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Upscale Paseo Caribe To Open In 2003


January 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

In its own Caribbean way, Paseo Caribe retail center plans to become the Coco-Walk of Puerto Rico, an ‘it’ place to shop, drink, eat, hang out, gather, see-and-be-seen for generations to come.

At a $36 million investment, developers Arturo Madero and Chip Newell–under San Geronimo Development Corp.–expect to create on the five-acre site adjoining the Caribe Hilton Hotel "something we don’t believe exists in Puerto Rico," said Newell. "It will be a retail center that will really have as its primary function to provide entertainment to its guests." The project’s opening is slated for 2003.

Very much like Coco Walk, a must-see retail and entertainment area in the Coconut Grove sector of downtown Miami, Paseo Caribe will feature 185,000 square feet of restaurants, shops, movie theaters, nightclubs, and bars. The three-level retail center will have seven restaurants, 40 retail stores, about three clubs and bars and a stage for live entertainment in a U-shaped design engulfing a 15,000 to 20,000-square-foot central courtyard, all overseeing the Condado Lagoon.

Targeting stylish, fashionable and sophisticated residents and visitors, Paseo Caribe plans to be "a state of the art landmark that reflects Puerto Rico’s unique culture and history with world class recognition," as its mission statement reads.

The project will include a 1,750-space, above-and-underground parking facility with access from Ponce de Leon Ave. and access to the Caribe Hilton’s parking garage. The parking building will have five exit gates to prevent exit traffic jams. "My goal is to have visitors to Paseo Caribe tell others how great the parking experience was because normally what happens in San Juan is that people talk about how bad the parking is," Newell said.

The developers will also build a Condo Hotel project on top of the parking building and will also develop Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Las Casitas project in an adjacent lot, as reported in CARIBBEAN BUSINESS (CB January 18).

The retail center will target both locals and tourists. "We are targeting an upscale crowd but we are not going to be a very serious place. This place will reflect a lot of vibrancy, it will be a very high-energy place," said Fernando Toro real estate broker at Property Concepts, in charge of leasing the property.

Because of the historical value of the site, Paseo Caribe will feature an educational element. The project will comprise an eight-meter wide public ‘paseo’ stretching from Ponce de Leon Avenue all the way along the lagoon to San Geronimo Fort. "We’ve been working with local historians to develop a set of information signs so the people in the center will learn about the importance of the site," he said. "As they walk toward the fort, the plaques will tell them more and more about its history."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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