Strategic transformation for the Industrial Development Company in 2022

The new year is shaping up to be one full of opportunities for expansion and development of new businesses.

After a 2021 full of challenges and transformations, the Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) is “focused on promoting the expansion of current industries and the development of new strategic industries that contribute to the Puerto Rican economy for the future”, said the executive director of PRIDCO, Javier Bayón Torres.

“2021 has been a complex year, during which many projects were started and made feasible in the industrial properties of PRIDCO, which will lead the new year with an agenda loaded in favor of the economic development of Puerto Rico in accordance with the public policy of the governor, Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi. In addition, we have worked hand in hand with government agencies, mayors, industrialists, the Fiscal Oversight Board, and the Puerto Rico Fiscal and Financial Advisory Authority, to work on the feasibility studies required by the Fiscal Plan. This includes, among other things, the inspection of more than 200 buildings, to quantify the necessary capital improvements for PRIDCO's property portfolio, in order to optimize and rent them”, added Bayón Torres.

“Currently, some $210 million have been awarded for the damages caused by the hurricanes and earthquakes that hit the Island. The funds have been allocated to transform the infrastructure of the properties in a way that meets the current and future needs of the industries. We have also reached interagency agreements with the corresponding municipalities and with Invest Puerto Rico, to maintain industrial parks in optimal conditions, meet the needs of industrialists, and promote vacant properties to future entrepreneurs. In fact, we promoted PRIDCO's property portfolio and carried the message that Puerto Rico is ready to do business with the Dominican Republic,” added the official.

Bayón explained that, as part of the efforts to promote properties, they worked on the transformation of the PRIDCO website to make it easier to navigate, updated the Property Catalog, began to digitize the leasing process, and put forward a plan local and international marketing. In addition, the Real Estate Division is working with the renewal of expired contracts, the reduction of contracts with monthly terms and the streamlining of the reservation process and property leasing.

“Among the new projects that have become viable are Puerto Rico Industries for the Blind, dedicated to the manufacture of military clothing, and the biotechnology company Biosimilar, which plans to create over 300 jobs. We are in the process of leasing a second building to the latter so that it can continue its expansion. Additionally, to address the issue of abandoned tires, we have identified suitable PRIDCO properties for companies engaged in tire recycling and processing to establish their operations. We are also working with three companies on PRIDCO properties that are interested in expanding their operations in 2022,” explained Bayón Torres.

Among other achievements, the executive director highlighted the development of a military engineering operation and armory of the National Guard in some lots located in Canóvanas and the Mayagüez Water Front project, which has more than $200 million for investment. “The design process for the reconstruction of the access roads, the breakwater parallel to the access roads, the sheet piling system, the concrete pier, lighting, electricity and drinking water has already been completed. And the design has been completed which will include the dredging and demolition of a portion of the old Star Kist, reusing materials and protecting wildlife. This port area will bring a lot of economic activity to the western area,” he said.

On the other hand, Bayón reported that they have established negotiations to accept debt payments and reach agreements with clients without affecting their operations. Like, for example, the agreement reached with the Cooperative Creation of the Mountain in Utuado. “Debt with active payment plans stands at $3.8 million, reflecting our commitment to helping merchants bring their accounts up to date. Last November we reached the highest figure in collections in the last three years”, he highlighted.

In the area of Real Estate, the office has managed to dramatically improve the efficiency in the property lease process, reducing response time, offering a fast and efficient service to all industrialists, tenants and people who contact us. A person was appointed to respond urgently to requests for visits to the properties, thus speeding up the reservation and rental process of the properties.

“This year we have 33 companies that have been granted innovation and development tax credits, with the objective of increasing investment in scientific and technological innovations that increase the capacity in Puerto Rico to develop high-quality processes, products and/or services with high commercial value for the global market. In turn, we have had the opportunity to offer the Foreign Trade Free Zone Program, whose objective is to promote trade through the advantage of deferring the payment of customs duties on merchandise of foreign origin and the payment of state excise taxes. The goal of this Program is to develop, manage and maintain the free zone franchise concession, attracting and retaining importing companies that contribute to the local economy. During the years 2020 and 2021, the free zone maintained 21 operators carrying out storage and distribution activities, and 14 operators carrying out manufacturing activities, which generated some $6 billion in imports and $4 billion in exports,” added Bayón.

“2022 will be a year of increased economic activity, we are going to catch up with what is required to achieve sustainable economic development for the future, which responds to the new needs of the international market and facilitates the development of strategic sectors, such as the aerospace, biosciences, innovative technologies and computing, among others. Likewise, we will continue to support the SMEs that are the pillar of our economy. At PRIDCO we are ready to achieve it, in coordination with the merchants, the municipalities and other entities that drive the economic development of Puerto Rico,” concluded Bayón Torres.

The Industrial Development Company was created in 1942 to provide industrial rental space to businesses and companies. Currently, it has an inventory of properties that includes industrial buildings and plots of land in 77 of the 78 municipalities. There are 1,122 occupied properties, 120 reserved and in negotiation for rent, 106 vacancies, and another 161 with environmental problems and proposals for demolition.

PRIDCO's tenants include companies in food manufacturing, furniture, recycling, medical equipment and device manufacturing, biotechnology, aerospace, technology development, hydroponic agriculture, medical cannabis, textile and uniform manufacturing, manufacture of paper derived products, warehouses, manufacturing of computer devices, offices for the export of locks, padlocks and related products, among others.

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