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Convention Center District Reveals Plans for Tourism Region

By on February 1, 2016

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Convention Center District, in the Isla Grande sector of San Juan, will reportedly double its hotel room and commercial space offering by the end of 2017 with a development plan comprising new hotels, restaurants and an entertainment center with a total investment of more than $150 million.

Víctor Suárez, the district’s executive director, told a local news outlet that two new restaurants—belonging to the LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden chains, respectively—are slated for construction in the district at an investment of $7 million. The upcoming restaurants, owned by local company Restaurant Operators Inc., promise to generate 417 jobs and are scheduled to begin operations before the end of the year.

Suárez also revealed plans for an entertainment complex, dubbed District Live!, that takes a page from other centers such as Downtown Disney in Orlando. The project will consist of a theater for events with a capacity for 8,000 people; 18 retail establishments; and a high-end multiplex with eight movie screens, all occupying about 76,000 square feet.  

Dorado-based developers PRISA Group—who also developed the 149-room Hyatt Place/San Juan City Center at a cost of $29.7 million as well as the 126-room Hyatt House, both in the Convention Center District—will be in charge of the District Live! project, which will carry a $55 million price tag.

Suárez estimated the District Live! project, which will be located to the left of the Puerto Rico Convention Center’s main entrance and in front of the 503-room Sheraton Puerto Rico, is expected to generate about $1.2 billion in economic activity during its first decade of operations, and generate some 2,400 direct jobs.

Construction of the entertainment complex is slated to begin next summer, with completion scheduled for late 2017. Global entertainment facility operators such as AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) and Live Nation Entertainment have shown interest in the project, Suárez added.

There is also a medical tourism project in the pipeline, which is intended to serve as a complement to the Hyatt House, which specializes in long-term stays, and will feature

10 ambulatory surgery rooms, a wellness center, a clinical laboratory and an imaging center.

Also in the cards is the construction of a new hotel, long-rumored to feature the Marriott flag, that will add 225 more rooms to the district’s hospitality inventory and whose cost will range in the $40 million mark. Inversiones Hoteleras Costa Rica, an investor group, is slated to be in charge of the project.

Finally, Suárez revealed plans for new developments at the nearby Bahía Urbana waterfront recreational complex, including a luxury yacht marina in Pier 8 and a yet unnamed hotel in Pier 9, with construction scheduled for sometime in 2017 at a cost of $15 million. Local firm WOW Restaurants recently took over the operations of Bahía Urbana from its previous operator, SMG Group.

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