Puerta de Tierra was the first public housing project built in Puerto Rico. Constructed in the 1930s, it was meant to be an example of the best of modernized housing with 8 zig-zagged four story buildings in a closed campus. Instead, it became an example of the detrimental effects of concentrated poverty. Located in the Old San Juan historic district, Puerta de Tierra became an obstacle to the stabilization and proposed redevelopment of the district and an obstacle to the success of its own families.
In 2014, the Department of Housing began to search for a new model for providing housing for Puerto Rico's neediest families. McCormack Baron Salazar joined the Department of Housing to explore mixed-income, mixed-finance scenarios for the revitalization of Puerta de Tierra.
The new 9-acre community includes 174 new apartments in a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments in a 4-story mixed use building, 3-story walk-ups and 3-story townhouse buildings. The development also includes a management/leasing office of approximately 3,300 square feet, with management space, a community room (with a business center area), and a fitness room. There is also approximately 6,000 square feet of commercial space and a stand-alone maintenance building. Site amenities include landscaping, site lights, site utilities, controlled parking, walking trails, tot lots, and community gardens. The new development preserves and enhances affordable housing options in San Juan, and also connects the Puerta de Tierra community with the broader Bahia Urbana revitalization.