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Popular to build new $300M corporate campus in Hato Rey

Puerto Rico’s largest financial institution, Popular announced it is set to begin the construction of several office buildings in Hato Rey with the goal of creating a corporate campus to centralize a significant part of its operations.

The institution will invest more than $300 million in the project with construction to take place through 2026. The new facilities will serve as a competitive tool to develop, retain, and attract the best talent and to better serve clients, officials said.

The project will be financed through a capital investment made by Banco Popular. As a result of this capital investment, the bank will be able to benefit from an Opportunity Zone tax credit of up to 20% of its cash contribution, bank officials confirmed.

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) approved the credit, making Popular the first local institution to qualify for and receive the benefit.

“Our Hato Rey corporate campus will allow a greater number of Popular employees to work from our new facilities, offering an environment that fosters their well-being, and where learning, collaboration and innovation are continuously encouraged,” said Ignacio Álvarez, president and CEO of Popular, Inc.

“We’re committed to Puerto Rico and its potential, and we believe that an important part of the economic recovery comes from bold projects such as this one. We expect our campus to further transform Hato Rey into a center of urban movement, offering a wide variety of amenities to our employees, customers, and visitors,” Álvarez added.

Popular disclosed that the project is expected to generate some 1,700 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

It will consist of two buildings, including one next to what is now Popular Center and movie theaters, in the area where the Fine Arts parking lot is currently located. That first building will feature 10 floors of new office space, a new training and development center for employees, a food court, gardens, and parking for 500 cars, among other offerings. The building’s upper level will include a 126-room hotel.

In front of Popular Center, located in the parking lot on the north side of the restaurant, a second building will be constructed, which will include a wellness center and a gym for employees, a supermarket, food outlets, and nearly 800 parking spaces, according to the blueprint of the ambitious project.

“After many years of planning and preparation, this project is finally a reality. We believe in the importance of a development like this, not only for Popular and the Hato Rey area, but for all of Puerto Rico,” said Richard L. Carrión, chairman of Popular’s Board of Directors.

“We’ve done it before, with projects like the Old San Juan building, which opened in 1939. It was built at a historic moment, after surviving the Great Depression and served as an example of innovation and a symbol of hope,” he said.

“In 1965, we repeated that feat by building Popular Center with the intent of creating what is now Puerto Rico’s financial district. Popular Campus will become part of our legacy and a reflection of what we as a people can achieve,” Carrión said.

At that time, Popular Center was one of the tallest buildings in the area and marked a milestone in architecture. This building was designed by the architectural firm Toro & Ferrer in collaboration with Kahn & Jacobs and was part of the projects that Don Rafael “Papi” Carrión developed while he oversaw the financial institution.

The Popular Campus design is a collaboration between the firms of Perkins Eastman, New York office, and V Architecture, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Both firms are recognized for the variety of large-scale and iconic projects they have completed.

The new buildings were designed with consideration of the environment and will be developed following the sustainability guidelines to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications from the US Green Building Council.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 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.
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