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Guaynabo to build $85M, 200-room hotel

The Municipality of Guaynabo is setting aside $85 million to build a 200-room hotel adjacent to the Mario Quijote Morales Coliseum, Mayor Héctor O’Neill told this media outlet last week.

Two major hotel chains, Marriott and Holiday Inn Express, are competing to flag the property that will also house the town’s first casino, as well as retail space. O’Neill said the project should be ready by 2015.

“We’ll be awarding the winning bid this week, and it will either go to Marriott or Holiday Inn Express. We already have the developer in place, a stateside firm that has worked with these companies before to build their hotels,” O’Neill said. “The property should be ready in 30 to 32 months.”

The future hotel will be first large-scale one of its kind for the town that is also overseeing a massive $260 million redevelopment project in the city’s Amelia sector that, aside from drawing tourism activity to the waterfront area, also aims to mitigate the zone’s flooding and housing problems.

The Amelia Waterfront Project is a mixed-use complex that has been about 15 years in the making. Once finished — in about 10 years — the ambitious property spanning some 200 acress of land stretching to the shoreline and to the Cataño city limits will have some 380 social-interest homes, of which 200 have already been built.

The complex will also boast a 100 or 200-room hotel, an aquarium, an amphitheater, a boardwalk, recreational areas, kiosks for artisans, a fishing village, a boxing gym, a marina and ferry terminal to connect the area with the maritime terminal in Old San Juan and Hato Rey.

The Amelia Waterfront Project

The Amelia Waterfront Project

Regarding the housing component, O’Neill explained that the units will be divided into four townhouse-type projects to accommodate residents of nearby communities living on reclaimed land lacking appropriate infrastructure. In all, the Amelia Waterfront Project has required an investment of $15.1 million in infrastructure, he said.

“The project will have no walk-ups, because we have determined with the developers that that type of home is not what these residents need or want. It’s also more expensive to provide maintenance to these types of properties,” said O’Neill, of the project that is being developed with private investment as well as municipal funds.

According to the mayor, the Amelia Waterfront Project is part of the town’s planned tourism development and will be included in the Guaynabo tourism route that stretches from the rural-mountainous part of town anchored by La Marquesa Forest Park.

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.

1 Comment

  1. Excellence Bureau May 13, 2013

    Although I am not familiar with the exact area
    of Amelia, lodging is very much needed from the consumer point of view
    in the city of Guaynabo. However price competitiveness is undoubtedly
    an important factor, as well as quality of service.
    Lower margins for luxury hotels have made them less attractive for
    property owners when their return on investment is still no shorter of a
    ten year period. With lower costs increasing the attractiveness of
    investors the quality of service plays an even higher role on
    According to the The Travel & Tourism
    Competitiveness Report 2013 “Quality human resources in an economy
    ensure that the industry has access to the collaborators it needs to
    develop and grow. This pillar takes into account the health and the
    education and training levels in each economy, and is made up of two
    specific subpillars. The education and training subpillar measures
    educational attainment rates (primary and secondary), as well as the
    overall quality of the educational system in each country, as assessed
    by the business community.” “A particular focus should be placed on
    education and training, where there is a massive untapped potential and a
    real opportunity to change mindsets. Through education and training we
    can move to a more sustainable path and develop future generations of
    transformation-inspired leaders. This focus on education applies to
    industry employees, destination residents engaged in the visitor
    economy, community decision makers, and travelers themselves.”
    cry for better service in our island has reached high decibels at the
    international level already. If the economic crisis does not allow for
    investments on quality human resources and training, and heavy hotel
    discounting proved to be a successful method of attracting tourism
    growth in Puerto Rico in 2010, how is it that new developments will make
    their profits? Let’s do the math, higher investment on developing new
    projects with no less than a 10 year amortization minus heavy discounts
    in room rates to attract guests. Hmm food for thought! How is quality
    expected to be maintained?
    “The complex will also boast a 100 or
    200-room hotel, an aquarium, an amphitheater, a boardwalk, recreational
    areas, kiosks for artisans, a fishing village, a boxing gym, a marina
    and ferry terminal to connect the area with the maritime terminal in Old
    San Juan and Hato Rey.” Excellent!! The winning bid this week will
    either go to Marriott or Holiday Inn Express. With such an ambitious
    project, we would have to assume that the “roots of hospitality” in all
    of the other properties owned by either company on the island have
    already been taken care of? How much less would establishing a loyalty
    program for their guests will cost? How fast would they receive a
    return on their investment? Isn’t it transparent enough? It makes me
    ponder upon “ if you build it, they will come”….yes perhaps “they will”
    but without returning to the roots of service quality they will come and
    they will not stay, they will come and will not return.


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