The Roosevelt Roads Redevelopment Authority announced Monday it has signed its first tenant, a company dedicated to building catamarans. Ceiba-based Reef Catamarans Inc. will invest $1.5 million to establish itself at the former Naval Base, where it will create some 100 job, Authority Executive Director Mario González-Lafuente said.
The boat builder is the first private company to move into the base since the Navy turned it over to the government in January, he said.
The move into the Ceiba base represents an expansion for Reef Catamarans Inc., which already operates in the town’s urban center. The company will lease 167,000 square feet of space, 17,500 of which are existing structures, in an area inside the base known as Camp Moscrit on Parcel III of the sprawling former base.
The additional facilities will enable Reef Catamarans to satisfy a current market demand for its vessels estimated at $90 million, which it cannot address at its current location, company officials said.
Carlos Correia-Mendes, president of Reef Catamarans Inc. said during the first year of operations at Roosevelt Roads, employees hired from Ceiba and Naguabo and other eastern towns will be trained in welding, carpentry and other technical areas.
“The expansion of Reef Catamarans into Roosevelt Roads is a great achievement and represents a commitment to begin to create jobs and boost the economies of Ceiba and Naguabo, and Puerto Rico’s eastern region, including Vieques and Culebra,” González-Lafuente said.
“This is one of several short-term development projects we plan to announce during 2012, whose purpose is to stimulate economic development in the east as part of the redevelopment we have planned for Roosevelt Roads,” he added.
But over the next five years, Roosevelt Roads redevelopment plans call for creating between 1,500 and 2,500 jobs, excluding those to be created once the former military hospital reopens and those to be created once the Navy sells the two remaining plots and planned projects for the zone get underway, González-Lafuente said.