The Future of Caribbean Housing

The Future of Caribbean Housing

Join the Urban Land Institute SE Florida / Caribbean (ULI) for a one-hour virtual panel discussion with leaders throughout the Caribbean as they discuss both challenges and opportunities impacting The Future of Housing throughout Caribbean

Moderator : Emily Morgan, Land Development Manager, NVR Inc.,

Carlos Palacious, Managing Principal, Bron,

Michael Treacy Founder, PLUM

Gary Matalon, Director, CSI

Some of the discussion questions include:

  1. What Makes your Island Unique (regarding living and investment opportunities?
  2. What issues are you seeing today in housing & construction in your island?
  3. What new technologies have you integrated or used to help with these challenges?
  4. What incentives does your island provide for development current & future opportunities in housing, hospitality, or other related projects? 


Andrew Farkas Speaks about Caribbean

Andrew Farkas

Keynote Lunch Speaker:  Andrew Farkas, CEO Island Capital Group

Moderated by Adam Greenfader, Chairman of the Caribbean Engagement ULI

Andrew was previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Insignia Financial Group, Inc.  – which went public after three years and after merging with CB Richard Ellis became the largest owner/ operator of multifamily residential housing in the United States with approximately 275,000 apartments and over 200 million square feet of commercial space. Today, Andrew Farkas is currently Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Island Capital which presently owns a controlling interests in approximately $5 billion assets including C-III Capital Partners, NAI Global, PZR, and  Island Global Yachting or IGY.  IGY is the largest owner, operator and developer of yachting oriented resorts in the world.  Mr. Farkas is also dedicated philanthropist with a specific focus in the arts, children, and the environment.  Today, Andrew is committed to ESG (Environment Social Governance) investments in housing, hospitality, and infrastructure, that address key social imperatives. He is particularly interested in helping the Caribbean address its migration challenges caused by economic hardship. 

Some of the questions in this Video:

  1. Puerto Rico and The Bahamas have been recently devastated by major hurricanes.  What impact has this had on your lending?
  2. Is ESG important to your fund?
  3. Do you look at a project’s sustainable elements when making funding or acquisition decisions?
  4. How has the Caribbean region recovered from the COVID pandemic?  Do you see any long-term changes to travel, tourism, or hospitality in the Caribbean?
  5. Do you work with island governments, with local Caribbean banks?
  6. How important is it for you to have local players as part of your management team or funds?
  7. IGY announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality at all facilities in the IGY network by 2025.
  8. Can you explain this program and how you help your guests  to participate in carbon offsetting of their own commercial and recreational activities.
  9. If you could wave your proverbial magic wand for the Caribbean (Puerto Rico) what would you like to see change?

AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company founded in 1998 with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Our  track record spans over 55 real estate development projects in Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and various other Caribbean islands.

Adam Greenfader Shares New Opportunities in Puerto Rico

Adam Greenfader

Adam Greenfader, Managing partner of AG&T (7 minute video) speaks on new opportunities in Puerto Rico. Learning this video about the the island’s history and how you can learn from the past to generate real value and  long term economic growth. The video includes new information about tax incentives, the tourism tax incentive, Act 20/22, and other tax credits for real estate development. Contact us for more information and to learn about Why Puerto Rico Now

AG&T is a real estate development and consulting company founded in 1998 with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Our track record spans over 55 real estate development projects in Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and various other Caribbean islands.


Critical Manufacturing and Puerto Rico USA

Critical Manufacturing Puerto Rico


The panelists :


The ULI Webinar has an incredible array of information crammed into 90 minutes and it gives a great snapshot for the many initiatives being introduced and planned to help the Puerto Rican economy and create more quality jobs. If I had to some it up in three words, Mo is back. Mo of course being momentum.

 Each of the speakers brought a different perspective. Congresswoman Gonzalez Colon noted her primary mission is the reconstruction of the Island and to shephard the many supporting bills recently introduced in the US Congress. Former Governor Luis Fortuno brought an informed Wash DC think tank perspective, Adam Greenfader is one of Puerto Rico´s most passionate advocates, Andy Carlson of JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) brings experienced commercial  insights from the world´s second largest public brokerage firm, Dr Deusch stated his case for the reasons he brought his Swiss/German manufacturing business to Puerto Rico because of a need for precision and reliability, while Noel Zamot has a finger on the ethical pulse of developing new business in Puerto Rico.

The conversations were upbeat and positive. For instance, Congresswoman Colon made a presentation on MMEDS which was introduced last month to Congress under the bill H.R. 7527. This bill provides tax incentives and tax credits for companies creating manufacturing plants and jobs in economically distressed areas in the US and its territories. The criteria for distressed is even stricter than the recent Opportunity Zone legislation passed in late 2017. When the Congresswoman showed the MMEDS qualifying maps there were smaller areas in very non desirable locations in the US whereas Puerto Rico literally had a much larger proportional area in some desirable locations. And she stated very clearly that MMEDS is one of the very few legislative items that is drawing bi-partisan support from both sides of the aisle.

The entire panel then weighed in on the competitive advantages that Puerto Rico has when competing with the mainland U.S. including much lower labor costs by as much as 60% lower in some cases, an experienced manufacturing labor force going back 100 years, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez which is a top 10% engineering school for the entire U.S. and which is very much geared to provide the engineering and chemistry talent to support Puerto Rico´s manufacturing base. That even today five of the top ten selling drugs internationally are produced in Puerto Rico and 12 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have plants in Puerto Rico.

Luis Fortuno noted that Puerto Rico had more than $40 billion USD in pharmaceutical exports in 2019 but has the capacity to increase this substantially. The panel noted that some closed down plants are almost in turnkey conditions should manufacturers wish to return or expand capacity. It would not take much. Maybe a recession of the Jones Act, or at least an exemption for an extended period of time, might be the necessary catalyst. There are some interesting new developments on this front as was evidenced last week by Hawaii noting that 85% of their informed populace is all for rescinding the Jones Act as it costs that Island 1.2 billion USD in additional transportation and cost of goods fees.

Progress is being made on seeking some type of exemption under the taxing provisions of GILTI as it adds a 10%+ tax on profits for CFCs (controlled foreign corporations) which unfortunately applies to the US territories since the do not fall under the IRC (Internal Revenue Code). On May 1, 2020, Congresswoman Stacey E. Plasket, representing the US Virgin Islands, filed Bill HR 6648 – the Territorial Economic Recovery Act, that if becomes law, it will exclude our territories from much or all of the GILTI taxation, under certain provisions.

On April 3, 2020, Congresswoman Jennifer González, resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, introduced Bill HR 6643, the Securing National Supply Chain Act of 2020, to provide various tax credits to Economically Distressed Zones, including a tax credit on the amount of wages paid by an employer to employees in such a zone. The proposal has some overlap with HR 7527 noted above.

President Trump’s Special Representative for Puerto Rico’s Disaster Recovery, Rear Admiral Peter Brown, lead two delegations to Puerto Rico in August 2020, the last visit being last week. I am told the trip was very successful as a big priority was to visit and understand the many advantages of pharmaceutical manufacturing in Puerto Rico. 


Coming Back with FirstCaribbean Investment Bank

See full video at ULI Knowledge Finder

ULI Caribbean Conversation “Coming back with FirstCaribbean Investment Bank”. 

Conversation with Isabel de Caires, Head of Investment Banking at FCIB and Adam Greenfader, Chair ULI Caribbean Council / Managing Partner AG&T.

* What makes this crisis different than prior ones?

* Is FCIB looking at new construction projects? 

* What challenges does FCIB see for the hotel industry?

Isabel de Caires is a Director at CIBC FirstCaribbean, responsible for the origination, structuring and execution of financing mandates for both corporate and sovereign clients throughout the Caribbean region. Since joining CIBC FirstCaribbean in 2010, Isabel has led a wide range of bi-lateral and syndicated transactions across several industries but with a specific focus on Infrastructure, Hospitality and Real Estate. She has had a diversified financial services career spanning 14 years. Prior to joining CIBC FirstCaribbean, Isabel worked for both PwC and EY. She holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Miami and is a qualified chartered accountant.


2nd ULI Webinar: Hotels Coming Back to The Caribbean

Coming Back to the Caribbean

Coming Back to the Caribbean: a virtual panel discussion on The State of the Caribbean Hotel Market.

Hear from leading Caribbean hospitality professionals about what’s happening from operations, investing, transactions, and and lending perspectives.

Three questions answered: 

1. What hotel transactions are happening today?

2. Is the hotel market going to undergo a series of defaults, acquisitions, and repurposing?

3.  What operational changes is the hospitality industry doing to successfully come back on line?

Click here to learn more about ULI Caribbean engagement.

The State of Tourism in Latin America and Caribbean with IDB Invest

See full video here.

ULI Caribbean Conversation “The role of multilateral development banks (MDBs) in supporting the tourism sector in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

Conversation with with Rogerio Basso, Head of Tourism at IDB Invest and Adam Greenfader, Chair ULI Caribbean Council / Managing Partner AG&T.

* State of affairs of the tourism sector prior to COVID-19?

* What makes this crisis different than prior ones?

* What tourism players are doing to mitigate the impact of the pandemic?

* Top three actions to better face this crisis?

Rogerio Basso leads all initiatives related to tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean for IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. In his capacity as Head of Tourism, he is responsible for origination, investments and for executing IDB Invest’s tourism strategy in the region, offering a variety of financial instruments including debt, mezzanine and equity. Rogerio has executed numerous tourism transactions in the region spanning from hotels to conference centers.With over two decades of experience in banking, private equity, development, and strategy consulting within the hospitality and real estate sectors, Rogerio has held a variety of positions across top global firms, working across a variety of domestic and foreign markets, with a strong focus in Latin America. Prior to joining IDB Invest, he was CIO at Key International, a Miami-based real estate investment platform active across many industry sectors. He also served as EVP Acquisitions & Development for Terranum Hotels, an owner and operator of hotels across Latin America, sponsored by Colombia-based Santo Domingo Group and Sam Zell’s Equity International.

 Rogerio holds a business degree from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.