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Isla Borinquen LLC to build $12M dry dock in San Juan

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has selected local firm Isla Borinquen LLC, headed by Baseball Hall of Famer Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez, to develop, finance, build and operate a $12 million dry dock facility at Pier 15 in San Juan.

The facility will offer maintenance, repair, and appraisals of commercial vessels and yachts. The project could generate $39 million in economic benefits for Puerto Rico and create “hundreds of jobs,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said during the announcement.

The facility at Pier 15, which was initially built and operated by the US Navy since the early 1940s, was eventually acquired by Ports in the late 1990s. It, however, has been in disuse since 2000, the governor said.

The facility is the only one of its kind in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, he added.

Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá said that on Aug. 18, 2020, the agency opened a Request for Proposals process to find a private operator to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul service center for various types of vessels, including commercial, yachts and mega yachts.

The proposal was awarded to Isla Borinquen LLC on Jan. 4, 2021, and the company and the agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 16, 2021, establishing the contract’s terms and conditions.

Rodríguez, who since his retirement from the Major Leagues has dedicated himself to developing several businesses and projects on the island, said the most important thing “is to always be able to help Puerto Rico.”

He also stressed the need to bring companies that can invest in the community and give the people of Puerto Rico an opportunity to have a better quality of life.

“Isla Borinquen is pleased to create new job opportunities for the people of Puerto Rico. We’re very excited about the revival of the yacht, shipyard and maritime industry here in Puerto Rico,” he said.

“Isla Borinquen and our partners have more than 30 years of experience in the yacht and boat refit business and have successfully managed and operated marinas and shipyards around the world,” said Rodríguez. “We’re ready to start working, building and having an impact on the community here in Puerto Rico.”

The lease includes a two-story structure on Pier 15 spanning 1,536 square feet; Warehouse A at Pier 15 spanning 36,770 square feet; 58,913-square-foot Warehouse B at Pier 15; a 65,473 square-foot dry dock area at Pier 16; a 128,243 square-foot perimeter of the dry dock at Pier 16; a 49,000 square foot open area; preferential rights to the use of 300 feet of Pier 15; and the use of the breakwater and portion of land in the southwest corner of Pier 16 to install the dry dock’s gate.

“The dock is approximately 600 feet long, 102 feet wide and 26 feet deep, which positions it as a unique facility in the entire Caribbean for the repair and maintenance of vessels up to 400 feet long,” Pizá said.

“Currently, businesses have to use facilities in New Orleans, the Bahamas or the US Virgin Islands to repair or maintain their vessels, increasing their cost,” he added.

To lease the facilities, Isla Borinquen LLC will be paying a monthly fee of $32,709.69 to Ports. The agency will receive 5% of the annual gross income in excess of the first $6 million and will charge the docking fee to the vessels that arrive for service.

“I’m a fan of yachts and I want everybody in the world to know that we can take care of their yacht here, and that we’re going to reactivate that industry to bring income to the people of Puerto Rico and bring tourists here to see our beautiful island,” Rodríguez said.

In 2019, 79 mega yacht visits were registered with a related economic impact of some $10.8 million. This represents an increase of 53 mega yachts over 2018, government officials said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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