Puerto Rico Mortgage Bankers Association Positive about 2022

Puerto Rico Mortgage Bankers Association

The Mortgage Bankers Association of Puerto Rico positive about 2022. See video clip about the 12 month projections for the island’s economy by Adam Greenfader, managing partner at AG&T.

 

La Mortgage Bankers Association of Puerto Rico (MBA) es una entidad sin fines de lucro, establecida para mantener y preservar la industria de la banca hipotecaria alentando a sus miembros a promover y llevar a cabo una práctica responsable en la otorgación de préstamos hipotecarios y en ejercer el buen juicio de la aplicación de las regulaciones locales y federales de manera que se mantenga el buen nombre y el prestigio de las instituciones hipotecarias y la credibilidad ante los consumidores.

 

 

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. 

 

For more information about Puerto Rico contact us.

 

The Puerto Rico Symposium in Miami With Historic Announcement

 

See All Photos Here

See Agenda and Sponsors

 

The Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi made the historic announcement at The Puerto Rico Symposium in Miami that Puerto Rico was officially out of bankruptcy. The message was well received by over 250 industry leaders from both the public and private sectors.  The event was organized by The Urban Land Institute South East Florida / Caribbean and The Puerto Rico Builders Association.

 

Governor Pedro Pierluisi
Governor Pedro Pierluisi makes historic announcement

 

The Symposium was kicked-off by Scott McLaren, President ULI SE Florida / Caribbean. Scott spoke about the longstanding relationship and collaboration between ULI and the Puerto Rico Builders Association. He highlighted the work on the ULI National Advisory Services Panel on social, economic, and physical resilience in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. https://seflorida.uli.org/toa-baja-puerto-rico-panel/

Scott Maclaren finished his remarks by recognizing  Vanessa de Mari, the new President of the Puerto Rico Builders Association and the first women president in the organization’s 70 year history. The Symposium was dedicated to this historic accomplishment. In attendance were some of Puerto Rico’s top government leaders.  This included the Honorable Pedro Pierluisi, Governor of Puerto Rico, Manuel Laboy, COR3 Executive Director,  Maretzie Diaz, Deputy Director PR Housing Department CDBG-DR, Natalia I. Zequeira, Commissioner of Financial Institutions, and in attendance, the Secretary of Housing of Puerto Rico, William Rodríguez Rodríguez. The keynote address by the Honorable Pedro Pierluisi, Governor of Puerto Rico’s highlighted the island’s economic accomplishments, the end of Puerto Rico’s population exodus, and the conclusion of the bankruptcy which was officially announced the day of the Symposium.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/puerto-rico-is-out-of-bankruptcy-after-a-22-billion-debt-exchange-1.1738142

In the private sector, Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz, CEO, Alvarez-Diaz & Villalon discussed some of progress of the island’s rebuilding after the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria. The reconstruction of the island was  a constant theme throughout the day with specific examples of over 900 started projects.

The first panel, “Why Puerto Rico: Stories of Success,  was a testament to the resiliency of the development community. Moderated by Andrew Carlson, SVP Country Manager, of JLL the discussion highlighted the historic growth of the island’s hospitality sector with the construction and/or renovation of over 3,000 new room keys from El Conquistador, Grand Reserve (formerly known as Coco Beach), Sheraton, AC , and many others. The panel included Federico Sanchez, President & CEO, Interlink Group.

 

Speakers Panel
Dan Kodsi, Brad Dean, Rafael Rojo, Andrew Carson

 

Dan Kodsi, CEO, Royal Palm Companies, Rafael E. Rojo, President & CEO, VRM Companies. Also in attendance was Brad Dean, CEO, Discover Puerto Rico who highlighted the island’s impressive tourism growth (ADR and occupancy rates) during the Covid 19 pandemic and new expansion of tourism throughout all U.S. feeder markets.

As Puerto Rico seeks to build back its tourism and other industries, the financial sector will invariably play a major role. One of the goals of the Puerto Rico Symposium was to facilitate the conversation of growth in both traditional banking as well as new Fintech, IFEs, and other debt/equity players.  Natalia I. Zequeira, Commissioner of Financial Institutions, explained the ease of regulations and process for new financial institutions as Puerto Rico shares many of the same regulations of the U.S. states on the mainland. Ms. Zequeira also mentioned that International Financial Entities (IFE) can now participate in special opportunity projects.

https://www.investpr.org/key-sectors/finance-and-insurance/

Michael McDonnell, Executive Vice President, First Bank, that recently re-opened its  construction division, was bullish on the island’s economic prospects and announced that the Puerto Rico will achieve positive economic growth (GDP) this year– something it has not done in over a decade.  Banesco USA announced the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will invest more than $8.7 billion through ECIP in institutions across the country – Banesco USA is the only bank recipient located in Florida or Puerto Rico.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/banesco-usa-approved-to-receive-237-5-million-investment-from-the-us-treasurys-emergency-capital-investment-program-301445832.html

Over the last few years, we have all hear about the 80 billion dollars of relief aid that has been allocated to Puerto Rico and is coming. In the “Myth versus Reality panel: Federal Funding Opportunities on The Island,” moderator Ella Woger Nieves of Invest Puerto Rico helped lift-up the proverbial transparency veil. Manuel Laboy, the COR3 Executive Director spoke with detailed facts of the funding by agency with FEMA authorizing 5 billion for temporary work, 21 Billion for 9,000 permanent projects and 800 that are currently under construction today. He also discussed the next wave of over 900 projects that are currently under engineering and design.  Much of this work will be channeled through CDBG-DR and the PR Housing Department. Maretzie Diaz, the Deputy Director PR Housing Department, explained the process for companies wanting to participate in the island’s rebuilding of housing and infrastructure. Mahdu Beriwal, Owner/founder of EIM provided first-hand knowledge of the rebuilding work in Puerto Rico.

 

Adam Greenfader, Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz, Pamela Pautenade, Vanessa de Mari, Alfredo Martinez, Emilion Colon

 

Keynote Speaker Pamela Pautenade, Ex. Deputy Secretary of HUD, was also on hand to share her experiences about the collaboration with the Puerto Rico Builders Association during the 2017 hurricanes crisis. In a moving conversation with Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz, Mrs. Pautenade explained the dedication of the island’s public and private sectors and dispelled any rumors about misuse of relief funds.

 

Keynote Lunch Address
Andrew Farkas, Adam Greenfader

 

Puerto Rico, like much of the Caribbean is in the process of bouncing back from the Covid 19 pandemic.  Adam Greenfader, who chairs the ULI Caribbean Council had a high level sit down conversation with keynote Speaker Andrew Farkas, CEO Island Capital Group. The conversation was focused on social equity and specifically what  role the financial sector has in supporting the region with a particular focus on sustainability, ESG, and helping economic migrants return back to their island homes.

In the last few years Puerto Rico has become known as blockchain capital of the world. While thousands of tech savvy individuals have moved to the island to take advantage of federal tax incentives they have inadvertently created a new economic driver for the Puerto Rico.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-12-11/crypto-rich-are-moving-to-puerto-rico-world-s-new-luxury-tax-haven

 

In our “Fintech & Financial Innovation panel in Puerto Rico, Moderator Nathan Whigham, Founder & President, EN Capital discussed the growth of this huge industry. Rodrick Miller, CEO, Invest Puerto Rico, explained what his group is doing to change the paradigm in Puerto Rico from selling tax incentives to focusing on the island’s quality of labor, education system, and proficiency in bio science and other innovations. Stephen Inglis, CEO, Importal explained his new portal to monetize tax credits and  Yael Tamar, CEO & Co-founder, SolidBlock explained how her company is integrating real estate and blockchain.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/invest-puerto-rico-elevates-the-islands-role-as-a-global-bioscience-rd-and-manufacturing-hub-attracting-two-major-life-critical-investments-228m-in-new-activity-301221471.html

After a marathon day of conversation it was amazing to see the room still full for our last panel “Growth Industries and Tax Incentives” moderated by Carla Campos and an all-star team including  Jorge Ruiz Montilla, McConnel Valdez,  Francisco Luis, of Kevane Grant Thornton and Rogelio “Roy” Carrasquillo, of the Carrasquillo Law Group. In this panel, specific programs like the Tourism Tax Incentive were explained in detail and there was robust conversation regarding how these incentives have created new jobs in manufacturing, life sciences, construction, and agro-science.

 

On behalf of all of us at the Puerto Rico Builders Association and The Urban Land Institute SE Florida/ Caribbean, thank you to all of the people and sponsors that made The Puerto Rico Symposium possible. We are all hopeful that together both the public and private sector can create long lasting sustainable economic growth.

 

 

For more information about investing in Puerto Rico visit our web site or contact us.

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.

 

18 Billion For The Next Great Construction Boom

San Juan, Puerto Rico. Last week The Puerto Rico Builders Association held its 70th year conference in San Juan Puerto Rico. The historic event was inaugurated with a conversation on Financing the Next Great Economic Construction Boom.  The panel included Michael McDonald, Executive Vice President and Group Director at Firstbank, Luis Alemañy President and CEO at the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico, and Eric Delgado Business Banking Relationship Manager at Acrecent Financial Corporation and Adam Greenfader, Managing Partner at AG&T. It was clear from the conference panelists, that after more than fifteen years of stagnate growth, Puerto Rico appears ready to build back better. Billions of dollars of FEMA and CDBG-DR funds are being allocated in what will be the largest government funding program in US history.  While much of the Federal funds will be used to subsidize projects, the group was in agreement that there is a huge need for private investment and capital to bridge the financing gapMichael McDonald, Executive Vice President and Group Director at Firstbank, made the historic announcement that the bank is opening up its construction division. Several members from the newly formed team were present in the packed room including Carlos Navarro and Mei Li Tsai Rivera. “There is no better indicator of an economy that is ready to grow that when a bank reopens its construction division”, quoted Alfredo Martínez-Álvarez, Jr., Chairman of the Puerto Rico Builders Association. Equally promising, Luis Alemañy President and CEO at the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico, was asked about the much awaited CDBG-DR funding. Mr. Alemañy explained that the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico has already started allocating over $225 Million dollars to small entrepreneurs. The group was especially receptive to the fact that the grants are being disbursed in $50,000 tranches and does not require repayment. Since 2008, Puerto Rico has gone from twelve financial institutions to less than four. Eric Delgado Business Banking Relationship Manager at Acrecent Financial Corporation, sees a new role for niche lenders filling that gap in Puerto Rico.  He specifically discussed how Acrecent can play a role in funding new construction projects. “We are able to get to funding much faster than traditional banks and also have the capacity for higher loan to coast ratios.  Both Firstbank and Acrecent mentioned that capital is seeking anywhere from 25%-35% of project equity. “As Puerto Rico gets ready to build thousands of much needed homes, critical infrastructure and other key projects, it will be up to both private and public institutions to step up and provide the much needed capital and leadership”, quoted Adam Greenfader of AG&T.  All of the panelist were in agreement that the island in the next few years is ready for strong growth. They specifically mentioned that in addition to the more than 8 billion dollars of Federal Grants, Puerto Rico has one of the most robust tax incentives and credit programs in the world. The hospitality incentive with a 40% tax credit was specifically highlighted as a very strong component of any capital stack today. Helping to plan a better future for the island, The Puerto Rico Builders Association will be holding its annual conference on September 20 and 21, 2022.  Speaking and sponsorship opportunities are available and you may contact AG&T at contact@agandt.com.   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

Luis Fortuno and Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez

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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.  AG&T is committed to bringing our network top information and access to our industry’s leaders. 

 

The Future of Tourism and Hospitality Panel

San Juan- “The Future of Tourism and Hospitality: Increasing Capacity and Competing in a New Caribbean Market”, will be the main topic to be discussed by a panel of experts on the subject, each one representing a sector in the ever-changing world of tourism and hospitality.

The chairman of the board of the PRBA, Eng. Emilio Colón- Zavala, stated that: “Through this panel, the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) will provide the space for a wide and varied discussion, which will cover the new trends in the Modern Tourism industry, as well as the importance of efficiently positioning Puerto Rico as a competitive destination in the Caribbean. Tourism with less than 7% of the islands GDP, is slated to become one of the pillars of our economic development and it is urgent to incorporate into our offer all new trends that continue to develop and evolve in the Hospitality Industry”.

The panel moderated by Adam Greenfader, Managing Partner of AG&T, will have the participation of:

  • Carla Campos- Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company
  • Pablo Maturana- Managing Director Development South America & The Caribbean, Hilton International
  • Rachel DeLevis- Policy Associate, AirBnB
  • Federico Stubbe- President, PRISA Group
  • Federico Sánchez- President and CEO, Grupo Interlink
  • Eric Berman- Chief Investment Officer, Lifeafar

 

This panel will be held on October 30, as part of the Forty-Sixth Annual Convention of the Puerto Rico Builders Association: “A Challenge to Build the Future”, which will take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center on October 29 and 30.

 

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About the PRBA

The Puerto Rico Builders Association is a private, non-profit organization.  Established in 1951, its main purpose is to represent leading developers and investors of housing, commercial, office, industrial and tourism projects. The Association also represents investors, suppliers, banks professionals and companies associated with development and construction in Puerto Rico. Its main objective is to promote and lead the planned, safe and sustainable development in order to serve as the island’s economic engine, in collaboration with Puerto Rico’s public and private sector.

 

ULI Hospitality and Recreation Council – Puerto Rico

The ULI Hospitality and Recreation Council met this month to discuss some of the recent trends and opportunities in the hotel industry.  Big shout out to the whole leadership team – to Robbie Carver and Ari Tenzer specifically for putting together an amazing panel of speakers.  

Puerto Rico this year was top of mind at ULI Hospitality and Recreation Council. Several speakers highlighted new opportunities in hotel investment and other tourism activities.  While it is part of the HRDC guidelines to keep specific project information confidential, I would like to shed some color on recent events happening in Puerto Rico that is leading to this renewed interest and demand.  

  1. Limited Tourism Supply – to date there are about 14,000 hotel keys in Puerto Rico. Most of the supply that was damaged in the hurricanes has been improved. Occupancy rates hover 80% and ADRs have been increasing every year for the last five years.  A recent market study by the Puerto Rico Builders Association,  shows a demand for 30,000 keys in next decade.   
  2. Liquidity – in the last six months the resolution of Puerto Rico debt has made significant progress with better than expected returns on the top tier bonds of  Geo & Cofina.  
  3. Pro-Business Government – For the first time in almost two decades, the island has a government that is actively seeking private investment. 
  4. Tax Incentives– The Tourism Hospitality tax incentive provides up to 40% back on capital investment for hotel and other tourism related projects. 
  5. Other Tax Incentives– Law 20/22 has has resulted in 1,200 high net worth families moving to the island as well as 175 service companies, and 75 independent financial corporations. 
  6. Better branding – In 2018 the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization)  was  launched with the goal of bringing better and more consistent messaging  to Puerto Rico’s tourism and industry.  
  7. Puerto Rico USA – After the 2017 hurricanes, 82%  of the US recognizes Puerto Rico as being “part of the United States.” 
  8. 80+ Billions of dollars –  This robust allocation will stimulate the economy in the short term and hopefully provide a launching pad for long term economic growth through CDBG-DR, FEMA, HUD, LHTC, SBA, and other programs.
  9. Opportunity Zones – applies to approximately 97% of the island of Puerto Rico.  This should de-risk equity investment and reduce the gap in cap rates between stateside and island investment opportunities. 
  10. Public-Private Partnerships – The P3 laws in Puerto Rico are some of the most modern in the world allowing direct pass-through of payment from consumer to sponsor. The current administration has placed a strong reliance on unsolicited P3 bids – in other words it is recommend that you submit your own idea of a tourism related project.  
  11. New Infrastructure – The soon to come sale of the electrical authority (PREPA) and other antiquated government facilities will dramatically reduce costs across the entire economy. This will make the hospitality sector in particular more competitive. 
Florida Product Councils (FPCs) are small groups of ULI members that commit to meet at least two times per year with fellow real estate professionals to share best practices, grow their network and discuss development practices that influence and change our communities.
If you wish to get involved: https://northflorida.uli.org/get-involved/florida-product-councils/hrdc-membership/

Undaunted By Puerto Rico’s Financial Mess, Hospitality Industry Blazes Ahead

Bisnow Article by deirdra.funcheon@bisnow.com July 24

“As you can imagine, things are a bit crazy here,” said Emilio Colón-Zavala, president of ECZ Group and head of the Puerto Rico Builders’ Association, this month — even though it has been almost a year since Hurricane Maria slammed his homeland.Puerto Rico is still recovering from hurricane-related infrastructure failures (the water system was long-neglected and the electric company has had five CEOs in a year) as well as a decade-plus financial crisis.

The commonwealth owes creditors a whopping $124B, and bondholders are fighting over who will be repaid. Investors are looking to scoop up distressed properties or take advantage of generous tax incentives, and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have invaded with a vision to remake the island and run it on bitcoin. Meanwhile, residents still struggle; the average family income is about $20K.  Amid these challenges, the hospitality industry is putting on its best face and charging sunnily ahead. Most hotels in the commonwealth are back open or will resume operations by the time high season begins in September; some already had record occupancy for spring break.  Colón-Zavala and other experts will discuss these converging factors — and the state of the hospitality industry throughout the Caribbean — at Bisnow’s Caribbean Hospitality and Investment Summit in Miami Aug. 23.

5b55eda63141f_old_san_juan

Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (a government agency), said the hospitality industry was seizing this moment to come back better and stronger. As of May, she told Travel Weekly, 12,000 of Puerto Rico’s 15,000 hotel rooms were operational and the other 3,000 were being remodeled. She said the reopening of the St. Regis, El San Juan and the Ritz-Carlton in October would be recovery milestones. The hurricane made Americans more aware that Puerto Rico is “a U.S. territory and you don’t need a passport to go there, that there is easy access from U.S. cities,” Campos said. “That puts us in this position to seize the opportunity to capitalize on this increased awareness and convert it into awareness in travel.” In addition to her agency, a Destination Marketing Organization — a private nonprofit corporation responsible for the promotion abroad of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination — was established with legislation last year and will be funded with $25M annually. Brad Dean, the former head of Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, will run the DMO and recruit both leisure and business travelers. 

Colón-Zavala said in addition to remodels, new construction is on tap. A JW Marriott, Aloft San Juan Convention Center, Aloft Ponce and Four Seasons Cayo Largo are all in the works. “We have already like $1.9B in projects in the pipeline,” Colón-Zavala said. “It’s going to be like a 4,000-room increase — like 5% of hotel inventory. We have 15,000 hotel rooms in Puerto Rico and the pipeline is almost 25% more.” That means builders are in high demand — “You get proposals left and right,” Colón-Zavala said — but contractors are being selective about which jobs to take for fear of not getting paid in a timely manner. Private insurance has been slow to pay claims, and some government agencies don’t have funds due to the commonwealth’s financial crisis. FEMA is still active, and is siphoning workers from other jobs by paying 25% to 50% more, Colón-Zavala said.From an investment standpoint, Colón-Zavala said people from around the world have been interested in Puerto Rico; there is a lot of interest from China. Investors should look not just at hotels and resorts, but also at public-private partnerships in infrastructure, Colón-Zavala said. He said private companies have recently been awarded concessions to run a ferry service, a major highway and airport operations. 

Numerous solar companies have also descended on the region. “A year ago, people would not buy solar with batteries because of the expense that it represented,” he said. “This year, it’s the other way around — you would be crazy not to buy a battery with your solar panels.”    Sion Capital founder Jonathan Kracer, who advises real estate investors and will also speak at next month’s event, wrote recently that there is forward momentum pulsing through the 30 major Caribbean islands. All-inclusive resorts are doing brisk business, and low-cost airlines from all around the world have increased flights to the region. Kracer told Bisnow that following last year’s hurricanes, “I was surprised by the lack of a cohesive communications strategy to change traveler misconceptions about the conditions in the Caribbean. Only about eight islands of the [about] 30 in the Caribbean were most impacted by Hurricane Irma, and the perception of damage impacted demand volumes in the whole region.” Ultimately, though, he said that better construction techniques and stricter building standards would bode well for the region. Right now, he said the best move for investors would probably be “acquiring older independent assets or damaged properties from the recent hurricanes, and renovating and professionally managing them … As tourism is the most important economic driver for the region, the Caribbean is very resilient and will bounce back.”  

Another panelist, Rogerio Basso, principal investment officer for multilateral development bank IDB Invest, said “We have a heightened appetite to explore greenfield operations in the Caribbean and are also seeing growing interest from regional banks to fund hospitality transactions. Rising interest rates, however, are putting pressure on developers to not overextend themselves on debt and ensuring projects have sound fundamentals to withstand market trepidations.”

Hear more about tourism, hotels and investment in the Caribbean at Bisnow’s Caribbean Hospitality and Investment Summit Aug. 23. 

HOLA Conference – Day 1

5|15|2018 – JW Marriott, Downtown, Miami.  

AG&T and the Builders Association of Puerto Rico invited to participate at the Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA) Conference in Miami. 

Some take aways from today’s meeting in Miami. 

  • The LATAM hotel industry is seeing a lot of over supply with a few exceptions in the emerging countries. 
  • Big hospitality growth in Colombia(14%), Costa Rica(15%)  and Peru (18%) . 
  • Mexico and Brazil still lead in overall Latin American hotel supply pipeline. 
  • As for new development, risk management is the word of the day. As is expected, all inclusive resorts seem less concerned about the new disruptors like Airbnb, but all are keeping their eyes on elections in several key countries. 
  • Argentina and Brazilian markets continues to draw hotel groups but there is uncertainty about exit timetable. 
  • Investors in several LATAM countries move beyond capitalization rates and focus primarily on desired yields.

 

Join us at the Hola:  http://holaconference.com

 

 

 

Puerto Rico Elects to be # 51?

The current territorial status received 1.3% (6,820) votes, independence 1.5% (7,773) votes, and 97% (502,375) votes for Statehood, according to the State Election Commission.

vote art

This is the first time in Puerto Rico history that a Statehood referendum receives such an overwhelming majority of voters. 

 “The votes are what dictate what the steps to follow will be; in this case, a strong majority determined that we would reject the colony and favor statehood,” governor Ricardo Rosello said.

This process of petitioning Statehood will be effected under the “Tennessee Plan” whereby the governor will designate seven members to go to Congress and request Puerto Rico to become the 51st State.  

According to Resident Commissioner Jennifer González, the June 11, 2017 turn-out of 23% of registered voters (516,968) is in line with several states that were the last to achieved admission. 

  • Arizona – In 1911, a participation of 15,489 voters of a population of 217,000, for a 7% electoral participation.
  • Hawaii  – In 1940, 35% electoral participation.
  • Alaska – In 1946,  a participation of 16,375 voters of a population of 75,000, for a 21% electoral participation.  

 

 

 

 

A Fiscal Plan Towards Economic Recovery

Old San Juan

 

On October 14, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico submitted its Fiscal plan. Here is my summary: 

Only with a change in federal policy and a change in the trajectory of the island’s economy toward real growth, will there be money for  debt service – while not jeopardizing the Commonwealth’s ability to provide essential services. 

 

  • U..S. citizens living in Puerto Rico must receive the same level of healthcare funding as citizens living in the 50 statesThe Commonwealth Can Achieve Efficiency Gains by Consolidating Overlapping Agencies and by Further Centralizing Procurement to Capture Cost Savings
  • Complete large-scale strategic projects to improve accesses and competitiveness including the Northwest Corridor (PR-22 highway from Hatillo to Aguadilla), the redevelopment of Roosevelts Roads, and the Caguas Commuter Rail
  • Position Puerto Rico as one of the premiere travel destinations of the world for local, domestic and foreign travelers by supporting the financing of 9 hotel construction projects currently on hold
  • Attract economic development, private investment, and tourism by expanding the Port of the Americas value added zone, improving the Aguadilla airport, and expanding the Panamericano docks to attract Quantum-like mega cruise ships.

 

 

Click here to see the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan : https://issuu.com/adamgreenfader/docs/fiscal_plan_v_final