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Santini To Be Aggressive About Bolstering Tourism In Capital

San Juan mayor to redevelop area adjacent to convention center


November 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, re-elected last week to a four-year term, has a full agenda to boost tourism in the capital starting in January. It includes redeveloping the area adjacent to the convention center in Isla Grande, laying cobblestones on the streets of Old San Juan, and building the golf course he promised four years ago.

"I envision San Juan as a versatile, dynamic city...with all of its historical charm, wonderful beaches, and exciting nightlife," Santini told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS during an interview before last week’s general election.

The mayor said his plan to turn San Juan into the capital of tourism, history, and culture includes redeveloping about eight cuerdas (one cuerda equals 0.97 acres) between the convention center, slated to open next year, and Central Park.

The San Juan Bayside project, currently in the design phase, includes the redevelopment of the fishermen’s village and the construction of a new marina, hotels, residential housing, retail establishments, and walking trails. It would require an approximate $50 million investment by the public and private sectors.

The project calls for the renovation of the deteriorated area fronting the convention center, visible when driving on the Muñoz Rivera Expressway in the direction of the San Antonio Channel. It also entails establishing a connection between the Convention Center District and Central Park and constructing an 18-hole golf course in the municipality’s former landfill. Santini said it is critical for the capital as a tourism destination to have a golf course within a relatively short distance of Condado, Miramar, and Old San Juan.

On Oct. 21, Santini addressed members of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association and committed to partnering with the association and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau to spur tourism activity in the capital. He also promised to address problems such as homelessness and the growing amount of solid waste.

Santini also wants to restore the allure of Old San Juan during the Spanish colonial era by laying cobblestones on all streets in the historic district.

This Old San Juan project would complement the overhaul of the sidewalks on Recinto Sur Street, which should be completed in early 2005. "The new Arturo Somohano Culinary Promenade, in front of Doña Fela’s parking lot, will have 15 restaurants and a widened sidewalk. Well-known restaurateur Emilio Figueroa is helping us on this project," said Santini.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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