New owners of Puerto Rico’s Puerto Del Rey plan to revitalize the marina and turn it into a global yachting destination. Putnam Bridge Funding, a hedge fund with offices in Greenwich, Conn., and San Juan, purchased the 1,300-plus yacht capacity marina, the largest in the Caribbean, in June after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy protection in January.
“Puerto Del Rey is a property that can’t be replicated for a variety of reasons,” said Nicholas Prouty, chief executive officer of Putnam, which specializes in acquisitions of landmark real estate assets in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Europe. This is the company’s first marina. “We saw it was in bankruptcy, knew there was a window of opportunity to go after it and turn it into something special.”
The property was acquired by Putnam’s Puerto Rico-based subsidiary for a reported $47.5 million. The group plans to pump $400 million more into renovations and redevelopment. Included in the acquisition are 90 acres of land surrounding the marina that includes the fuel dock, a boatyard with a 165-ton lift, an on-site U.S. Customs & Immigration office, commercial buildings, residential buildings and a heliport.
Putnam’s master plan calls for a substantial rehabilitation of existing facilities in the 1988-built marina such as bathrooms, public areas, restaurants and retail shops, plus the installation of a new security system by the end of 2013.
Marina upgrades include the construction of 200 dry slips in 2014. Currently there are 354 dry slips and 960 wet slips. The wet slips accommodate yachts from 30 to 200 feet, including space for up to 10 megayachts. The marina’s entrance draft is 12 feet, and 13-15 feet at the slips. Upgrades of slip-side pedestals will include cameras so that owners can check on their vessels or work of service providers from a remote location.
Boatyard improvements include cement and rebar reinforced tie-downs for storm season and an increase in on-site repair contractors.
New additions call for the construction of a swimming pool, yacht club, gym and full-service watersports center. Plans also include development of a 300-unit eco-sensitive condominium community. Design plans for this community are expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Putnam intends to invest in the service-related side of the business, too.
“Puerto Rico is often described as the gateway to the Caribbean; I view it differently,” Prouty said. “It’s a place of arrivals. It’s a destination due to elements we are providing, plus all the other attributes like great airlift, on-island attractions and the close proximity to other islands such as the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Key for us is to deliver a level of service expected from other luxury marinas around the world and un-paralleled in the Caribbean.”
Carol Bareuther is a freelance writer in St. Thomas. Comments on this story are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.