Gov’t: New construction boosting Puerto Rico’s economy
Several large-scale construction projects are expected to inject more than $1 million into the island’s economy, along with thousands of jobs, government officials said Tuesday.
Last week, Nicholas Prouty, CEO of Putnam Bridge, announced the firm’s plan to begin construction on the third phase of Ciudadela, a mixed-used development in the heart of Santurce, which joined a growing list of other large-scale investments in Puerto Rico by stateside investment firms such as Putnam Bridge, Paulson & Co and The Encanto Group.
Ciudadela is a $108 million endeavor that will create more than 1,000 construction jobs. When complete, the mixed-use development will include a $6 million public park, 252 state-of-the-art apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail space in a beautiful area currently underutilized.
“Developments like Ciudadela are creating sustainable communities in Puerto Rico, with reliable public transportation and first-class amenities. The demand for these units in walkable and culturally-rich areas like Santurce is strong, evident by the fact that nearly all of the units in another Putnam Bridge development on the island have already sold out, even before the project has been completed,” Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó said.
“Puerto Rico’s five-year economic plan is contingent on innovative investments, both public and private,” he said. “Development projects like Ciudadela demonstrate the growing demand for high quality residential properties and a high-standard of urban living. I am looking forward to continuing work with Putnam Bridge and welcome other firms to develop our beautiful and unique island.”
The announcement marked a milestone in the redevelopment of Puerto Rico that will create jobs and spur economic growth, he said.
Recent application numbers indicate that nearly 400 firms are looking to move operations to Puerto Rico. Through a number of major infrastructure projects, Puerto Rico is quickly growing its world-class tourism industry and expanding its service economy.
The list of other infrastructure projects in the pipeline includes:
- Earlier this year, Puerto Rico announced a $2 billion investment opportunity for the former U.S. Naval base Roosevelt Roads. Located in Ceiba on 3,000 acres of waterfront property, it is an ideal location to develop new tourism, commercial, recreational and educational attractions. The Local Redevelopment Authority is currently reviewing qualifications submitted by eight major developers from the United States mainland, Europe, Latin America and Puerto Rico.
- Puerto Rico is expected to announce an opportunity for investment in the Port of the Americas, located in Ponce. With access to both North and South America, it is well-positioned to emerge as a major shipping hub and has undergone significant improvements over the past decade. Through a multi-phase expansion project, the port now has the deepest channel in the Caribbean; capable of accommodating 1.5M TEU’s per year and effectively serving the world’s largest shipping vessels. That project has been in suspense mode for several years, while other countries have stepped up efforts to become regional shipping hubs.
- In April of 2014, Puerto Rico also announced a $17 million investment in broadband to provide ultra-high-speed Internet. The technology infrastructure supports less traditional, but growing industries such as creative and knowledge services, including small businesses and entrepreneurs, which are key growth targets for the Commonwealth’s economic development plan.
“2014 has been an exciting year for Puerto Rico,” said Baco. “There have been several major announcements from tourism, to aerospace and biotech, to residential and commercial development.”
“By actively improving our infrastructure and continuing to draw outside investment, Puerto Rico is projected to add nearly 140,000 jobs by the end of 2017, potentially adding $11 billion to the Commonwealth’s GDP and generating $350-500 million in additional tax revenue,” he said.