Hard Rock Café to open in Ponce, as fate of San Juan location unconfirmed
The new Hard Rock Café under construction in Ponce is slated to open in November, inside the Aloft Hotel — which will debut as the second to fly the flag owned by Marriott in Puerto Rico and entailed a $15 million investment.
The 125,000 square-foot property will feature 152 guestrooms, 15,000 square feet of convention center and activity areas, two pools — one of which will be on the rooftop — and the 10,000 square-foot Hard Rock Café, among other amenities.
“We had that area available in the lobby and the idea of opening a Hard Rock Café there came up. Representatives from the chain came to Puerto Rico and we closed the deal, given the attractive aspects of the property,” Joel Rodríguez, president of JRC Consolidated, the company developing both concepts, confirmed.
The Hard Rock Café in Ponce has an associated $3 million investment and will accommodate 352 patrons. It will also feature a stage and the iconic Rock Shop to sell the chain’s memorabilia.
Meanwhile, less than two years after opening its doors on Ashford Ave. in the Condado sector of San Juan, the Hard Rock Café has been closed since mid-March, after the first lockdown order went into effect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The property in San Juan, which now has a “For Lease” sign on it, opened in April 2018 when it brought the brand back to the market after a 10-year absence, as this media outlet reported.
The restaurant was a partnership between Hard Rock International and local HRC Caribbean Franchise, LLC, which spent $6 million to convert the once iconic Chart House that stood across the street from the San Juan Marriott & Stellaris Casino hotel.
The two-story, 42,000 square-foot restaurant had a capacity for 300 patrons, and featured a bar, a terrace, a live entertainment space for the island’s music scene, and the Rock Shop.
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told this media outlet that there is still a possibility that a new franchisee will take over the Hard Rock Café in San Juan. However, repeated attempts to confirm this information with the chain’s corporate offices were unsuccessful.
Both properties are still listed on the Hard Rock Café map of locations.
Puerto Rico’s first Hard Rock Café location in San Juan closed in April 2011, following two decades of presence.