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Op-Ed: The giant of real estate is awakened in the Convention District

The Convention District is … a dynamic real estate development strategy aimed at, and specialized in, groups and conventions. Just six miles from the international airport and surrounded by the captivating magic of Old San Juan, Condado and Miramar, its location is perfect and makes of this compound, a jewel of real estate with exponential opportunities.

The Puerto Rico Convention Center Pedro Rosselló, is the facility that serves as a central magnet to attract local groups as well as groups from all over the world and it is also where most of the business activity of this sector is carried out.

The hotels, the iconic crescent fountain, the salty lakes, the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, Bahía Urbana and the Antiguo Casino, are the ideal combination of services and entertainment that, in turn, create the perfect balance and make the visitor’s experience unique.

Since its creation in the year 2000, the Convention District has maintained a step of slow growth in its development, although firm and without setbacks. This is not because of lack of vision or potential, but because of the economic reality that our Island has faced, particularly in the past decade.

The Convention Center and the Sheraton Hotel, the District’s first anchor hotel and owned by local investors, survived the roughest economic inertia. This makes them survivors and with proven and deeply rooted offerings; they are precisely the most solid foundations of the Convention District that gave rise to the subsequent development of this special niche to which hotels and important restaurant chains have been added.

During the past years, two interesting opportunities have been added to the attractions of the Convention District. With an investment of more than $160 million, El Distrito will be the complement that will inject entertainment intensity into the offer of the Convention District, integrating 10 movie theaters, 177 hotel rooms, an auditorium for 6,000 people and exclusive restaurant spaces, retail sales and office space.

Likewise, the Puerto Rico Film District, with 180,000 square feet of digital recording studios, promises to position the Island as the most advanced and innovative place in the film industry, in the Caribbean and the Eastern United States.

At this time, the Convention District has no other route to go than to grow exponentially. This is definitely a moment of great opportunity: the giant of real estate in The Convention District awakens, as does the potential to impact the economy of the Island through the select niche of groups and conventions.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and Convention District Executive Director Omar J. Marrero, have both been key in the successful implementation of public policy to make way for the creative development negotiations that have been achieved and will soon be announced as overwhelming achievements of The District.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, we have proven it, the key is to be co-protagonists of development together with the private sector being, in turn, facilitators in the process.

By creating trustworthy relationships, where each brings its best attributes to the negotiation table, the impossible is achieved.
Three years after I said yes to The District, I am convinced that for all this to happen and, to maintain interest between both parties, it must be a fair, transparent business, with the shared mission of aggressively helping the other to reach their goal; if we both win, Puerto Rico wins by two.

The Convention District is an organic example of how, by replacing conflicts of interest, with common interests, we create the most agile economic force in any market.

Author Noelia García is deputy director of the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority.

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