ESJ Towers Reborn as AZUL after $12M Remodeling
SAN JUAN – The former ESJ Towers property in the Isla Verde sector of Carolina has reopened its doors as AZUL following a $12 million investment, investors and public officials announced Wednesday.
Touted as a vacation ownership/timeshare offering with a hotel component, AZUL features 450 rooms in 17 floors, ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes or full kitchens.
The redevelopment is the brainchild of Keith St. Clair, a British travel-industry veteran who recently moved to Puerto Rico under Acts 20/22. In summer of 2015, an investment group led by St. Clair bought the ESJ Towers property, which originally opened in 1975, for an undisclosed amount.
During the next five to six months, the group carried out a renovation of the building and its grounds, including hallways and landings on all floors, game room, a lobby bar and lounge area, as well as the addition of a new hospitality center. AZUL also constitutes the first in a series of properties to be called the esj Collection, St. Clair announced.
Apart from being the chairman of Sol Holidays, one of the largest tour operators in the United Kingdom, St. Clair also founded TravelLeaders in 1999, which became one of Florida’s largest travel distribution businesses.
Some of the public officials who attended the inauguration included Alberto Bacó, secretary of the Economic Development & Commerce Department; Ingrid Rivera, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.; Ramón Luis Nieves, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) senator for the San Juan District; PDP Rep. Angel Matos; and Carolina Mayor José Aponte Dalmau.
During the inauguration, St.Clair called upon the government to continue its efforts in spurring the island’s tourism sector and turn it into a stronger engine for economic development and job creation. “It is our goal, through this project and others that are in development, to create at least 1,000 direct jobs,” he said.