A Puerto Rican will lead the team that will manage the operations of El Distrito, the main entertainment complex in Puerto Rico, currently under construction in the Convention Center District in Miramar, project developer CEO Federico Stubbe, Jr., said.
The head of PRISA Group, one of the partners developing the $125 million complex along with McConnell Valdés Consulting and the Convention Center District Authority, confirmed the designation of Abelardo Ruiz as general manager of The District facility.
“Having a team led by Puerto Ricans was a valuable consideration from the beginning. The District is a complex designed to highlight and live the Puerto Rican flavor, what we like and what unites us,” Stubbe said.
“To achieve that, we needed professionals who understood, lived and felt the Puerto Rican spirit and culture,” said Stubbe, also announcing the appointment of Mónica Cabrera as director of sales and marketing.
“For us it is a satisfaction to have the experience of Abelardo and Mónica, two outstanding professionals in the industry,” said Stubbe.
“Their skills and knowledge will provide everything The District requires to begin operations successfully. We are sure that both will help in the process of providing a truly Puerto Rican experience to all who visit The District,” he said.
Ruiz is a well-known professional in the area of operations, with 31 years of experience. Prior to his appointment, he served as CEO of Eat Here Brands, responsible for the positioning and growth of two concepts; Babalu and Table 100.
Internationally, he was COO of Famous Dave’s of America, responsible for the strategic development and operations of corporate units and franchises in the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.
“Abelardo has extensive knowledge of the local market because he served as COO of the Colón Gerena Group. He also brings to The District a solid experience in the area of restaurant and entertainment center operations,” said Stubbe.
Meanwhile, Cabrera brings to The District experience as director of sales and marketing at the Dorado Beach Resort & Club where she was responsible for a significant increase in property recognition in national and international markets for more than a decade.
“Monica’s strategic capacity to identify opportunities and develop business, as well as her experience in event management, will be instrumental in The District’s growth, especially in efforts to position it as Puerto Rico’s main entertainment center,” he said.
Among its attractions, The District will have an entertainment venue with capacity for 6,000 people, eight movie theaters operated by Caribbean Cinemas, a 177-room hotel, under the banner of Aloft Hotels — developed jointly with Caribe Hospitality — and a central square which will offer multi-sensory, audiovisual and technologically advanced experiences.
It will also have an urban zip line operated by Toro Verde, a variety of restaurants, and a children’s play area, among other amenities, Stubbe said.
“All commercial spaces have been conceptualized and developed by Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, which guarantees an experience with local flavor and a significant impact on the economy,” said Stubbe.
The District already has already leased the majority of the spaces available and the developers will “soon make several important announcements” related to that activity, he said.
The project is predicted to generate 2,075 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase. It is estimated that once in operations in the first quarter of 2020, The District will generate about 1,000 direct jobs.
“The project is going full steam and we are already entering its final stages of construction. The concepts of entertainment are already developed, and we’re planning the opening for the first quarter of 2020,” Stubbe said.