Super Aqueduct Infrastructure Project: 1994 and 1995 brought about the brunt of the worst drought in modern history for Puerto Rico. Water reserves for the Eastern half of the Island quickly disappeared, forcing the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority to implement heretofore unseen drastic emergency rationing measures for the Eastern half of the Island, where two-thirds of the population lived, including the entire San Juan metropolitan area. The government made the determination to order the design and construction of a massive underground sealed concrete aqueduct crossing the entire span of Puerto Rico from West to East alongside the PR-22 Expressway, so as to channel the abundant water resources of the Western lakes to the deprived metro area. This would also allow for the construction of several on-going housing and infrastructure construction projects that had to be halted because of an inability to connect to water sources. The Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico’s Privatization Committee facilitated the design, completed the permitting processes, and provided the managerial, supervisory and financing expertise necessary to complete this $450 million one-of-a-kind project.
Bahia Urbana Waterfront Redevelopment: From 2009 to 2012, the government of Puerto Rico took on the task of redeveloping prime waterfront real estate in the main tourism corridor of the historic Old San Juan sector. Bahía Urbana, as the project is known, was an ambitious re-urbanization project meant to complement and generate activity in the tourism sector, while adding recreational components to the residential and commercial tenants in the surrounding areas. The project was focused on rehabilitating 90 acres of San Juan waterfront property, with an initial investment of $63.9 million for improvements to piers 6, 7 & 8, as well as the East Development Corridor. The design calls for housing, local product markets and artisan work, around 290,000 square feet of commercial space, 660 hotel rooms, and visual and recreational improvements designed to the highest levels of quality and taste. A total investment of $1.5 billion is expected from the private sector, which will in turn generate an additional $170 million in revenue for the government.
PR Convention Center Redevelopment: The tremendous push given to the tourism sector by the Rossello administration in the 1990s gave way to the development and execution of an iconic project for Puerto Rico: a new, technologically advanced state-of-the-art convention center for the Island. Located in the heart of San Juan, and using over 100 acres of centrally located, yet underutilized government lands, the new $415 million convention center instantly became a first-class facility. Its design and technology was by far superior to anything in the Caribbean. The Administration entrusted the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico and the Tourism Company with the vision, drafting and execution of a Convention Center District Authority which would eventually manage the development of the convention center and all the future surrounding facilities and hotels.
Coliseum Sports Complex Redevelopment: As part of a public policy favoring redevelopment of deteriorated urban areas during the 1990s, using the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, the Rossello Administration embarked on a unique project, taking advantage of unused government-owned raw land that happened to be located near San Juan’s financial center, Hato Rey. The Coliseo de Puerto Rico is a state-of-the-art sports arena that was designed, built and financed under the umbrella of the Government Development Bank. From its inception, the facility was meant to be managed by the private sector, not by the government. The arena has been consistently managed with expertise and success by a world-renown management services company, SMG.
Museo de Arte de PR Redevelopment: Following the same urban redevelopment policy that led to the construction of the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico used a centrally-located, abandoned 1920s hospital facility in the heart of Santurce and converted the existing dilapidated neoclassical structure into a new vibrant, spacious and modern art museum. The museum, now managed by its own Board of Trustees and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, quickly became the focus of the local art scene in San Juan and has since fomented substantial construction and economic growth in its environs.
Urban Train System Development: This modern emblematic urban transportation project was conceived, developed and financed between 1994 and 2000 by the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation with the fiscal and financial assistance of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico and its senior financing engineering professionals. This transportation initiative had been debated for quite some time, but never really spearheaded until the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico took on the project, at which time the government of Puerto Rico managed to make it a reality. The idea behind this $2 Billion project was not only to offer a necessary and modern state-of-the-art transportation alternative to the existing aging population, above and beyond the inefficient government-owned bus system, but also to open up strategically-located new urban clusters along the route for much needed private investments and redevelopment alternatives.
Tax Reform: A comprehensive Tax Reform, the largest such reform in Puerto Rico’s history, was approved in Law 1 of 2011, with the overriding purpose of lowering taxes for businesses and individuals alike. The Governor of Puerto Rico appointed several government officials to a committee created by Executive Order with the mandate to create and implement the Tax Reform. Several of Predco's professionals were members of that committee. The Tax Reform had been set to reduce taxes on individuals by an average of 50% throughout the six-year implementation of the Reform. The top corporate rate reduced from 41% to 30%, and was set to be further reduced to 25% by 2014. The Tax Reform reduced the number of tax brackets from seven to three, and was set to eventually reduce the three tax brackets to only two. The current government administration is considering working on a new Tax Reform for 2015.
PR.gov: The Government of Puerto Rico set out to modernize the government's information technology infrastructure with regards to citizen and business services under the Principals' tenure. A new system was created, called PR.gov, which was successful in simplifying, digitizing and automating many government services within the executive branch that previously could only be accessed in person at several government agencies. The new system provided greater accessibility and transparency to the users, and saved valuable time and money in the process for the government and the residents of Puerto Rico. The vision, which included creating a one-stop-shop for citizens and businesses with features such as single sign-on and shopping carts, resulted in over 200 online services provided where there was none prior to PR.gov. By 2012, the platform had processed over 10 million transactions, representing savings of over $100 million dollars to the economy.
Infrastructure & Redevelopment: Predco's professionals were involved in the conception, implementation and completion of an urban redevelopment project known as Bahía Urbana, and helped set the tables for tourism, gaming and science through incentives laws created to stimulate the construction of billion dollar infrastructure projects, including structuring and approving the financing of most hotels and infrastructure development projects that have taken place in Puerto Rico over the past 20 years, such as the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, Tren Urbano, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, the Convention Center of Puerto Rico, and the recent Bahia Urbana project. Bahia Urbana is an ambitious urban redevelopment project that incorporates the areas of Old San Juan, Puerta de Tierra and Isla Grande, as well as the Convention Center District and other communities in the historic area of the San Juan Bay. The Governor of Puerto Rico created a committee by Executive Order to lead and manage the project, and designated Mr. Pérez-Riera as the President of that committee. The project is a development based on tourism, recreation, residential and commercial activity that serves the local community and which has become a major tourist attraction, and a focus point for the cruise industry. The first phase of the project focused on the rehabilitation of approximately 90 acres in front of the San Juan port. After more than a decade in the planning stages with little more to show than mere drawings and sketches, the project began in earnest with the construction of its first phase in 2010, which began with the demolition of several structures in the eastern portion of the project, along with improvements to Avenida Fernández Juncos. These improvements complement other improvements made by the Department of Transportation along Intersection 5, which culminated in the inauguration of the renovated Dos Hermanos Bridge after close to a decade where the project had been paralyzed. The first phase of Bahia Urbana included improvements to Piers 6, 7 and 8, and the development of the eastern portion of the project, for a total investment of close to $64 million, including a water taxi base and a base for seaplanes and docks for sailboats. The projected total investment for all phases of Bahia Urbana is $1.5 billion.
Predco's professionals are tried and tested in the management of several different types of projects, from complex urban redevelopment construction projects such as the $64 million Bahia Urbana, to massive government reengineering projects such as Permits, Tax and Renewable Energy reforms, as well as the creation of the PR.gov platform. Through their management expertise and experience, Predco's professionals can complement the operational components of your business, either to liberate your company's resources, or to provide advice to maximize the effectiveness and productivity of your company. Some examples below illustrate a few of the projects managed by Predco professionals.
Permits Reform: A wholesale re-engineering of Puerto Rico’s permitting and licensing process, which had been a long-standing hurdle to growth and job creation. The Governor named Mr. Pérez-Riera President of a committee established by Executive Order to manage the permitting re-engineering. The Permits Reform, implemented though Act 161 of 2009, called for the complete overhauling of the permitting and licensing process in Puerto Rico to provide for a leaner and more efficient process that fosters economic development. The new system required the elimination of government agencies and the creation of new entities outfitted from their inception to be much more agile and efficient than their precursors. The new system was designed to be 100% paperless, to be available online, and was consolidated all under one roof. Furthermore, the Reform authorized Authorized Professionals in the private sector to evaluate and emit permits on a parallel basis with the government to provide an expedited process and a reduction in government burden. The changes included consolidating 28 different permits and regulations into one permit and one regulation.