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Empresas Caparra unveils $12M redevelopment of former Kmart space

The operators of the San Patricio Plaza mall in Guaynabo, Empresas Caparra, unveiled plans for a $12 million redevelopment project of the space formerly occupied by Kmart, which will become The Square @ San Patricio Plaza.

The project that will begin in January 2020, will convert 87,000 square feet into an area combining retail, dining and entertainment, Empresas Caparra President Adolfo “Tito” González said.

The project will begin with a first phase of 14,500 square-feet of stores located in the main hall of San Patricio Plaza, followed by the construction of the second phase of 45,000 square-feet of outdoor space between Bed, Bath & Beyond and the southwest entrance.

That leaves 60,000 square-feet of space for commercial activity, while the rest will be reserved for open spaces. The construction project will generate 150 jobs. The first new stores will open during the last quarter of 2020, when between 400 and 500 full- and part-time jobs will be created.

“As part of the transformation of San Patricio Plaza, we give way to this great project, which fills us with enthusiasm, and that will certainly transform the experience of a shopping center to a unique place that will stand out for creating memorable experiences for our guests, while we increase the variety of our offer,” González said.

As part of a the renewed vision that follows the trend established by the busiest malls throughout the U.S. mainland and Latin America, Empresas Caparra will create an outdoor space consisting of local and national stores, restaurants, permanent exhibition spaces, an event space, all surrounded by LED monitors, fountains, and tropical landscaping.

“We know there’s a great evolution taking place at shopping centers, because of changes in consumer habits such as online shopping, that are happening everyday and for which we have to adapt,” González said. “We don’t sell a product, we sell and experience and we have to offer the best experience possible.”

The Square @ San Patricio Plaza will be fully integrated to San Patricio Plaza, offering multiple options for guests and tenants looking to reach consumers directly in a “comfortable, modern and cozy environment.”

“The idea is to make this a place with nightlife, besides retail. We want to convert San Patricio Plaza into a hybrid indoor/outdoor space with an area for events,” González said.

In the long-term, Empresas Caparra also envisions its San Patricio Village complex becoming a mixed-use district to cater to the surrounding community comprising housing, businesses and offices, González said.

The design team is composed of RSP Architects and Carrerá and Associates. The source of financing is private banking and the work will be carried out without affecting San Patricio Plaza’s day-to-day operations.

In recent months, Empresas Caparra has overseen the arrival of a number of new tenants into the San Patricio Plaza mall, including Starbucks, Bakers, Parfois — a Portuguese concept that is making its local debut, said Luis Rafael González, vice president of leasing at Empresas Caparra.

“We visited 30 shopping centers from Miami to Seattle to Latin America to see what was happening. And the common thread was that they are open facilities surrounded by high-level homes and offices,” Luis Rafael González said, noting that the 20% of The Square @ San Patricio Plaza will be restaurants.

“We have commitments from several retailers, mostly local, who will occupy 38% of the 60,000 square feet of space that The Square @ San Patricio Plaza will have for retail activity,” he said.

Empresas Caparra has also invested in improving the visitor experience by installing 27 new machines to control access at the parking areas, and launching free shuttle service to offer transportation to customers during the busy lunch hour and in the evenings, said Miguel González, vice president of operations at Empresas Caparra.

In the pipeline is the reconstruction of the sidewalks within the San Patricio Plaza complex, a project that the private firm will work on with the Guaynabo municipal government at a cost of $4 million.

The top executives from Empresas Caparra, parent company of San Patricio Plaza, offered details of the ambitious development that will break ground at the mall next year, dubbed The Square @ San Patricio.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 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 areas of the economy.

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