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Development opportunity in Puerto Rico

A request for proposals for the leasing, development, construction and operation of a marina at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been issued…

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority is seeking proposals from qualified developers and operators of superyacht marinas, that have the ability and capacity to undertake the leasing, design, construction, financing, and development of a superyacht marina at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Proposals must be submitted by 8:30 pm (GMT) on 14 January 2022.

The area that is available for development is approximately 23,000sqm and is located at Pier 9 in the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, including the docks, piers and moorings necessary for such a project. Pier 9 is currently used as both a cargo facility and to berth superyachts and, according to the request for proposals (RFP), has substantial space available for developing buildings and facilities for superyacht use given that there are no permanent tenants on the premise currently.

“The Authority has the goal of making Puerto Rico the premier destination in the Caribbean for luxury vessels, while fostering the further growth of the service and tourism industries in the Island. A megayacht marina in San Juan is expected to generate substantial economic impact on the local economy. The goal of this RFP is to obtain proposals for the Project so that the Marina Site will provide services, facilities and amenities for the yachting community,” explains the RFP.

“Proposals should purport to convert the Marina Site into a world-class marina for megayachts. Award of the RFP will be to the Proponent whose Proposal, conforming to this RFP, is most advantageous to the Authority and the Government. Financial terms and other factors further described herein will also be considered.”

The scope of the project is to include everything that one would expect of a high-end superyacht marina including, but not limited to, shore power, water, wi-fi, health club, business centre, recreational facilities, retail outlets and so on.

In a relatively short period, superyacht activity in Puerto Rico has grown exponentially having only received three superyachts before 2014 and having received 395 superyachts since. While being historically overlooked by the superyacht community, Puerto Rico is ideally placed to cater to superyachts travelling from Florida to the Caribbean. Typically, the yachting business in Puerto Rice has been focused on captains and crew. However, in recent years, 20 per cent of superyacht trips to Puerto Rico have included owners and/or guests. The hope is to transform Puerto Rico into a legitimate superyacht hub that caters for the full spectrum of superyacht experiences and services.

“In terms of the San Juan marina development in the old city, the hope is to model the project on marinas like Port Vell and Vauban, both of which are within a city or a town. Both these marinas have fantastic facilities and we hope to develop a similar model in San Juan. What we need is a visionary company with significant superyacht experience to help us do it,” says Jose Casanova, founder and president of OdySEA Hospitality International. “Puerto Rico isn’t like other yachting hotspots that can just rely on their beach club model, but what we have is far more unique, we have culture, a metropolis and nature.”

Casanova quite rightly points out that, with the market voicing great concern about a lack of marina capacity, the Sun Juan project represents a fantastic blank-sheet opportunity to create the ideal superyacht marina, which has been designed with fleet growth and future trends placed firmly at its centre. By stark contrast, developments to existing marinas globally can be intrusive, time-consuming and limited in their scope.

“During The Superyacht Forum Live in Amsterdam, the marina of the future, as well as the need for investment and government support, was discussed at length,” continues Casanova. “The San Juan project not only stands to benefit the superyacht market and any potential investor, it will also have a fantastic impact on the local community. However, any developer must not lose focus of the fact that our livelihoods depend how able we are to accurately consider the requirements of the end-users, the owners, guests, captains and crew.”

Curiously, the time frame for registering interest in the development is relatively short with the RFP being made public on 29 November and the deadline being 14 January. Nevertheless, with myriad benefits as a yachting location, and shipyard facilities due to come online soon, Puerto Rico and the San Juan marina project may yield significant opportunity to a savvy investor if done well. Follow the link below to register interest in the development.

Request for Proposals 

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