New Ciudadela development announced for select population
SAN JUAN – A new residential complex for older adults developed by investor Nicholas Prouty and his company, Putnam Bridge, was announced Tuesday in San Juan’s Santurce area during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, in which Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was the guest of honor.
The “La Casa” project will be built at the Ciudadela mixed use real estate development in historic Santurce with a $65 million investment by Putnam Bridge, a national developer of residential and commercial sites.
Saying the development is the first aimed exclusively at people 55 years or older, he reiterated his commitment to Puerto Rico’s economic development. The project won’t be financed, everything will be paid for in cash, Prouty said.
The investor said it is imperative that economic activity be fostered with ideas that allow the island to recover, and that everyone must join forces to boost economic development.
The new complex will have 151 apartments for rent, 13,273 square feet of commercial space, and 484 parking spaces. La Casa expects to become an activity hub for that population.
However, 114 of the development’s units will be exclusively for those over 55, with a monthly rent starting at $950, while the other units will be rented at the current market rate.
In addition, the building will be completely integrated to the Ciudadela community via plazas, ramps and covered exterior corridors.
La Casa, Prouty explained, complements Ciudadela, whose community mostly comprises a younger population. Diverse, inclusive neighborhoods, he said, are the best ones, where people of all social classes treat one another with dignity and respect.
He further said that when he conceived this investment, he was surprised by seemingly unrelated problems that kept him awake at night. First, what to do with all the abandoned buildings in San Juan? Although they might seem hopeless at first glance, many of them could be easily restored with some capital and care, he said about his motivating principle to continue investing in Puerto Rico despite the island’s economic crisis.
Prouty also expressed concern over the security of elderly people in Puerto Rico and the lack of available housing and services for this age group.
He explained that there aren’t many developments designed with many in that age population in mind. On one hand, they don’t qualify for housing under the Section 8 program, and on the other hand, luxury retirement installations are out of reach, he explained. To make matters worse, he said, some are alone because their kids have left and they often live in places “where cultural and social connections are difficult to make,” referring to the new development’s open atmosphere.
The New York developer also offered more insight into his plans to transform the lot between the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR) and Ciudadela into a passive park with an additional $7.5 million investment.
Prouty was one of the first investors to relocate to Puerto Rico and benefit from its tax incentives. Besides Ciudadela, the New Yorker acquired Fajardo’s Puerto del Rey, the largest marina in the Caribbean, and his local investments are estimated to exceed $500 million.
The event was attended by the governor and several business and political figures, including former Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, and Senate Minority Leader Eduardo Bhatia.
For his part, Rosselló praised Prouty’s initiative, assuring that the development is evidence of a resurgence of an investment-worthy climate.
“This project is evidence there is an environment for doing business in Puerto Rico and that investor confidence is improving. This project benefits a vulnerable population while diversifying the community of Santurce. I thank Nicholas Prouty for believing in Puerto Rico,” the governor said during the event.
Prouty said he expects construction to be finished in two years.