Partners advisory board member.

The two executives have also coincided at GFR Media, the island’s largest media conglomerate and owners of El Nuevo Día newspaper. While Meduña is married to María Luisa Ferré-Rangel a high-ranking executive at GFR, Nido worked at the firm for 10 years until 2014. That connection has raised flags over potential preferential treatment in the transaction.

So far, the government has collected some $29.4 million from the transactions. Two other properties are currently under contract.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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