St. Clair

British businessman and investor Keith St. Clair (Carlos Rivera Giusti)

British businessman Keith St. Clair remains unfazed about his Puerto Rico investments after some former officials in the Ricardo Rosselló administration were arrested and indicted on federal corruption charges.

For all intents and purposes, it is “business as usual” for him. “We will be partners with Puerto Rico all the way. I am committed,” he said, emphasizing that Puerto Rico is his home and that he is a “boricua” at heart.

St. Clair is the investor and brainchild behind the $70 million Puerto Rico Film District, which should be inaugurated by the summer of 2021. Once completed, the 580,000 square-foot facility, which will include five studios along with production and editing facilities, will be the largest film studio in the Caribbean and is expected to create some 2,000 jobs.

“We are totally committed to Puerto Rico. We came here with a vision and the Convention District is an important part of that. This could be a game changer for Puerto Rico. It could be like downtown LA,” he said.

“We are building the first movie studio south of Atlanta with access to North America, South America and the Caribbean. Mel Gibson is here filming. Everyone in the film business comes here. Puerto Rico is a 100 x 35 film set with mountains, beaches, rainforests…Old San Juan. We are building a one-stop shop in the movie business,” he added.

St. Clair spoke to reporters after Omar Marrero, the executive director of the Convention Center District Authority, announced the ongoing plans for the area. To date, some $122 million in new projects will be invested in the Convention district, which does not include $156 million already earmarked for the mega performance and entertainment venue District Live! that also includes a 175-room hotel. District Live! is expected to be inaugurated next year.

Marrero said all the investment is from the private sector, as the bankrupt Puerto Rico government lacks access to the capital markets to issue bonds. However, federal funds are available for mitigation works through FEMA and Community Development Block Grants, and developers are working with the government to prepare grant proposals for these funds.

He also explained that Puerto Rico, like other states affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters, is waiting for Housing Secretary Ben Carson to release about $8.3 billion in federal mitigation funds for the island, while California, Florida and Texas are waiting for their own funds.

Among the new projects cited by Marrero are the $50 million EcoExploratorio, a museum, aquarium, butterfly garden and educational area focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Developers have signed a $60,000 a year lease agreement for the 58,000 square-foot complex, which will now allow them to seek capital and apply for the necessary grants, said meteorologist Ada Monzón, who is heading the initiative. The project is clearly in the initial stages, as she said construction won’t begin for at least another two years, depending on how much funding is obtained.

Smaller projects in the area include “Patio,” a Latin cuisine restaurant that was opened last year with an investment of $350,000. Located next to the so-called salty bay, the open-air venue has created 10 new jobs.

A District Container Park is also in the works, featuring shipping containers for sports, gastronomy and other commercial offerings. With an investment of $500,000, the facility should be open later this year. The project hopes to create 100 jobs.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to reopen the former site of Ficus restaurant, right in front of the Convention Center, as another food venue. Marrero said the new eatery should reopen at around the same time as District Live! is inaugurated.

Reporter for The Weekly Journal. She is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience. Rosario received both of her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

(4) comments

Maya Robles

I received an email addressed to all owners from Vanessa at Mare St Clair. I received invoices for my 4 timeshares from Mare St Clair. I paid an assessment to get my apartments renovated and the money went to Mare St Clair, my units were never done. We had an annual meeting where 100 Full Owners voted in favor of immediately having an election of the Full Board as is required by Puerto Rican Condominium Law but we were told that we were out-voted by 4 votes cast by, you guessed it, Mare St Clair. We won 100 to 4 but were denied our voice and our vote. WHY? I was sent a published article by a reporter stating "Mare — which has been known as Azul and prior to that, the ESJ Tower — has both regular hotel rooms as well as time-share properties. The hotel component has undergone a massive renovation, and work continues on the time-share aspect, executives said." (ASSESSMENT MONEY)? The article went on to say: "Three weeks ago, the St. Clair Collection signed an agreement with YINGKE TRAVEL, the largest network of travel agencies in CHINA for, you guessed it..Mare St Clair." AHA!!! YOU'RE TRYING TO CONVERT OUR EXCLUSIVE CONDOMINIUM INTO A TIMESHARE HOTEL! The ESJ sign was removed from the facade of our building and replaced with a sign at our entrance which says...MARE. ESJ TOWERS is a unique combination of VACATION OWNERSHIP and FULL OWNERSHIP. It was not intended to be sold as weekly vacation club time nor is it a Hotel. It has GUEST SERVICES which prepare the rooms for our VACATION CO-OWNERS which arrive every days to enjoy their vacation home. VO's return every year, never missing the interval described in their DEED. This symbiotic relationship allows FULL OWNERS the ability to take advantage of HOTEL Amenities while knowing who will be arriving on a regular basis. KEITH, just because you say it's so does not make it so. ESJ Towers Condominium has not changed it's name. It would be illegal to do so and should be illegal to claim as such. Keith, the Council of Co-Owners will soon be voting for a full Board of Directors who, by law, must be Owners and not have served in any position for 3 consecutive years. THAT LEAVES YOU OUT! Others left out are Richard Hartnett and Jose Novas and Virnaliz and Carlos George. Only title holders living in the building should represent the 142 Full Owners- they are the only ones eligible to cast a vote at the election. Mare St Clair, your purported collection of 71 units in our ESJ Towers Condominium, may cast only 1 vote if you have a signed resolution from ESJ Towers Inc, the management company, previously owned by Jack Katz. Jack Katz was the sponsor of this Condominium until 51% of the full owner units were sold and then the ownership transferred to the Council of Co-Owners. THE POINT. No advisory committee was formed nor will one be formed until THE ELECTION. Nothing Keith can say has any validity as he will no longer have a say in how WE OPERATE, MAINTAIN AND RESTORE OUR CONDOMINIUM. Please keep in touch through the ESJTHOA.COM website or directly with Chana, or any owner you trust, and be prepared to ATTEND this most important ELECTION or give your proxy. Soon you will all get instructions on election procedures. Until then I remain,

Ambrosia Ambrosia

MS. Fajardo I read your article with great interest. I was surprised to see that you did not uncover his dealings with the governor of Puerto Rico or his legal battles with the condominium owners at the ESJ Towers (now regretfully known as Mare St. Clair). Please investigate Mr. St. Clair and find the truth about him. Many promises. No results. His wealth has multiplied while those that have dealt with him have suffered financially. None of Mr. St. have ever been completed.

Patricia Marco

Rosario Fajardo should make an effort to interview a few people who dealt directly or even I fervently with St Clair to discover that he is over leveraged and seldom pays as agreed!

Ambrosia Ambrosia

Not sure if you are on the Island. I would love to meet and discuss Mr. St. Clair with you.

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