SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico will have, starting in 2012, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve tourist complex in the Americas, a $342-million project that is designed to convert the northern coastal town of Dorado into a world class luxury tourism spot, creating 1,000 jobs in the process.
The president of the Grupo PRISA construction firm, the company that is participating in the initiative, Federico Stubbe, said that it is an historic project, given the scope of the financing needed to carry out the plan.
Stubbe said the luxury establishment will be built on the site of the old Dorado Beach hotel, which opened its doors in 1958 on the initiative of multimillionaire Laurance Rockefeller but has been abandoned since 2006.
The businessman emphasized that the project is being made possible thanks to the financing provided by investment funds managed by UBS Asset Management of Puerto Rico and construction loans from Firstbank and the Governmental Development Bank for Puerto Rico.
The $342 million was obtained amid a serious crisis that is burdening the economy of the U.S. commonwealth for the fourth consecutive year and which has raised unemployment on the island to almost 17 percent.
Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño said during the presentation of the project that the administration he heads is committed to “providing all the backing necessary for the development of tourism projects led by the private sector.”
The companies that will undertake the construction of the luxury hotel are PRISA and Caribbean Property Group, and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel they build will be the second of its class in the world after the opening last year of the first in Thailand.
The ambitious project will not end with the construction of the hotel, and a second phase is projected to include the building of residences, requiring $300 million more.
The broader plan includes the construction of a second hotel and an infrastructure complex that will require an additional $600 million, meaning that the total project is slated to cost some $1.2 billion.
The project will be a huge economic boon to the area, according to the Fortuño administration, given that about 1,000 jobs will be created during the construction, a figure that will grow to 4,000 when the second hotel and the rest of the facilities get started. EFE