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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

El Conquistador to receive $50 million in federal funding for renewal

Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez

By The Star Staff

Some $50 million in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds have been set aside to renew the El Conquistador Resort Hotel project in Fajardo.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and island Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said earlier this week that the funds come from the Economic Development and Commerce Department’s (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) Investment Portfolio for Growth (IPG) program to create jobs and improve the economy.

“Without a doubt, the economic development of Puerto Rico is an essential part of the recovery, which is why we continue to promote a favorable environment for this,” the governor said.

Pierluisi said that through the IPG program, the Puerto Rico government is providing a significant loan to a large private investment project for large-scale commercial and industrial development.

The project, with a total estimated cost of $263 million, consists of renovating rooms, restaurants, and other areas of the lodging structure located in the northeastern coastal municipality.

Under IPG, the Housing Department (PRDOH) provides partially forgivable loans of between $10 and $50 million for large-scale projects, with the purpose of spurring economic growth and job creation.

The Housing chief stated that “the creation and retention of employees is a fundamental aspect of the strategy that the government of Puerto Rico seeks to implement through IPG.”

“As the agency managing the program, PRDOH has sought to identify high-impact projects that create good-paying jobs,” Rodríguez said. “It is the first of several projects likely to receive a financial injection of CDBG-DR funds for that purpose.”

After the PRDOH opened a request for proposals in August 2021, the governor created an evaluation committee to determine projects based on eligibility criteria, among which the creation or retention of over 300 jobs stands out, along with the design of economic activities that generate more than 50 percent of their income through exports.

The committee includes the Housing secretary, the executive director of the Budget Management Office, the DDEC secretary, the assistant chief of staff for state affairs at La Fortaleza, and the executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority.

IPG has a budget of $800 million following Puerto Rico’s CDBG-DR Action Plan. Over the next few months, the PRDOH intends to announce more projects with significant economic impact supported with the financing provided by the program.

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