Bayshore Villas, a model for inclusive housing in Puerto Rico, opens doors in historic Old San Juan near Bahía Urbana.

May 31, 2018 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Developer McCormack Baron Salazar, in a public-private partnership with the Puerto Rico Department of Housing, has transformed an obsolete public housing site into a new, resilient, connected, mixed-income, mixed-use community.

McCormack Baron Salazar and The Puerto Rico Department of Housing welcomed dignitaries, former residents, community members and the media to an open house at the new Bayshore Villas mixed-income apartment community. Located in Old San Juan’s historic district and near Bahía Urbana, Bayshore Villas provides modern, storm-resilient apartments and market-rate amenities at rents that are affordable to families from a range of incomes, providing opportunity for low-income families and spurring additional investment in the community.

Bayshore Villas consists of 174 new apartment homes, with walk-up flats, townhouses and one elevator-served building. 78 percent of the homes are restricted to households earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income, including some accessible to public housing residents, with the remaining 22 percent available to market-rate residents. Bayshore Villas is a short walk from the Bahía Urbana revitalization initiative along the San Juan Bay waterfront and enjoys excellent transit access through the Bus Rapid Transit line on Calle del Tren.

“The revitalization of the former Puerta de Tierra Public Housing community will have a lasting impact on Old San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra neighborhood,” said Daniel F. Acosta, Senior Vice President and Project Manager with McCormack Baron Salazar.  “Bayshore Villas takes into consideration Bahia Urbana’s master plan which will greatly benefit the residents as the new, modern, urban waterfront project will offer jobs, and will provide walking distance access to restaurants, shops, and other community services.”  

The development also includes 6,000 square feet of commercial space, a 3,300 square foot management office and community space, which includes a fitness room, a business center and community gathering area. Outside, the community offers outdoor exercise stations, playgrounds, community gardens, landscaping, site lighting, community gathering plaza, and controlled parking and building access.

In addition to the amenities, the development team designed the community with hurricane-resilient features, including hurricane-rated windows, doors, and roofs and reinforced structural components. The site also manages storm-water run-off to reduce the impact of heavy rains.

“Low-income families are often hit hardest during a storm,” said Vincent R. Bennett, President of McCormack Baron Salazar. “And those same families are the ones with the fewest resources afterwards to rebuild. Together with the Department of Housing and HUD, we understood the necessity of building resiliently, to better allow our families to stay safe during the storm and recover more quickly and at less expense after the winds have moved on.”

The development is the second phase of a public/private partnership effort between the Department of Housing and McCormack Baron Salazar. The first, Renaissance Square in the San Juan Financial District, held an open house in December. The Bayshore Villas effort cost $41.3 million project and was financed with $27.8 million in private equity provided by Alden Capital Partners and Citibank, N.A. through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program administered by the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority and $13.5 million from the Puerto Rico Department of Housing through funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Citi Community Capital provided a construction loan.

Throughout the process the Puerto Rico Department of Housing has been assisted by CVR Associates, a national affordable housing consulting firm, who are serving as development consultants. Planning and architectural services are provided by Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. The general contractor for the redevelopment effort is F&R Construction Group.  The model units were designed and furnished by Pottery Barn.