New retail development project for Aguadilla breaks ground
Scheduled to open sometime next year, new commercial retail development project Plaza Noroeste Commercial Center began early construction this week in the municipality of Aguadilla with an initial investment of more than $5 million.
The final figure is expected to be closer to $40 million once the project is completed, this media outlet confirmed.
Construction is expected to take from 12 to 18 months.
According to the new Mayor of Aguadilla, Julio Roldán (PDP), who announced the new development on Twitter, the construction project will create some 180 new jobs in its first phase.
Costco is being eyed by developer Kanaan Corporation as the main tenant in the free-standing retail development, potentially occupying a brand-new building with approximately 150,000 square feet of space.
Negotiations are still ongoing, however, as the membership retailer now requires a permit and facilities for its own gas station for all its new stores, explained Jorge Cajigas, president of J Cajigas & Associates.
“We want to be the best option for them as we believe that they have a great deal of interest in the western region,” said Cajigas.
This media outlet reached out to Costco, and an executive who spoke off the record said it is company policy to not comment regarding future Costco warehouses until the company is ready to share details about the new location, which is usually two to three months in advance.
The Plaza Noroeste project is envisioned to have a total of seven tenants, with a mix that includes retail and individual restaurants as well as other businesses. Interested companies so far include El Mesón Sandwiches, Compañía de Seguros Múltiples and Chick-fil-A restaurant would occupy buildings of some 5,000 square feet each. No final agreements with tenants have been signed as of yet.
Cajigas told this media outlet that the project is still exploring build-to-suit or ground lease options. The final decision will depend on negotiations with individual tenants.
Developers are keen on continuing the permitting process with the municipality due to delays experienced while working with the Government of Puerto Rico’s Permit Management Office (OGPe for its Spanish acronym). Cajigas said the new municipal law allows Aguadilla to issue the necessary permits for the project going forward.
In a separate interview with News is my Business, Roldán stressed his campaign promise of giving one-year tax exemptions on both property and municipal taxes, in exchange to filling the new jobs created with residents of the municipality. The Plaza Noroeste project is benefitting from those exemptions, Roldán said.
“We have a commitment to work with use permits in an agile and fast way,” said Roldán. “We want developers to be confident that we are working to move the economy forward. Each project will be reviewed individually but our policy is one of open doors.”
Plaza Noroeste will be located at Road #2 Km 124.5, in Aguadilla.