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GDB, Firstbank Award $84 Million Construction Loan To Paseo Caribe

Money to be used for construction of 42-unit luxury condo Caribe Plaza and 1,054-space parking facility beside Caribe Hilton


December 18, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

FirstBank and the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (GDB) have joined to provide an $84 million construction financing loan to San Geronimo Caribe Project, developer of Paseo Caribe, a $240 million tourism, residential, and entertainment complex being built next to the Caribe Hilton hotel in Condado.

The financing will be used for the construction of two of the most important components of the project: Caribe Plaza, a 42-unit luxury condominium, and a multistory parking facility with 1,054 spaces.

The multistory parking structure will be the centerpiece of a state-of-the-art entertainment & recreation center that will include restaurants, retail stores, a 22,000-square-foot casino, and a restaurant with 200 tables where guests can enjoy food and drinks while watching a movie.

Both institutions entered into an innovative arrangement whereby the GDB finances the parking facility and FirstBank the luxury condo, which will be built over a section of the parking structure. The GDB financed $27 million and FirstBank loaned $57 million.

FirstBank had previously awarded San Geronimo Caribe Project a $25 million predevelopment loan for land and other expenses, plus a $32 million construction loan for Condado Lagoon Villas, the project’s first phase. Condado Lagoon Villas consists of 56 condo-hotel apartments, which will provide the Caribe Hilton with 112 additional room keys.

"At FirstBank, we are extremely pleased to be a part of this important project," FirstBank President & CEO Angel Alvarez told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "We have just made an important transaction between the private and public sectors, which we know will benefit. . .the economy of Puerto Rico."

GDP President Antonio Faria said, "At the Government Development Bank, we move forward by financing projects that contribute to the development and economic growth of Puerto Rico. This a very important phase of Paseo Caribe."

San Geronimo Caribe Project President Arturo Madero thanked the GDB and FirstBank for their participation.

FirstBank Chief Lending Officer Luis Beauchamp underscored the importance of the public/private collaboration in an innovative financing structure that allowed a project of this importance to move forward.

"The GDB’s participation in the financing was critical to making this project a reality. Without the parking, this project simply could not work. The fact that the GDB provided the financing and then turned to us to administer the loan evidences the mutual trust and the willingness of the GDB to participate in collaboration with the private sector. Paseo Caribe is probably the most important economic development project in Puerto Rico right now," said Beauchamp.

Paseo Caribe will have both underground and aboveground parking for more than 1,000 vehicles, including valet parking. There will be an entrance on Ponce de Leon Avenue and direct access to the Caribe Hilton’s existing parking lot. The new parking facility will have five gates to allow vehicles to depart without causing traffic jams.

Caribe Plaza’s 3,500-square-foot apartments will start at $1.3 million. Penthouses, above the sixth floor, will occupy 5,200 square feet.

Paseo Caribe will generate more than 2,000 jobs during its construction plus 700 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs once operational.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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