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Commercial and Residential Developments in Santurce

Puerto Rican authorities recently announced that investment firm Putnam Bridge will be embarking on a $108 million real estate project which will include, among other things, 252 apartments and 4,645 square meters of commercial space as the third phase of the La Ciudadela complex in Santurce. The mixed use complex may not have had the best start, with the original developers declaring bankruptcy some years ago when the island experienced an economic downturn, but in recent years things have turned around, and today all the apartment units are occupied and the retail section now has several businesses, including a gym franchise and a grocery store.

Managing partner of Putnam Bridge, Nicholas Prouty, has also committed to investing $6 million in transforming an area which is currently an informal parking lot into a public park linking La Ciudadela and the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico. The local community and nonprofit groups will be called upon to assist in maintaining the park. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla commended Prouty for his investment in the project which will create 1,000 or more much needed jobs as the island endures its eighth year of recession with an average unemployment rate of 13.5 percent.

Although thousands of Puerto Ricans have left the island to seek better prospects elsewhere, some have chosen to remain and contribute to the island's economy. Santurce has seen an increasing number of entrepreneurs opening restaurants, cafés, boutiques and other stores. Crime has decreased and young people are moving into the neighborhood, turning it into a trendy destination.

Among the entrepreneurs promoting the rejuvenation of Santurce is the owner of restaurant Pa'l Cielo, Laura Feliciano. When she returned to Puerto Rico from Los Angeles with the intention of opening a business, Feliciano found the most affordable neighborhood was Santurce. Her restaurant's good food, affordable prices and warm hospitality soon attracted patrons, which have included hip-hop group Calle 13 and actor Benicio del Toro. At first some may have been put off by the location of the restaurant, but today Santurce is becoming the place to party, so be sure to visit when exploring Puerto Rico's capital city.

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